Northern Iowan

Flawed Affleck flick falls flat

Ben Affleck's new directorial effort

JOSHUA ROUSE, Film Critic

January 23, 2017

When World War I veteran Joe Couglin returns from the trenches of war, he comes home to a gangster-infested America in the Prohibition Era.  Joe wants nothing to do with the Rum War that’s being waged between Albert White and Mesco Pescotore, the Irish and Italian mob bosses, respectively. Joe mak...

“Monster” calls for five paws

The new film

JOSHUA ROUSE, Film Critic

January 19, 2017

Based on the novel of the same name by Patrick Ness, “A Monster Calls” tells the story of the young Conor O’Malley’s battle with grief as his mother slowly dies from an un-named illness. Just after midnight, the boy is visited by a tree-like monster who tells him three cryptic tales. However, the ...

New musical “La La” lands with critic

Damien Chazelle's new movie-musical

JOSHUA ROUSE, Film Critic

January 12, 2017

Mia (Emma Stone) is a barista with dreams of becoming an actress, but is held back by rejections at numerous auditions. Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) is a jazz pianist who wants to open his own jazz club, but is stuck doing one-off gigs and struggling for money. On a chance meeting, these two kindred spi...

Disney’s new Pacific Island princess

Disney's new animated film

JOSHUA ROUSE, Film Critic

December 8, 2016

When the demigod, Maui, literally steals the heart of the island goddess Te Fiti, the world is thrown into chaos in the new Disney flick, “Moana.” The lava demon Te Ka and a host of monsters fill the ocean with terror and peril. On the peaceful island of Motunui, Chief Tui knows of the dangers ...

“Beasts” brings wizarding world back to the big screen

JOSHUA ROUSE, Film Critic

December 1, 2016

Written by J.K. Rowling, and directed by David Yates, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” returns viewers back to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, but with more World and less Potter this time around. Set in New York in 1926, Magizoologist Newt Scamander arrives in the Big Apple enrout...

Smart, thrilling sci-fi earns “5 paws”

JOSHUA ROUSE, Film Critic

November 17, 2016

When 12 mysterious alien ships land on Earth, the leaders of the world are thrown into a panic. Militaries are deployed and scientists are recruited to find out just what the aliens want. Decorated linguist, Louise Banks and expert mathematician, Ian Donnelly are scientists recruited by Colonel Weber...

“Doctor Strange” is Marvel’s best origin so far

JOSHUA ROUSE, Film Critic

November 14, 2016

“Doctor Strange,” the newest edition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), tells the story of acclaimed and successful neurosurgeon Stephen Strange. Miraculously performing near impossible surgeries, he accrues much fame, arrogance and wealth throughout his life, until an accident causes irrepa...

Unique hero in “Accountant”

JOSHUA ROUSE, Film Critic

November 3, 2016

Diagnosed with high-functioning autism from an early age, Christian Wolff has always been gifted with incredible mental capabilities. From completing upside down jigsaw puzzles to solving complex math equations, Christian has always known he was different. Lending out his math skills to cook the boo...

Tyler Perry’s newest Madea flick

JOSHUA ROUSE, Film Critic

October 31, 2016

Tyler Perry’s ninth outing as the aggressively profane granny tells the story of Brian Simmons, a sheepish father, trying to do what’s right for his rebellious daughter Tiffany. When Brian leaves for work over the weekend, he asks Madea to house sit and make sure Tiffany doesn’t sneak off to ...

Parker’s turn as Nat Turner turns heads

Nat Turner, played by Nate Parker, is a slave who must decide if he wants to stand up for what he believes in.

CLINTON OLSASKY, News Editor

October 17, 2016

Based on the real-life 1831 slave rebellion led by Nat Turner, “The Birth of a Nation” is an equally powerful and brutal account of one of the darkest chapters in our country’s history. Directed by and starring Nate Parker, the film shares the same name as that of D.W. Griffith’s 1915 KKK p...

Save your ticket, “Girl on the Train” is a trainwreck

Emily Blunt stars in the new film,

JOSHUA ROUSE, Film Critic

October 13, 2016

Based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Paula Hawkins, “Girl on the Train” tells the story of the broken life of Rachel Watson. She turns to alcoholism and train-rides-to-nowhere after her husband, Tom, leaves her for another woman named Anna. Rachel watches families in the houses th...

‘Dumb’ humor fills ‘Masterminds’

JOSHUA ROUSE, Film Critic

October 6, 2016

From Jared Hess, director of cult hit comedies “Napoleon Dynamite” and “Nacho Libre” comes a screwball comedy based on the 1997 Loomis Fargo robbery, “Masterminds.” A Loomis employee named David Ghantt steals one of the largest amounts of money in US history. Coaxed into the operation by hi...

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