John Sekerka's Profile - Rotten Tomatoes

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Rating History

Teen Spirit
Teen Spirit (2019)
14 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes


Pay close attention to the Cinderella Star is Born Karate Kid mashup here, cuz clever filmmaker Max Minghella slips in some subtle details to supplement his standard fairy tale.

Yes we have the paint by numbers, awkward duckling stepping into the spotlight plot line, which unless you watch movies with a cold cold heart, is always endearing, but few of these ice cream stands offer anything but a brief sugar rush. "Teen Spirit" does.

Without dwelling on, or even mentioning it, Minghella shows off the complications of a small English town transitioned into a multi-cultured gathering, all different shapes, sizes, colours and backgrounds. The fact that teen singer Violet has a stern Polish mother, a bumbling Croatian manager, and a misfit band of various shades, is just what it is. Brexit shmexit, they have a contest to win!

As the shy but game Violet, Elle Fanning continues her metamorphosis into a major star, revealing primo acting chops and a pretty good vocal range. "Teen Spirit" may not be a great movie, but it is a satisfying one. Yummy.

- hipCRANK

Minding the Gap
14 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes


Boys to men skating for their lives, Bing, Zack and Keire glide to gloomy adulthood across lower class America in a jarringly potent documentary. Starting innocently with frivolous summery teen joviality, "Minding The Gap" seamlessly moves into bleak futures that ride on dark histories.

The charismatic trouble leader, Zack smokes, skates and drinks his days away, stubbornly fighting adulthood and responsibility. And as much as he dominates the screen, happy go lucky goof Keire steals the movie with his emphatic optimism. As the filmmaker, Bing spends most of the time in the shadows, but steps out to confront his horrific past. Something all three share.

"Minding The Gap" is a great, free-wheeling snapshot of exuberant youth, a harsh look at family strife, a brutal glance into the sinking have nots, a brilliant take on race, and one helluva film.

It is the present version of the all-American dream: scarred, messy, shattered, but with hope. Not to be missed.

- hipCRANK

Us (2019)
15 months ago via Flixster


Masquerading as a political horror flick, "Us" is really a steady stream of cultural references thriller with a twist clever enough to get folks all riled up. Much like the the Coen brothers, and Quentin Tarantino, Jordan Peele is obsessed with littering his grand canvas with a bunny farm of Easter Eggs.

The internet is going crazy tracking down everything from obscure VHS covers, to Biblical passages, to this Michael Jackson fella. It's all a bit much really, distracting from what should be a seat-gripping theatre experience. Pilfering an old Twillight Zone episode about an evil doppelganger, "Us" takes a brilliant premise and clutters it with needless tidbits. This of course means box office gold, as repeated viewings are necessary to grasp everything needed for proper dissection. Shame that.

"Us" looks great, revs nicely to a boffo climax, and features some brilliantly complex performances from its leads. Lupita Nyong'o is especially fantastic. But as with all great horror films, there needs to be a suspension of common sense to really dig this movie. If there's time to ponder on the plausibility of what is happening on screen, then the whole thing falls apart. "Us" comes close, but short (where the hell are the guns?).

Still, there's enough fodder here (privilege, race, America, revenge, soul, cults) for much heated discussion, and Jordan Peele proves he's not a one trick pony director, but a horse that needs to be reigned in a little.

- hipCRANK

The Hummingbird Project
16 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes


When a financial IT hustler in the midst of his greatest gamble is presented with a death sentence, he decides to dig a deeper hole.

Twitchy, wide-eyed Jesse Eisenberg is perfect as the edgy and on the edge Vincent, putting out a series of unfortunate fires in his bizarre quest to drill a straight fibre cable pipe from Kansas to New Jersey. Better is balding nerd, hunch-backed, awkward code crunching cousin Anton, played by unrecognizable Alexander Skarsgard in equal doses of clown tear sadness, and physical slapstick. Their escape from and battle with Cruella Devillish Salma Hayek (strong boss Eva), stirs the plot pot.

"The Hummingbird Project" is an exercise in determined futility, as a couple of misguided geniuses in search of life-altering, get rich quick adventure, get in way over their heads as their world spirals out of control. And though the film veers off common sense tracks, there's no denying it's power to cajole viewers along for the crazy ride.

Dig it!

- hipCRANK

The Party's Just Beginning
16 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Chastising small town Scottish life to indifferent yet surly pubsters more interested in their drink than this open mic looney, Liusaidh delivers her trash talk with poetic vigour before stumbling out for her nightly shag and take away.

As Liusaidh, (Lucy or Loosey) Karen Gillan owns the screen, as she trudges through her insufferable existence, something her best friend decided against a year's past. Her nightly drink/shag/fries concludes with a stagger over the train bridge favoured by local jumpers, and visions of her dear departed, departing. This unsettling tragedy of events soon becomes mundane with repetition, as is everything in the unfortunate ville of Inverness.

Staring into deep dead space from the local deli counter, under harsh fluorescents and a tight hairnet, she encounters a new bloke interested in more than just processed meats, and we are off. "The Party's Just Beginning" doesn't follow the paint by numbers movie canvass, instead delivering a choppy story in jumpy time slices, with equal doses of edgy humour and dark pathos. Attention must be paid.

Although there are glimmers of hope, the film, like it's perpetually grey, dead end town, has trouble finding a rainbow among the clouds, and that may be the point.

This one, for better or worse, or both, stays with you.

- hipCRANK