Lee Jutton

Staff Writer

Lee attended NYU for Film & TV Production, but she now works mostly in PR. Her primary obsessions in life are Doctor Who, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Arsenal F.C. When not writing about things she's watched, she's running or kickboxing in preparation for the inevitable zombie apocalypse. 

Follow on TwitterFacebook



Support This "American Made Movie" Review

If there is one thing most Americans can agree on right now in these ultra-divided times, it’s the economy, and how we all wish it was just a little bit healthier. Right now it feels as though it is huffing and puffing along and straining itself to get through each day without collapsing, like an unathletic, asthmatic kid reliant on his inhaler who dreams of being a robust, flag-waving Olympic athlete. How can we get the United States of America’s economy back to its full potential, so that it becomes a little bit easier for the average middle-class citizen to make ends meet on a regular basis? How do we help more people make a decent living wage so that they can in turn go out, spend it and boost the economy further? The main argument of the feature-length documentary American Made Movie is pretty simple on the surface: create more manufacturing jobs.

Jul
10
2014
Read more

'Weekend" Will Satisfy Your Need For Speed Review

In 1971, filmmaker and Formula One fan Roman Polanski spent a weekend in Monte Carlo with his good friend, world champion racing driver Jackie Stewart, as Stewart prepared to race in the Monaco Grand Prix. The resulting documentary is an interesting slice of a life lived competing--and winning--at one of the world’s most glamorous sports at a time when it was also one of the most dangerous. Recently restored and re-released with a brief epilogue reuniting Polanski and Stewart on camera to talk about how the sport has changed in the past forty years, Weekend of a Champion is a time capsule worth opening if you have even the slightest interest in racing.

Jun
29
2014
Read more

Forget A "Klondike" Bar; What Would You Do For Food, Fire, And Shelter? Review

The Discovery Channel’s first-ever scripted miniseries, Klondike stars Richard “Robb Stark” Madden as Bill Haskell, an intelligent and idealistic young man from Vermont who heads west with his much more irresponsible best friend, full of hope that somewhere out on the frontier he can build a future that is completely his own. Their path leads them to the Yukon in 1897 to take part in the Klondike Gold Rush; however, making one’s fortune isn’t as easy as simply picking up a shovel and looking for soil that sparkles. There are rough weather conditions, contagious diseases, aggressively greedy hucksters, corrupt government officials, angry natives who want their land back from the encroaching settlers, and many frustrated miners who are willing to resort to violence if it means an end to their hard times. Think your old Oregon Trail computer game crossed with Game of Thrones’ brutal power struggles...plus a whole lot of facial hair.

Jun
27
2014
Read more

God Save The Queen, And "Alan Partridge" Review

The British have perfect the art of inappropriate behavior--at least when it comes to comedy. From angry Irish bookshop proprietor Bernard Black’s constant verbal and physical abuse of his loyal assistant Manny (not to mention his own customers) on Black Books, to HR nightmare David Brent’s insensitive comments to his various employees on The Office, to spin doctor Malcolm Tucker’s ability to take vile cursing to new artistic heights on The Thick of It, British comedy thrives upon the dark humor that can be found in the awkward, the rude and the socially inept. You wouldn’t welcome these characters into your home in person, but inviting them in via your television set is downright delightful. Perhaps some of it has to do with those exceedingly polite-sounding accents, which are capable of making even the worst insults sound almost palatable. Nonetheless, in the wake of England’s latest, embarrassingly early World Cup exit, it is nice to know that there is one area of culture in which Great Britain is still at the top of its game, exemplified by the recent Blu-ray release of Alan Partridge.

Jun
26
2014
Read more

This One Doesn't Fall Down "On The Job" Review

On the Job is an intriguing crime drama out of the Philippines that will please fans of old-school Martin Scorsese and Michael Mann. It focuses on the murder of a drug dealer named Tiu by two assassins who happen to be incarcerated criminals: the hardened, experienced Tatang (Joel Torre) and the brash up-and-coming killer Daniel (Gerald Anderson). The two men are smuggled out of jail by corrupt officials in order to off whoever is deemed necessary to die before being smuggled back in again. It seems like the perfect cover-up for any crime; after all, who would suspect someone of committing murder that, by all accounts, was trapped behind bars when the crime occurred? 

Jun
12
2014
Read more

Crime Drama Cliches Prove "Hard To Kill" Review

Before he brought his enigmatic presence to American audiences in AMC’s The Killing and the recent remake of Robocop, Swedish actor Joel Kinnaman found stardom in Europe thanks to the smash hit Easy Money. The 2010 Swedish crime drama, adapted from a novel by Jens Lapidus, cast Kinnaman as JW, an intelligent but misguided business student from the wrong side of the tracks who becomes a drug smuggler in order to afford the wealthy lifestyle of his upper-class peers. The diverse group of criminals he gets mixed up with includes Chilean Jorge (Matias Varela), Serbian Mrado (Dragomir Mrsic) and Lebanese Mahmoud (Fares Fares). The first film ends with JW in prison, but that doesn't prevent him from getting into further trouble in Easy Money: Hard to Kill, the film’s 2012 sequel.

Jun
05
2014
Read more

"Memphis Belle" Never Quite Takes Flight Review

Nearly seventy years have passed since World War II ended, but it continues to capture the imagination of Hollywood. It is easy to see why--after all, it was one of the biggest conflicts in history, starring quite possibly the nastiest bad guy of all time versus a diverse cast of heroes as big as Winston Churchill and George S. Patton and as seemingly small (but still important) as the enlisted men who stormed the beaches of Normandy and the women who worked in homefront munitions factories. There are numerous powerful and inspirational stories, both fictional and nonfictional, that can be pulled from such rich material. One such story is that of the Memphis Belle, the B-17 flying fortress that was one of the first to complete all 25 of her missions--and successfully, at that.

Jun
04
2014
Read more

Witness Filmmaking's "Sunrise" Review

F.W. Murnau’s 1927 drama Sunrise has the distinction of winning “Best Unique and Artistic Production” at the first-ever Academy Awards ceremony in 1929, which at the time was deemed just as prestigious of an honor as winning “Outstanding Picture” (which, at that ceremony, was given to the film Wings). It is also the only film to ever win that award, as the Academy soon changed its mind and decided that one best, outstanding picture was quite enough, thank you very much, discontinuing that specific honor. Yet Sunrise has maintained its place in cinematic history even as the award it was honored with has faded into nonexistence. Its story is the epitome of silent-era melodrama and occasionally elicits more laughter than one can imagine was intended, but as a prime example of early advances in the art of filmmaking, it is most definitely worth watching.

Jun
04
2014
Read more

"The Women", Am I Right? Review

The Women was released 75 years ago, and yet what made it singular at the time--its all-female cast--could still be considered revolutionary today. Adapted from the hit stage play by Clare Boothe and directed by the legendary George Cukor, this 1939 comedy-drama claims to reveal what women talk about when men are not around. Unfortunately, this glimpse behind the frothy dressing-room curtain is best summarized by the film’s original, cringeworthy tagline: “It’s all about men!” Ugh. Yet despite its regrettable subject matter, The Women deserves plaudits for giving its titular, talented ensemble an opportunity to shine that, sadly, many women in Hollywood still find hard to come by today.

May
28
2014
Read more

"Best Night Ever" Stays In And Watches Netflix Review

Best Night Ever is essentially a female-oriented version of The Hangover, written and directed by the men--yes, surprisingly, men--behind Epic Movie, Date Movie and Meet the Spartans, Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer. If you like the kind of crass, derivative humor that Friedberg and Seltzer have made their fortunes recycling, you might enjoy this movie chronicling the misadventures of sweet bride-to-be Claire, her uptight older sister Leslie, her loyal loose cannon of a best friend Zoe, and loopy new pal Janet as they embark on a bachelorette party trip to Las Vegas. After a credit card mishap means that they’re unable to pay for the expensive, glamorous hotel suite they reserved in the heart of the Vegas strip, they’re forced to shack up in a seedy motel instead. The night only spirals further downward into the criminal underworld from there, including a mugging at gunpoint, a jello wrestling scene, a lot of pill-popping, limousine theft and of course, numerous types of zany chase scenes.

May
05
2014
Read more

There's a Complex and Philosophical Mind in "Mr. Nobody" Review

It’s difficult not to look back at certain moments in one’s life and wonder how things would have been different if you had just chosen differently; after all, even a seemingly insignificant, unimportant decision can have a ripple effect and alter numerous aspects of one’s future. No one knows that better than Nemo Nobody (Jared Leto), the title character and protagonist of writer-director Jaco Van Dormael’s very heady, very European 2009 movie. The last mortal man on Earth in the year 2092, at a whopping 118 years old, Nemo has the gift to shift his mind temporally. As a result, he is able to experience multiple, parallel timelines, seeing how his life would be different if he chose to live with his mother rather than his father after his parents’ divorce.

May
04
2014
Read more

This "Pirate Fairy" Has Wings Review

The Pirate Fairy is the fifth and most recent installment in Disney’s successful series of computer-animated movies chronicling the pre-Peter Pan adventures of Tinker Bell (voiced by Arrested Development’s own Ann Veal, Mae Whitman) and her fairy friends friends in Pixie Hollow. At first, the idea of Tinker Bell not only having a voice, but using it to giggle with a bunch of CG fairies voiced by the likes of Lucy Liu, Raven-Symone, Megan Hilty and others seems like little more than a cheap cash grab, with Disney banking on little girls’ love of anything cutesy, colorful and magical. However, while I can’t speak for the other installments the series, I can say that The Pirate Fairy is a pleasantly surprising and entertaining movie that features plenty of positive messages combined with a great deal of fun.

Apr
30
2014
Read more

These "Birds" Won't Be In "Paradise" Review

Birds of Paradise is the latest in a long line of straight-to-DVD animated flicks attempting to cash in on the success of bigger movies with similar subject matter; in this case, it’s Rio and it’s soon-to-be-released sequel. The movie tells the story of Jack, a simple sparrow with dreams of being someone a little more exotic and eye-catching to the local ladies. He gets his wish when a strange fiasco involving a cat and several buckets of paint results in his wings getting splattered with all of the colors of the rainbow. Now extraordinary-looking as he always wanted, albeit with a nasty paint fume-induced cough, Jack begins strutting his stuff all over town in order to impress Aurora, a pretty canary who recently escaped from her vile owner Mr. Potter, the seventh-richest man in the world. However, Jack’s rapidly ballooning ego and attempts to be someone he's not threaten to lose him more friends and admirers than he could hope to gain. Lessons abound throughout about being true to yourself, espoused by, among other creatures, a sage old buzzard, a blind and babbling bat, a goofy pigeon and a hyperactive hummingbird.

Apr
27
2014
Read more

Rich Performances Make This "Hobbit" A Little Less Desolate Review

The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug covers the jam-packed middle portion of J.R.R. Tolkien’s 1933 novel and effectively takes you on a tour of the places and peoples of Middle-earth, from the home of Beorn the skinchanger, through the spider-infested woods of Mirkwood to the Woodland Realm of the elves, down the river to the dour and downright Dickensian village of Laketown, and finally, deep inside Lonely Mountain itself to hopefully reclaim the ancestral dwarf home of Erebor from that infamous dragon. And what a dragon it is! Some characters are so iconic on the page that the notion of seeing them adapted to the big screen strikes fear, rather than excitement, into the hearts of readers--the fear of a literary legacy being forever tainted by total and utter disappointment. A talking, fire-breathing dragon from one of the most beloved books of the twentieth century certainly fits the bill, doesn’t it? And yet as played by Benedict Cumberbatch via stunningly detailed motion-capture technology, his voice oozing with pure, poetic menace, Smaug was everything that this Tolkien fan had been imagining since I first read The Hobbit when I was about eleven years old--an utterly terrifying villain as well as a regal, magical creature. The moment in which he is first revealed, as the mountains of gold coins under which he has been sleeping slowly begin to shift, sent shivers down my spine.

Apr
23
2014
Read more

Once Bitten, "Twice Born" Review

Twice Born tells the story of Gemma (Penelope Cruz), an Italian professor who decides to bring her teenage son, Pietro, to Bosnia to see the country where he was born--and where she fell in love with his now-deceased father. Scenes of the present are intercut with those of the past, when Gemma was a student working on her doctorate in Sarajevo in the early 1980s. There, she was introduced to the passionate American photographer Diego (Emile Hirsch) by her zany Bosnian poet guide, Gojko (Adnan Hasković) kickstarting a steamy romance that leads to marriage but, unfortunately for them, a lack of children.

Apr
06
2014
Read more

"Prey" Brings The Heat From Across The Pond Review

The Prey feels like a movie that, if made by Hollywood rather than by the French, would star either Liam Neeson or Jason Statham--in other words, something right up my alley. It’s your typical anti-hero-out-for-justice plot, driven by a great deal of twists, turns and adrenaline. Yet despite its standard-issue storyline, it is not without entertainment value, thanks to some solid acting and action-packed directing.

Apr
06
2014
Read more

There's "100 Years" Of Material On Wrigley Field Review

There are scarcely more devoted fans out there than baseball fans, and among baseball fans, those who support the Chicago Cubs rank up there as some of the most loyal and also the longest-suffering. No doubt they will adore the latest collaboration between MLB Productions and A&E, 100 Years of Wrigley Field, a documentary that chronicles the highs and lows of a century (1914-2014) spent at one of the oldest and most famous stadiums in the United States.

Mar
30
2014
Read more

"Ancient Aliens" Asks The Deep Questions, Man Review

Shows like Ancient Aliens are the reason why basic cable exists. No, it is not for the landmark dramatic programming that arises from the creative freedom of not being on a big network. No, it is not for the endless reruns of Friends in syndication (though, maybe). No, basic cable exists so that totally bizarre shows like Ancient Aliens can find an audience, one that is typically home sick from work, too cheap to shell out for HBO or just too tired to change the channel to find something else.

Based on its ability to scrounge up said audience, Ancient Aliens has made it through five seasons on HISTORY’s geeky stepchild, H2, with eight of those episodes collected on this two-disc Blu-ray set. The basic premise of the show is summarized succinctly on the packaging: “Did the knowledge and advancements of ancient civilizations have extraterrestrial origins?” It is fitting that it is put forth as a question, because that is all Ancient Aliens does: ask questions. Answers are in much shorter supply.

Mar
26
2014
Read more

Everything Looks Better "Frozen" Review

It’s rare when a Disney animated movie, especially one of the infamous “Disney princess” genre, focuses more on familial relationships than romantic ones. Stereotypical Disney heroines tend to be orphans, or at least motherless, and are more likely to have a step-family of the impossibly evil persuasion than to have any healthy parental or sibling relationships in their lives; these ladies then fill that void of affection with their “one true love.” Is this the most sound or relatable of messages to send to the generations of young girls who flock to these candy-colored musical confections? No; it is one reason why, as a young girl, I was both surprised and impressed by Mulan when it hit theaters in 1998. (She doesn’t need a man, she has a SWORD!) It is also why it is nice to see a movie like Disney’s latest smash hit and this year’s Oscar winner for Best Animated Feature, Frozen, use the romantic elements of the typical Disney princess movie to support its story of self-expression and sisterhood, rather than to overpower it.

Mar
26
2014
Read more

"Divergent" Sticks To The Path, With Some Success Review

The recent boom in young adult literature has not translated to the big screen the way Hollywood had hoped. For every bombastic, Hunger Games-esque success, there have been numerous other failures (Beautiful Creatures, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, and most recently, Vampire Academy, none of which made enough money to merit a franchise the way the studios hoped). However, Divergent, adapted from the first volume in Veronica Roth’s bestselling trilogy, stands to come the closest to inheriting Katniss Everdeen’s fiery mantle. It has an intriguing, color-coded dystopian setting, a tough female protagonist who feels like a real teenage girl despite her uncanny ability to shoot down a bad guy, and a love story to boot. The novel is not without its weaknesses, which are primarily plot-related; Roth’s writing is often weak and confusing when she ventures beyond worldbuilding into actual story structure. Yet while the film shares some of the same weaknesses as the book, Divergent is a decently entertaining adaptation that improves on the source material and should merit its sequels.

Mar
21
2014
Read more


Popular