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Eat Locals (2017)
Little Hidden Gem
A gathering of a vampire council at a hidden hideaway turns into a bloodbath when the British Army ambushes them in an attempt to put an end to their local reign of terror in the new horror comedy, Eat Locals.
Charlie Cox (Marvel's Daredevil) headlines a group of eight vampires who at their semi-centennial meeting discuss matters such as territory and new members. Their meeting also introduces the fanged ones to the human at the table. Billy Cook plays Sebastian, a warm blooded human who tags along with date Vanessa (Eve Myles) unaware his date is a vampire and she is accompanying him to a flock of bloodsuckers. Sebastian quickly realizes that he is not in friendly quarters but any notion of escape is thwarted when the army erupts in gunfire. Soon, the houseguests are accepting that they are surrounded by a heavily armed force lead by a commander committed to ending the vampire race.
Vampire films have been done to nausea over the past two decades, but thanks to a tongue-in-cheek deviously funny script by Danny King (Wild Bill, 2011), Eat Locals felt like fresh fun covering familiar territory. There may not be laugh out loud moments, but the script is nuanced and seasoned with fresh characters, fun challenges and a satisfying ended that make the viewing worth recommending.
It's hard not to root for the sharp-tooth characters as they struggle to find continued cause in their existence while fighting for their very survival. Added to the comedic mix are two additional human characters (Dexter Fletcher and Ruth Jones) that have a peculiar role in context of the vampires meeting above them in the house. Not all your favorite characters will survive but everyone seems to meet their maker after a spotlight moment which will leave audiences satisfied.
We would categorize Eat Locals as more of a comedy than a horror. So too must have the director Jason Flemying who makes his directorial debut here after over 125 acting credits on IMDb.com. The director's end credits reel reintroduces each character with each actor looking like they are having a ruckus of a good time during the shoot.
But don't think for a second that there isn't a good body count to go with all the yuks. Whether it's elderly vampire Alice (Annette Crosbie who has some of the better comedic moments) standing in the open firing off hundreds of rounds with an automatic weapon likely larger than her own physical frame or a concerned military man who gets rewarded for his kindness with two sharp objects impaling either side of his neck, Eat Locals brings body bags.
By the time the lights again illuminated the theatre at the screening as part of the Toronto After Dark Film Festival, I was thankful for the experience. What a great treat right before the Halloween season.
Dead Shack (2017)
Fun with Gore
Let's clear the air right now Dead Shack is neither a B52's hit song nor is it a documentary fictionalizing the death of a famous Los Angeles Lakers center. Or at least it isn't in this iteration. Directed by Peter Ricq, Dead Shack is a horror/comedy about a family who crosses paths with a murderous neighbor who lures others to her home with intention of feeding them to her zombie family. Like I wrote: horror/comedy.
We meet our main characters as they set out on a family vacation. Roger (Donavon Stitson) is the father and adult of the group. Along for the ride is his new girlfriend Lisa (Valerie Tian) kids Summer (Lizzie Boys) and Colin (Gabriel LaBelle) and neighbor Jason (Matthew Nelson-Mahood). Roger is a drinker, a joker and father that tries too hard to bond with his teenage children. He wants to be the cool-adult and throws his sarcastic wit aloud both to amuse himself and others.
His children are very independent. Thanks to Roger's buffoonery they have to be. When they find themselves wandering from the vacation cabin they come across a neighbor worthy of their spying eyes. But when they witness the neighbor drug two strangers and then feed them to some zombie-like characters kept liked rabid pets, the kids grow up fast. They rush back to their father who is both drunk and drugged. Their story of the neighbors cannibalism is met with skepticism and drunken wonder by Roger whose alcoholic courage and hazed attempt to be there for his kids gets him motivated to investigate the claims. It's when they enter the neighbor's house that the film sways from being a full on comedy and lands itself dab smack into the horror/thriller genre.
What ensures next is barrage of equal violence and humor that propels Dead Shack to the height of its crowd pleasing wonderfulness. The kids get all Mad-Maxed up in gear and weaponry created with found parts. Their goal it to save the day and leave with the same amount of family members that began the odyssey (well, maybe not Lisa). Axes and sharp objects swing and stick, blood both red and black are spilled, zombies are both killed and created. As an audience our job is to sit back and enjoy the ride and if you don't look too deep into the shallowness of the story, the ride is a fun one. We enjoyed the first half better than last. Stitson's lines land with precision and the dynamic of the group would be something we would have liked to see more.
There are some great lines in Dead Shack ("When the blood goes black there's no going back"), so when the film shifts to more of a zombie tale, it falters a bit to the finish line.
Our criticism is hardly a reason not to recommend Dead Shack. The crowd assembled at the screening during the Toronto After Dark Film Festival laughed and cheered in all the right spots. So even through the few flaws, it was clearly a crowd pleaser. And not a B52's song.
My Friend Dahmer (2017)
A Prequel to Madness
David Berkowitz. John Wayne Gacy. Ted Bundy. Ed Gein. It's fascinating how the names of some of North America's most sensationalized serial killers have their names as familiar through cross-generational age groups as George Washington, Martin Luthur King and Michael Jackson. Pop culture seems equally enamored by rampages of the more infamous multiple murderers and have dedicated innumerable television episodes, podcasts and theatrical releases to their subjects taking dramatic licenses to piece together the anatomy of a killer.
One of the more interesting films to premiere with the weight of factual atrocities associated with the title character is My Friend Dahmer which dramatizes the complex high school life of renowned serial killer and cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer who was responsible for the butchering of 17 young men between 1978 and the late 1980's.
Based on the book by Derf Backderf and co-written by director Mark Meyers, My Friend Dahmer attempts to show us the events in the life of the protagonist before he began to take human lives. Former Disney alum teen idol Ross Lynch accepts the responsibility of channeling a teenaged Dahmer through the events of his life that would eventually culminate in the carnage associated with the name. Lynch embodies Dahmer as a loner with shrugged shoulders who meanders through his relative non-existence at both school and at home. With no friends and a family engorged on their own turmoil, Dahmer finds exultant refuge in a small shack in the woods by the family home where he experiments with dead animals soaked in acid. Dahmer does not hide his fascination with dead animal bones and his passion for the macabre would eventually lead his father (Dallas Roberts) to destroy his son's secret sanctuary.
Meanwhile, at school, Dahmer becomes a casual teen celebrity among the halls when he begins acting out in relative random outbursts. The outbreaks of mania result in a bonding with three classmates that champion Dahmer's ambition for attention and exploit his mannerisms for childish euphoria.
Being accepted as part of a group does little to slow the progression into madness that eventually ensues. As the marriage between Dahmer's parents dissolves we witness the unhinged neuroses of his mother played wonderfully by Anne Heche. Her manic attention to only herself fuels Dahmer to begin drinking and it's the alcohol fueled mindset that propels Dahmer to progress into darkness.
My Friend Dahmer concludes with the connection to Steven Hicks, a young hitchhiker who would become Dahmer's first victim. We watch as Hicks and Dahmer drive off but only a title card reveals Hicks' ultimate fate.
It is this restraint that separates My Friend Dahmer from its peers. Director Marc Meyers weaves us through a story that doesn't humanize the man who would become Milwaukee's most prolific cannibal. Nor does the film sensationalize the events to which Dahmer is associated. Instead, My Friend Dahmer focuses on what life offered a quiet outcast without any violent behaviors leading up to his first submitted impulse of murder.
And it's this glimpse into a young man's troubled past that propels My Friend Dahmer towards our strong film recommendation. The cast surrounding Dahmer's coming-of-age are exceptional. In particular young Alex Wolff who as Dahmer's best friend becomes a participant in a profile that would eventually result in horrific consequences.
Marc Meyers and his crew are able to flawlessly project the year 1978 around the characters. From the costume designs to the cars and music, the look and feel of 1978 is authentic. The references to the era may be subtle, but they are effective establishing the setting.
The challenge of making a serial killer movie interesting before the killer takes a life must have been daunting. But Mac Meyers maneuvers through the rapids determined to give backdrop to our subject. There are flaws. The film takes only a shallow toe dip into the homosexuality pool we now know Dahmer would eventually bathe. But the film doesn't try to sensationalize anything. It stays the course and easily becomes one of the better serial killer prequels ever made.
I Am Not a Serial Killer (2016)
What a Fantastic Surprise
There are so many things I love about the Toronto After Dark Film Festival (TADFF). The venue. The people. The films. The shorts. The atmosphere. So many things combine to make the TADFF my favorite film festival of the year.
And one of the more surprising things that occur each year is that my favorite film of the festival will come unexpectedly from left field. This year's crop of screenings held many titles to which I was already aware of their existence. Under the Shadow, Antibirth, Train to Busan, Stake Land 2 and Creepy. These were all titles that I was fully conscious of their information including story, director and cast. But there were a few that I had yet to hear anything about, The Void, Master Cleanse, Kill Command and I am not a Serial Killer. It is with these titles that my hopes rested on finding that unexpected gem that I found in previous TADFF entries in Predestination, Eega and Trick 'R Treat.
By Monday night, I had found it. I am not a Serial Killer is not a film that I would expect many to know much about. The film is based on a 2009 novel by Dan Wells that was part of a trilogy of books in what is considered the John Wayne Cleaver series and includes I Am Not a Serial Killer, Mr. Monster and The Devil's Only Friend.
In the film adaptation we get introduced to John Wayne Cleaver played by Max Records from Where the Wild Things Are. John is a high schooler that believes he has serial killer tendencies. Or so he tells his therapist (Karl Geary). John works in a morgue run by his family which gives John access to dead bodies that begin to show up with regularity when a serial killer begins to add to their resume in a small rural town. John is fascinated by the killings and how in each instance a different part of the victim's body has been removed. John is eager to use the killings to harvest his fascination with serial killers and this path will lead him down a plot highway that has plenty of surprises leading to a very unexpected climax.
Director Billy O'Brien worked tirelessly to get the rights to bring the Dan Wells' story to the big screen and he does not waste the energy exerted in pre-production. The film has just the right amount of everything and reveals in its own time a plot that is as smart as it is simple.
Back to the Future's Christopher Lloyd gets top billing and is a welcomed familiar face in sea of newbies and the 79-year-old actor shines as the neighbor next door that catches the eye of young Cleaver.
But the movie hinges on the wonderful performance from Max Records. Hardly recognizable from his role in Where the Wild Things Are, Max is perfectly cast in the lead and has a mix of Johnny Depp and Lukas Haas in him which works flawlessly in the role of the conflicted teenager at odds with his family, friends and, at times, himself.
To enjoy I Am Not a Serial Killer is to go in knowing as little as possible about the plot. Letting it go in directions unseen due to no preconceived notions aides in the overall enjoyment of the reveals. So do yourself a favor and just dive into the deep end and enjoy the water.
I Am Not a Serial Killer is another feather in the cap of the Toronto After Dark Film Festival. It is not only one of the better films of this year's fest but it is one of the ten best films the festival has ever screened.
The Rezort (2015)
The idea is brilliant. If Jurassic Park can be such a monumental hit but displaying dinosaurs in a theme park type environment why not try the same with zombies. Again, brilliant.
The Rezort takes place after a zombie epidemic has killed billions of our population. The humans were able to fight the impending apocalypse and gained control over the zombies where they were shipped to a Zombie Safari of sorts. Here, humans can pay large sums of money for their chance to shoot the undead for sport.
The Zombie Safari (Zafari) is a controlled environment. There are countless cameras and fail-safes in place all monitored from a central control room. And the zombies, for the most part, are put on display, like being chained to posts at a safe distance in an attempt at giving the vacationers what they crave while ensuring their utmost safety.
Always wanted to shoot a zombie? Welcome to the Zafari. Wanted to seek some kind of twisted revenge for the loss of a loved one? Welcome to Zafari. Just want to kill something? Welcome to Zafari.
But if we learned anything from the Jurassic Park movies it's that the best laid plans might always end up in chaos. Disorder in this instance comes when a computer virus is uploaded into the central control system which brings the systems offline. Zombies by the hundreds are now able to stroll right up the visitor's camps and, of course, mayhem ensues.
A small group of vacationers are in the middle of the bedlam and look to a veteran sharp shooter named Archer (Dougray Scott) to help them get off the island before a self-destruct order is enacted which will wipe out the entire Zafari.
This is where The Rezort slightly misses the mark. The idea that is at the apex of the setting is inspired. But once the systems go down, The Rezort morphs into a zombies run just a bit slower than the humans but manage to pick one off every few minutes for dramatic effect film. There is a reveal as to what happens to refugees that does add a touch of flavor, but for the most part, The Rezort loses the momentum sustained in the opening sequences.
To be fair, The Rezort is still an above average zombie film. There wasn't one particular kill that stood out from the rest. But there are enough kills to keep the audience engaged. And we would be remiss if we did not comment on the production values which exceeded all expectations.
But we can't leave Zafari without thinking of what could have been. If the film spend more time on the exploration of the park and not so much on a forced story about amokness (yes, I made that word up) then I think we could have encountered one of the most brilliantly conceived zombie films of the past 25 years. As the film ends up a bit of a cliff-hanger, let's hope they get a second chance.
Great Thrill Ride
No genre has suffered from volume overload as the zombie genre. Zombie television shows, zombie movies both theatrical and straight to video, city zombie walks .zombies are everywhere. Because of the glut of flesh eating walking dead, no genre has suffered so much with overkill. Zombies themselves are not particularly interesting beasts. They don't have any character. They just run (or slow walk) bite and run (or slow walk) again. You won't find many reviews on the thousands of zombie films that will go into detail about the complex layers of the zombie's inner mind.
With what seems like an endless parade of zombie films each week being offered across various platforms it's a nice surprise when a film such as Train to Busan offers what feels like a fresh take on an exhausted premise.
Train to Busan is a South Korean zombie film brought to us from writer/director Sang-ho Yeon. The idea is commonplace a zombie apocalypse is underway but the setting adds to the drama. The movie takes place almost exclusively on a train where the passengers are stuck in in a speeding bullet. And when an infected individual boards the train, the group's only safety will be in the various train cars free of the blood hungry hordes.
The group of characters that face life and death to zombie situations are an eclectic band of heroes and villains including a father and daughter team, a pregnant woman and her husband, a young teenage baseball team and various train attendants. Their survival is hanging on the notion that if the train full of zombies can reach the Busan station where the military is lying in wait.
Although there are plenty of been there/seen that moments in Train to Busan, the film still offers a fresh feel largely due to the claustrophobic setting. There are some fresh ideas such as what happens to the zombies when the train enters into a tunnel and these ideas coupled with zombies that run like Olympic qualifiers and above average special effects lead to a heart pounding rollicking good time.
One could not fully review Train to Busan without discussing the ending. Starting with an unexpected train crash the final few reels are filled with one surprise after another. And the ending is almost heart-wrenching in its execution.
Train to Busan is a thrill ride. A thrill ride that was a rousing crowd pleaser when it screened at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival. But it is more than just a genre festival favorite. It is one of best zombie films every produced and might just be one of the best movies of any genre in 2016.
There are many things to love about the Toronto After Dark Film Festival. The films, the crowds, the electricity in the air. But one thing that I look forward to more than most are the Canadian short films that are shown before each feature.
The appeal to me about the shorts is that you generally have no information about the shorts prior to their illumination on the screen. There are no online trailers months in advance, no big red carpet ceremonies to roll them out. We can simply sit back in our theatre chair and await the creativity juices to flow from the projector lens.
Up first at this year's Festival is Kookie, a short that is worthy of our attention. Written, directed and conceived in just a few weeks by Justin Harding, Kookie stars Ava Jamieson as Bree, a 9-year-old child with a penchant for eating cookies from the cookie jar then lying about her involvement.
But Bree's attraction to the cookie jar is put to the test when her mother replaces the usual cutesy bear ceramic with a terrifying clown face jar. Bree must then approach a devilishly evil looking jar if she is to keep her insatiable urge for the sweets in order.
What transpires over the full 13-minutes of the short we will leave to your viewing pleasure but we will report that if you have a fear of clowns something that is ever present in today's news headlines then Kookie might be the short of nightmares.
There is so much to enjoy in Hastings vision. The cookie jar itself is as downright frightening as any live killer we've seen a horror film this year. But it was the camera work in this short effort that really got our attention. The lighting, framing and focus points were all the work of a master. We are not accustomed to such professional looking imagery on the screen when a filmmaker utilizes a budget likely less than the average person's credit card limit.
All this makes Kookie one of our favorite shorts to even show at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival. And that is high praise.
War on Everyone (2016)
Before we even get to our review of War on Everyone, we urge those who have yet to see writer/director John Michael McDonagh's previous works Calvary, The Guard to take the time to seek, relish and savor two of the best hidden gems of films that have sneaked in and out of our playlists for the past few years.
McDonagh's latest, War on Everyone, is a cop/buddy comedy that pairs actors Alexander Skarsgård (True Blood) and Michael Peña (End of Watch, The Martian) in a story about two corrupt officers who eventually meet their evil match in present day New Mexico.
Terry (Skarsgård) and Bobby (Peña) seem to have come from the Alonzo Harris School of Policing. That is if Alonzo Harris worked for Police Squad! Terry and Bobby run rampant through the city they are sworn to protect with reckless abandon. They drink and drive, do drugs, threaten criminals and generally just break all the rules in the police handbook between reprimands from their commanding officer played by Paul Rieser (Aliens).
Terry is the heavy drinking womanizer that has the intellect of a Joey Barone. Bobby is the (supposed) smart one who has a family consisting of a wife and two boys that he throws verbal barbs at like he was auditioning for Bad Santa 2. But while on the job, the two are more alike than different in that their goal is to survive each day with civilian disregard.
So the two sniff, drink, shoot, smash, punch, kick and speed through daily challenges all of which seem stitched together without any true cohesive narrative. Whereas this year's The Nice Guys had a dense story coupling two unlikely characters in a plot that develops and builds on each new character introduction, War on Everyone instead treats each new scene and character like a disposable Saturday Night Live skit. Even the two leads don't look like they are having much fun as they plod through the shallow script pages. Only Malcolm Barrett, who plays informant Reggie, shines with scenes that have any appreciative value.
The film ends up being a convoluted mess. John Michael McDonagh can write. His previous efforts confirm that statement. And War on Everyone should have been something that would fit his style. We had hoped to see how a foreigner would write a movie about American violence and policing. Instead, we got War on Everyone, a movie that is so awkward and contains so many scenes that seem so distant from the one just before that it takes McDonagh down a long snake in the Snakes and Ladders Hollywood game.
Remarkable Story Unremarkably Told
The story of Christine Chubbuck is as fascinating as it is tragic. A contributing news reporter for WTOG and WXLT-TV in Florida in the 1970's, Chubbuck was a tormented soul who was the only person ever to commit suicide on live television when she put a gun to her head and pulled the trigger. Rumored to the inspiration for Peter Finch's suicide in Sidney Lumet's Network, Chubbuck's suicide sent ripples through the industry and the footage of the event has either been lost, destroyed or sealed in a safety deposit box depending on the urban legend you are prone to believe.
Director Antonio Campos (Simon Killer, After School) takes on the task of telling Christine's story to audiences unfamiliar with the tragedy. Actress Rebecca Hall (Iron Man 3) throws herself into the title role. Allowing her to stretch her acting chops beyond smaller roles in The Town and Frost/Nixon, Hall is generally convincing as an adult who has inner demons always working against her better interests in her head.
The story picks up the last year of Christine's life. Christine is a news reporter who strives for better television. She marvels in human interest stories and fantasizes about interviewing President Nixon. Christine is in constant conflict with those around her. Whether it's her live-in mother and new boyfriend to whom Christine disapproves, her station manager who believes in the 'if it bleeds, it leads' mentality, or with her own better judgment, Christine seems to be fighting small battles every day of her life.
Christine is thrown a lifeline by news anchor George Peter Ryan (played by Dexter's Michael C. Hall). Ryan believes in Christine's efforts even if her methods might be disapproving. A recovering addict himself, Ryan might be Christine's best ally in his understanding of her challenges. Christine has an underdeveloped crush on the young anchor and is enamored when he eventually asks her out for a date.
Further conflict comes into play when the owner of the station announces his intention to open a sister station in Baltimore and is looking to leverage some of the talent from Florida. This puts the station staff in mini-competition with each other in hopes of catching the owner's eye. But when George Ryan and the female sportscaster are picked for the new station, Christine loses her last thread of hope for acceptance which leads her to request a lead in the next broadcast. The broadcast will be her last.
The final moments of Christine Chubbuck's life stays true to the facts of the evening. After a filmed reel segment jams and cannot be shown, Chubbuck looks into the camera and says "In keeping with Channel 40's policy of bringing you the latest in 'blood and guts', and in living color, you are going to see another firstattempted suicide." She then took the revolver from her purse and shot herself in the head. She later died in hospital.
Unfortunately, the story is more fascinating than the events that play out in Christine. It's difficult to show inner demons and although Rebecca Hall's dark eyes portray a woman in conflict, the progression from a balanced individual to someone who would commit suicide on live television is not pitched in a way that audiences can follow the downward spiral. Although Christine is portrayed as unstable the breaking point is not presented in plausible fashion.
Rebecca Hall alone is reason to watch Christine and she is in every scene carrying the movie to its inevitable conclusion. But an underwhelming script by writer Craig Shilowich does little but have audiences hope for something anything to happen to keep us interested in the character development on screen.
Christine is one of two films about Christine Chubbuck that premiered this year at the Sundance Film Festival the other being the Kate Plays Christine which has actress Kate Lyn Sheil preparing to portray the role of Christine. Let's hope that film gives us more insight into what is still an unbelievable story yet to be properly told.
Safe Non-Offensive Look at the 36th President
Few things are as comfortable as a Rob Reiner film. The director who is still commonly referred to lovingly as Meathead by fans of the iconic All in the Family television series has been directing films since the early 80's and his films are consistently entertaining inoffensive fair marketed to mass audiences. The Princess Bride, A Few Good Men, The American President and The Bucket List are just a sampling of the director's filmography that audiences will be familiar.
Those that watch Rob Reiner on the talk show circuit would know that the outside of being an actor and director, he is very political activist who uses his celebrity status to bring attention to equal rights and to social issues such as violence and tobacco use.
So it is a bit of surprise that Rob Reiner has never made a film that might leverage his strong activist lifestyle. Until now, that is.
LBJ is Rob Reiner's film about the 36th President of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, who was thrust from the Vice-President's chair to the Oval Office desk after the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy on that fateful November day in 1963.
Woody Harrelson plays LBJ and the film takes us backwards and forwards in time from LBJ's unsuccessful run for the Democratic Party nomination through JFK's assassination and ultimately through the President's fight for an Equal Rights Bill.
The heart of the film comes from LBJ's battle within his own party. Robert Kennedy (Michael Stahl-David) is hardly a fan of the foul-mouthed Texan who was hand-picked by brother John for the Vice-President position. The two will battle wills and disagree on almost all political talking points throughout their tenures. Also providing resistance to LBJ's forward thinking is Senator Richard Russell (Richard Jenkins) from the state of Georgia. Russell is portrayed as a racist that does not believe that individuals of color deserve the same rights and freedoms as all other Americans. LBJ does his best to try and win the trust of Russell and LBJ walks the thin line of keeping Russell in the fold before he abandons his friendship with the Senator in his attempt to fulfill the inroads JFK had made in his equal rights efforts prior to his assassination.
Harrelson is barely recognizable as the title character. The make-up is thick to ensure he resembles the former President. At times, the make-up is brilliant. The big ears and receding hairline of LBJ is captured expertly. But at other times particularly in close-ups the make-up looks like Harrelson was an extra in Warren Beatty's Dick Tracy film.
LBJ is obviously the focus, but there is ample time given to JFK. And the assassination in Texas is captured with valuable attention to detail. The assassination is a key point in the life of LBJ and Rob Reiner takes the time to film it correctly (it was filmed in Texas exactly where the shooting took place). Jeffrey Donovan (televisions Burn Notice) plays Kennedy and brings subtle touch to the role not attempting to overdo the Boston drawl.
As with all other Reiner films, LBJ plays it safe. Audiences may learn a few things about the complicated man along the way. His foul mouth, how he would have meetings while sitting on the toilet, and his insecurity always believing that he was not loved by either his inner circle or his country (he did win re-election by the widest margin in American history). To my embarrassment, I didn't know that LBJ was in a procession car with JFK the day he was killed. But LBJ is no Lincoln. Where the Spielberg film was brilliantly written and a character study of both a political family and the process to which they battled, LBJ skims the surface like a rock skipping along calmer waters. Gritty, LBJ is not.
But safe entertainment can still be good entertainment and Reiner is surely a master at that craft. There is plenty of humor in the film to keep the characters interesting and keeping the story non-linear works to valued effect. LBJ will not be considered Rob Reiner's best work, but it is exactly what you can come to expect from the director. And slipping into a comfortable shoe can be so so comfortable.