Northern Iowan

Hart, Cranston can’t save unoriginal schlock

Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston star in

HUNTER FRIESEN, Film Critic

January 31, 2019

January is usually the time of year when the film industry releases movies they’ve lost confidence in. Most of these films come and go without anyone even noticing they exist. One of the biggest films this January is “The Upside,” which tells the unlikely true story of a wealthy quadriplegic hiri...

Friesen’s top 10 films of 2018

Friesen's top 10 films of 2018

HUNTER FRIESEN, Film Critic

January 24, 2019

With political and social upheaval, natural disasters and the overall feeling of optimism fading away, 2018 was a rocky year that never really seemed to end. Fortunately for moviegoers, the year did offer a way of escape through some great films, ranging from record-setting blockbusters to genre-defying ...

Coen film inconsistently explores Wild West

The newest film by the Coen brothers,

HUNTER FRIESEN, Film Critic

December 6, 2018

Joel and Ethan Coen are two directors who can always be depended on to make a wildly original film. Their work contains an offbeat nature mixed with highbrow comedy that either ends up making a splash with audiences (“Fargo”) or landing with a thud (“The Ladykillers”). The brothers’ latest Netflix...

Caple Jr.s ‘Creed II’ packs a punch

Michael B. Jordan, Tessa Thompson and Sylvester Stallone star in

HUNTER FRIESEN, Film Critic

December 3, 2018

The first “Creed” film was an entertaining surprise that was able to be both of fan service to the “Rocky” franchise and a great standalone story filled with rich characters and relationships. The new sequel, “Creed II,” goes bigger than the first as the return of Ivan Drago reignites ...

‘Spiders’s Web’ is as lifeless as its setting

Fede Alvarez's

HUNTER FRIESEN, Film Critic

November 15, 2018

After watching “The Girl in the Spider’s Web,” all I could think about was how badly this film tried to be a James Bond movie. There’s the dark protagonist who uses questionable methods to serve justice, the villain who wants to control the world and the underdeveloped love interest who always ge...

Queen biopic is an entertaining mess

Directed by Bryan Singer and starring Rami Male,,

HUNTER FRIESEN, Film Critic

November 12, 2018

Making a biopic about Freddie Mercury and Queen is a truly difficult task for anyone to accomplish. Condensing the life of this legendary lead singer into a feature-length film is next to impossible. Bryan Singer attempts this feat with “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which unsurprisingly isn’t able to ...

Redford shines in ‘The Old Man & the Gun’

Robert Redford stars in

HUNTER FRIESEN, Film Critic

November 1, 2018

Robert Redford has built a successful decade-spanning career as a charming actor who can play any type of character with a heart of gold. It seems fitting that in his final performance in the new film “The Old Man & the Gun,” Redford plays Forrest Tucker, a man born to rob banks. Except he’...

‘Bad Times’ proves to be a good time

Drew Goddard directs and writes

HUNTER FRIESEN, Film Critic

October 22, 2018

A priest, a singer, a vacuum salesman and a drifter walk into a hotel. They all have a story and need a room for a specific reason, but only one of them is telling the truth. Each one is untrusting of the others and plans out how to survive the night as a severe storm moves in. Then enters a crazy cult l...

Chazelle’s ‘First Man’ valiantly blasts off

Ryan Gosling stars in the new film 'First Man,' directed by Damien Chazelle, following NASA's mission to land a man on the moon.

HUNTER FRIESEN, Film Critic

October 18, 2018

What do Americans really know about Neil Armstrong? Everyone knows that he was the first man to step foot on the moon, but what else? Most of us would be left blank, realizing we know so little about one of the most important American figures of the 20th century. Stepping in to remedy this problem is direct...

‘A Simple Favor’ is simply average

Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively star in

HUNTER FRIESEN, Film Critic

October 1, 2018

Stephanie Smothers is a young woman who absolutely loves her job as a single mother of her young son. Her life consists of caring for him, volunteering at school and running a popular parenting vlog. At school, she meets Emily Nelson, the mother of her son’s best friend. Emily works a high-end job in t...

‘The Predator’ falls prey to laziness

Directed by Shane Black and starring Boyd Holbrook, Olivia Munn and Sterling K. Brown, the sci-fi action film

HUNTER FRIESEN, Film Critic

September 20, 2018

The original “Predator” from 1987 was a film full of mindless action done in a smart way. Every other sequel, spin-off and reboot following has just been mindless action done really dumb. “The Predator,” the new quasi-reboot/sequel, is no exception to that trend. “The Predator” tries to ...

‘The Nun’ is an unholy abomination

Directed by Corin Hardy,

HUNTER FRIESEN, Film Critic

September 13, 2018

Over the last five years, the “Conjuring” universe has taken the horror genre by storm. This has been made possible by great directing and inventive scares that defy expectations. “The Nun,” the newest film in the series, has none (pun intended) of those quality traits. Instead, it ends up bei...

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