Matthew Heimiller

Cried when Chewbacca died. Student. Journalist.

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Movie Review: Rosewater

Originally written for the UWM Post here:

Jon Stewart’s Rosewater is the world’s most optimistic torture story ever told. In his first outing as writer and director, Stewart crafts an oddly good humored retelling of Iranian-Canadian Newsweek journalist Maziar Bahari’s capture. Bahari’s journey to Iran to cover the elections turns from a short assignment to a prolonged stay in solitary confinement. Bahari’s interview with a Daily Show correspondent and his friendliness towards dissenting political voices provides the excuse for his eventual detainment. Stewart goes out of his way to show the Iranian honesty in the paranoia; creating victims of the fearful.

Gael García Bernal as Bahari is center stage throughout the whole film. The optimistic journalist turned distraught prisoner is a tough enough character to play. Stewart adds to Bernal’s...

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Review: Nightcrawler, a gorgeous and disturbing rollercoaster

Originally written for the UWM Post here:

What would you do to get a leg up on someone? “Nightcrawler” is obsessed with those transactions. Social levers and power struggle mark this back alley thriller that has a dark sense of humor.

Louis Bloom looks like he has had a rough go of it. Malnourished and bug-eyed, Jake Gyllenhaal looks like he lost a chunk of weight to portray the wormy, determined main character of Nightcrawler. Like his main character, the film’s director Dan Gilroy is hungry. Gilroy proves himself, not content with mere competency in his first outing in the director’s chair, Gilroy kills it.

This film looks great and the understated transition from film during the day to digital at night lends each time period a distinct feel. While geographically the same, this choice creates a...

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Movie Review: St. Vincent

Originally written for the UWM Post here:

St Vincent is not for me.

Chris O’Dowd is good in his supporting bit as a surprisingly pluralistic and good natured priest. Melissa McCarthy nails her role as a single mom who is making ends meet to see her son at a good private school. It’s not Bill Murray, who did everything the script asked him to. This includes the tough job of being a drunkard vet with a thing for “women of the night,” who somehow needs us to see his inner goodness. It’s definitely not Naomi Watts’ bizarre transformation as Daka, the pregnant prostitute stripper that maybe falls in love with Bill Murray’s Vincent. All these performances were better than good, even child actor Jaeden Lieberher is charmingly watchable.

If any of these performances seem like something you want to see, this film provides you...

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Review: John Wick Will Blow Your Brains Out

Originally written for the UWM Post here:

With 152 stunt credits and no directing experience, David Leitch and Chad Stahelski seem like unlikely candidates to direct “John Wick.” The film is pretty forward, confident and intentional; the two men have put together the most polished action film of the fall. With a light fantasy element and a sharp and deliberate aesthetic, there’s a lot to love about John Wick.

In contrast to 2008’s assassin film “Wanted,” with its bizarre inclusion of an old timey supernatural loom, fantasy in John Wick is a societal fantasy. It feels like the assassins are almost unionized. The fantastical social fabric of unspoken codes, assassin “shop talk,” and even a special assassin currency adds some sinew to the bare bones story.

Keanu Reeves plays title character John Wick with a dialed back...

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Originally written for the UWM Post as a “Throwback Thursday” article about an influential or beloved film here:

High School literature teachers have always been in the unique position of introducing an annual batch of “almost-adults” to great works of classic fiction, exposing them to the wonderful and terrible worlds of Dumas’ “The Count of Monte Cristo” and Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby.” As first time art appreciators, these texts open the mind’s eye to intellectual wonder. In the same way, 2004’s “Primer” opened my eyes to the beauty of film.

Let me take you back. The year is 2006, Myspace is still dominant and on a lark I type “best time travel movie ever” into a blocky Yahoo! search bar.

“Primer” popped up, and is in no uncertain terms the “best time travel movie ever.” With a low-key aesthetic that sets your expectations low and...

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Movie Review: The Guest

Originally written for the UWM Post here:

Throwback. Throwback. Throwback. “The Guest” is an old school thriller.

The film brings to mind a time when movie stars didn’t wear tights and capes, only the cold hard inhuman abs of an American hero. Armed with the arsenal of a small South American country, they could break necks and hearts for the red, white and blue. I’m talking about the classic 80s hero. The Guest channels these influences into a fun, modernly unsettling good time.

The 80s vibe presented in the film lends itself easily to a terminator comparison, with a budget just stringent enough to ensure a concentrated experience. There is even a Halloween themed school gymnasium finale, with moody “school dance lighting.” A hallmark of 80s films, real liquid prop blood, makes many appearances.

The film stars Dan Stevens as David, who is...

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Movie Review: The Judge

Originally written for the UWM Post here:

We watch Robert Downey Jr. watch old family movies, and then Bon Iver plays. We watch Robert Downey Jr. look at an empty spinning chair, and then Bon Iver plays. This movie dares you to feel.

A more cynical man would call this movie failed Oscar bait.

The film contains legacy, family, the Midwest, lawyers, guilt, punishment, comic relief that does not really work, and tearful, poorly lit basement brooding sessions. Along with a small almost incestual subplot and an ambiguously handicapped character that adds little to nothing.

All this in the Robert Downey Jr. produced passion project, The Judge.

All the pieces of this film never quite line up. Some things just feel off, especially when it comes to the look of the film.

A drive through a cornfield in an early scene has a rough CG quality. Later...

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Robot and Frank blurb

Originally posted as a “Netflix Pick” word blurb written for the UWM Post here:

Robot & Frank

This film features an aging retired jewel thief. His kids have their own problems and as a gesture, give him a robot caretaker. Frank Langella is fantastic as Frank, an elderly subject who has an initial distaste for his new lurking automaton. That changes though when he decides to get back in the game. The robot, understanding that crime is a cognitive stimulate, plays along.

One of the great things about the movie “Her” was that it introduced many people to pedestrian science fiction. Science fiction is not just space ships, explosions, and rubber masks. “Robot & Frank” ​is a story set in a world much like ours. Today many people read on tablets, phones, and other devices. Robots assist doctors in hospitals and no one...

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This review of 2014’s The Drop was originally published September 27th, 2014 at

The Drop is what everyone wants from small scale crime drama; gripping in a no nonsense conventional storytelling type of way. Information is communicated through cause and effect, the characters act and react to one another, and the audience slowly learns what’s going on. The Drop never lets go.

“The Drop” refers to the bar at the center of this whole affair. Historically, a drop bar is a dedicated location where mobsters collect all their money at the end of one night. There are many drop bars in the organization meaning there is no guarantee that any particular location is the Drop for the night.

As human nature can attest, all that money in one place is tempting. The dramatic wheels start turning after a robbery of a drop bar. Since the...

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“VVVVVV” the best one hour game you’ll pay 5 bucks for this week

You can find “VVVVVV” on Steam here:

Maybe you have been to or another free web game portal. There are two main problems that an average consumer has with these web based games and their host sites.

One, everything lacks polish. With literally thousands of games available for free, quality gets pretty diluted. Not everyone has the backing to make a “Dikembe Mutombo Saves the World” (

Two, there is no satisfying power of purchase! Without the good feeling that exchanging tangible goods for an intangible experience provides how are we supposed signify to ourselves and to the world that we have committed to a game?

Both of these problems are solved with “VVVVVV” a game that has a simple hook, limited run-time, and modest cost.

In “VVVVVV” you...

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