Spotlight: Top Ten Films to Restore Your Faith in Humanity

In today’s world of every morning having a new disaster headline (Jersey Shore Reunion for instance) it can be a little hard to keep your chin up. With so much negativity around, we here at RDR combed through some of our favorite feel good movies to get you out of that slump and back onto that camel hump… we couldn’t think of anything else that rhymed with slump.

  1.  August Rushar

Ahh I miss young Freddie Highmore. Not that old Highmore is doing poorly, but young Freddie had such an adorable air about him. August Rush shows how one boy with a love for music can connect across all cultures and even reunite him with his estranged parents. With a wonderful Zimmer-composed soundtrack as well as some great performances from Highmore and Robin Williams, August Rush will give your stomach butterflies through and through.

  1. The Perks of Being a Wallflowertpof

Based on the popular young adult novel of the same name, Wallflower explores the danger of being unique in a youth’s world heavily regulated by peers. It also explores its’ beauty, showing how being different can help you realize that it’s not about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself. There is also a super cute trio in the form of Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, and Ezra Miller so if anything, see it for that.

  1. The Intouchablesinto

Remember Up? Well this as just as cute but this time it’s French and it focuses around a grumpy old guy and his I’m-not-going-to-take-any-of-your-bull-sh*t caretaker. By the end of this film, you won’t be sure if your tears are from laughter or sadness.

  1. Silver Lining’s Playbooksilver

Leave it to director David O. Russel to realize the brilliant pairing of Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. Playbook starts off a little dark with Cooper’s character being hospitalized for undiagnosed bi-polar disorder after he nearly killed the man that his wife was cheating on him with. But as soon as Lawrence pops in, their mesh of dark humor and mutual understanding of being looked upon as broken people creates a beautiful connection between the two that is heartwarming to say the least.

  1. The Artistartist

This masterpiece took the world by storm upon its’ release due to its’ reinvigorating use of silent movie era tactics, showcasing some stellar acting without the use of any dialogue (for the most part). Taking home a large number of Oscars for its’ brilliance, The Artist will make you smile just for the character’s silliness alone. Think of it as watching Charlie Chaplin film, but with a plot that has a hint of seriousness to it.

  1. Ferris Beuller’s Day Offferris

Remember when people though Matthew Brodrick was going to be this cool, suave movie star instead of the nerdy, stuttering mess he is today? If not, check out this John Hughes directed fun-fest focused on the value of taking a day off. Every kid’s role model, Ferris Bueller is the coolest thing around and knows that he won’t be a kid forever so he takes matters into his own hands. Bringing along his friends for a fun filled day in Chicago, the trio learns a little about having fun and a bit more about themselves. Enlightening and empowering, this film will give you guaranteed feels.

4.Lord of the Rings 3: The Return of the King


THE BEACONS ARE LIT!!! GONDOR CALLS FOR AID! Technically I am cheating here as humanity is not the only race that comes together against all odds, but this is my article so I’m counting it dammit. Two Hobbits with the world against them must overcome all odds while at home, races that have been tense with each other for centuries must find a way to band together over a common enemy. IF you are not crying by the time Viggo Mortenson starts singing then you may be possessed by the one ring.

  1. Schindler’s ListSchindler's List

In my opinion this is director Steven Speilberg’s masterpiece. Fun fact, he did not make this film to impress, he made it for a school project. I don’t know about you but I’m pretty sure none of my macaroni portraits for my school projects ever made the whole world laugh and weep altogether. In this award winning masterpiece, Oscar Schindler played by Liam Neeson uses his immense wealth to buy Jews from the Nazis and save them from being placed into concentration camps. What originally starts off as a way to get cheap labor turns into more of an ark (The original novel was actually named Schindler’s Ark) and saves countless lives, allowing for family lines to survive and live on past Hitler’s tyranny.

  1. The Shawshank Redemptionsr

A man wrongfully convicted. A prison that has all the characteristics of hell on earth. Morgan Freeman’s delicious narration. There is almost no better formula for a devastatingly wonderful film. This is definitely one of those movies where you have to wait till the end to get the happy feels, but if you can take the two and a half hours of grief that our protagonists endure, you’ll be pumping your fist in victory when the credits roll. Also, did we mention Morgan Freeman narrates in it?

  1. The Breakfast Clubbc

Schindler’s List and Shawshank are incredible films, but their message stays inherently miserable until the end. With The Breakfast Club there are hard times to be sure, but there are also moments of victory, sticking it to the man, and overcoming all of life’s obstacles. Not only that, but everyone can relate to one of the characters. We have a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, and a criminal, all with their own hopes and dreams. What begins as what should be just a boring day in detention ends up as a journey into exploring the teens’ fears and opinions of themselves and others. And by the time you see that fist rise into the air, you’ll know I’m right. Sooo Don’t you, forget about me…. Don’t don’t don’t don’t!

Straight Outta Compton Review

Straight Outta Compton (2015)

Directed by F. Gary Gray

Starring: O’Shea Jackson Jr., Jason Mitchell, Corey Hawkins, Paul Giamatti

The Power of Street Knowledge

By Mason Manuel

            I have never been a follower of Rap or Hip-Hop; it just never spoke to me like other genres. Because of this, I went into Compton with the assumption that I would not understand its’ message and therefor find the picture unenjoyable. Holy s1s**t was I wrong. Straight Outta Compton is the most brutal, heartfelt film I have seen this year. Director of the intense Law Abiding Citizen, F. Gary Gray outdoes himself this time around in the telling of the tale of a few kids from the streets of California who changed the world with musical revolution. Powerful performances, an intense tale, and the knowing that the incredible tale is based on true events makes this one of the best films of the year.

Dr. Dre (Corey Hawkins), Easy-E (Jason Mitchell), Ice Cube (Jackson Jr.), DJ Yella (Neil Brown Jr.), and MC Ren (Aldis Hodge) are music loving, poetry writing, entrepreneurial nobodies who make most of their income through either drug dealing or DJing at shady clubs. Eventually collaborating and putting that hard earned cash into a single, the group finds themselves in a surprisingly successful situation which gains the attention of manager Jerry Heller (Giamatti). They gain the resources to start their own label and initially enjoy a successful run as up and coming artists. The group begins to write about their personal expereices from the dangerous streets of Compton which begins to reflect negatively on law enforcement and positively on violence and drug use. This obviously does not go over well with everyone, especially the police who do not find themselves particularly fond of Ice Cube’s signature piece, “F*** tha Police.” What follows results in a fight for equality and freedom of speech against a government and people that tried to silence Compton’s citizens.

As soon as the opening credits finish, we are thrown into a chaotic scene involving one of Easy E’s drug deal. Naturally the deal goes badly and greats a raw, intense introduction to Compton. This intensity almost never drops in the 2 and a half hour run time that Straight Outta Compton presents. It’s not all action either; we see these men mature and toil through discrimination, emotional hardship, and trying to rise above their pasts. There is more than one moment here where tears will fall and I must again applaud director Gray for his fantastic portrayal of this. Not only is the action mixed perfectly with emotion, neither style ever feels out of place or overused. Every moment of intensity and emotion feels earned and completely in line with the experiences the characters have gone through.s3

Speaking of the characters, the actor in this film are top notch. Most notable are O’Shea Jackson Jr. as his father Ice Cube and Jason Mitchell as Easy E.  Jackson in particular is a revelation as he has never had a professional acting role before. Mitchell (Contraband) has a little more experience than Jackson, but deserves no less credit as he is given a great deal of heavy material that executes flawlessly on screen. Every one of the characters is a tortured soul in their own right and no one actor ever feels unbelievable or overtly cheesy in portraying gangsters. IT’s heartbreaking to watch as these close friends are inevitably torn apart by life and greed, even though we know that some live off to become huge stars.

Part biography, part documentary, and all eye opening, Straight Outta Compton delivers all it promises and more. The in-depth look into the lives creating Ruthless’ (The group’s label) and the eventual disbanding will give any viewer a reason to dust off their old cassette tapes. I know I have. A 9.8 out of 10.


The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Review

w4The Witcher 3 (2015)

Developed by CD Projekt Red

Thrill of the Hunt

Reviewed by Mason Manuel

          57 and a half. That is how many hours that my in game window told me I had spent galloping the vast expanse of a war torn Tameria by the time my campaign was over. I can honestly say that when the credits rolled I released a heavy sigh as if I had finished a long and hard day’s work. That’s not to say The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is not fun to play. In fact, it is one of the best games I have ever played. Just be prepared to commit yourself fully in mind, body, and soul to the adventures and well-being of your protagonist. Continue reading The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Review

The Love Affair: The Milking of Infidelity Stories

Check it out!


Back in 2013 to 2014, Philippine cinema had a myriad of stories on infidelity and third parties. The viewers, at that time, were receptive of plots set in patriarchal environments decorated with beautiful mistresses. In this cockfight featuring spiteful women willing to strike anytime, the Filipino bettors choose the character who delivers the ‘bitchiest’ line accompanied by the hardest slap.

It was undeniably a heyday for the mainstream film industry in the country. Big production houses such as Star Cinema and Viva Records have once again mined a valuable mineral that can be sold forever. The supply is infinite and the consumers are with endless appetite. Or so they thought. The showing of The Love Affair in cinemas this month proved that narratives of infidels have reached their point of exhaustion. They are at this point revolting.


The Love Affair banks on its casting of well-seasoned actors and actresses. From…

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Winter’s Tale Review

Winter’s Tale (2014)

Directed by Akiva Goldsman

Starring: Colin Farrell, Russell Crowe, Jessica Brown Findlay

Frozen Solid

By Mason Manuel

   While perusing the inescapable hell that is my Comcast cable, I ran across a film
named Winter’s Tale. Normally, I would have scrolled past this winter 1selection like the others, but the description listed that the flick starred Colin Farrell and Russell Crowe who are some of my top gay celebrity man crushes so I said “What the hell” and turned it on. In my blindness I forgot that good actors sometimes make bad movies too suffered for it. “Winter’s Tale” is an unfocused hodgepodge of too many different ideas that never lands into anything that could be considered a coherent plot.

            Peter Lake (Colin Farrell) plays your regular down on his luck, illegal immigrant who works for the mob. In one of his numerous heists, he meets Beverly Penn (Downton Abby’s Jessica Brown Findlay), your regular girl-who-has-cancer-so-cue-tragic-romance-plot who is inexplicably fascinated with the burglar. But rather than just leave the plot in an old timey The Fault in Our Stars scenario, the story takes a more supernatural turn. Turns out, the mob is actually a front for Lucifer’s army led by his demon Pearly Soames (Russell Crowe) in their never ending mission to keep miracles from happening. As luck would have it, Peter Lake is in line for a rather large miracle revolving around Beverly that would be devastating to the demonic cause which unfortunately for the demon means he must kill his own man. And so our chase begins both through love and time in a number of twists that will even have Shyamalan saying, what the hell just happened?

            I wish I could write this review back like my Trolls 2 one back in the early days of the RDR but sadly I must put effort forth this time around as Winter’s Tale at least attempts to feel like a solid flick. What is mind-blowing is that Academy Award winning director Akiva Goldsman was behind the whole thing, including writing the screenplay.

The source material comes from Mark Helprin’s esteemed 1983 novel of the same name but where most events work on page, the translation to film leaves much to be desired. Terrible CGI, ridiculous dialogue, and cheesy acting result in a very lackluster picture. The only real saving grace lies within Tale’s two leads. Crowe (who earlier had helped win the director with his award with A Beautiful Mind) and Farrell bring the most they can to what is mostly terrible material. Other actors are not as appreciated. Findlay’s dying girl in love story personification often feels ridiculous and contributes little to the plot other than give Peter Lake someone to be motivated for. Also Will Smith plays Satan… moving on.

            For a movie that was released in 2014, the visual effects are downright laughable. Magical flying horses and mystic landscapes look like they came out of a 12 year old’s first time using IMovie. These visual catastrophes spell disaster every time they enter the frame and takes the viewer completely out of the moment. Add that on top of the terribly executed plot and bizarre acting from lesser characters (looking at you Jennifer Connelly) makes this a film worth forgetting. A 3 out of 10.

winter final

Blind Spot: Rififi

An oldie worth dusting off to check out. Read this review to learn more about it!

Cinema Axis


It is a testament to Jules Dassin’s direction that Rififi can still knock one’s socks off. In an era where the tropes of the heist genre are being repurposed for everything from Marvel films to spy thrillers, the fact that this film still feels innovative speaks to the brilliance of its construction. While most modern films see the execution of the heist itself as the climax, Dassin sees it more as a jumping off point. The theft itself is more of a gateway into the film’s study of both masculinity and unwritten codes that bind men of ill repute.

Setting the blueprint for generations of crime films to religiously follow, and measure themselves up against, Rififi’s premise is practically a paint-by-the-numbers affair when looking at it with modern eyes. A team of four skilled thieves assemble to pull off a crime that is seemingly impossible and risk everything on a…

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"TheMarckoguy" is the alternate name for Markus. Markus is a human who reviews stuff.


Opinions of a Millenial Diabetic


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