Saturday, December 3, 2016


Tracey Birdsall is a beautiful, talented and award-winning American film and television actress recognized worldwide for her diverse and challenging roles.  Tracey recently earned the esteemed recognition of the 2016 Female Action Performer of the Year Award at the highly regarded Action on Film Festival for her role of Sienna in the recently premiered Rogue Warrior: Robot Fighter
Merc With a Movie Blog recently caught up with Tracey Birdsall to get her thoughts on working on Rogue Warrior: Robot Fighter and playing the award-winning role of Sienna.

25 Days of Christmas: THE POLAR EXPRESS

Welcome to Day 3 of our 25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS series, where we will be taking a look at holiday classics each day in the lead up to Christmas. Today, I'll be reviewing the 2004 animated Robert Zemeckis film, THE POLAR EXPRESS starring Tom Hanks as...well, mostly everyone.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Movie Review: JACKIE

Jackie is a portrait of Jaqueline Kennedy in the period immediately after the assassination of her husband, President John F. Kennedy. The film is directed by Pablo Larraín and stars Natalie Portman in the titular role. The film also stars Peter Sarsgaard, Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup, and John Hurt. I will confess, at the outset, that I’m not terribly well versed the real history of this period and I can’t speak to Jackie’s accuracy. That said, this is a beautiful and touching film that is absolutely one of the best singular performances I’ve seen in a while.

25 Days of Christmas: MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET (1947)

Welcome to Day 2 of our 25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS series where we will be taking a look at some holiday classics each day in the lead up to Christmas. Today, I'll be reviewing the 1947 Christmas classic…MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET, starring Natalie Wood, Maureen O'Hara, John Payne, and Edmund Gwenn as Kris Kringle. This film explores the age old question, "Does Santa really exist?" The answer is a resounding yes.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

What's On Netflix?: JANE GOT A GUN

It is often customary to start a review off with a plot summary. However, when discussing this film, plot isn’t the first thing a viewer should know.

In 2011, a little screenplay called Jane Got A Gun by Brian Duffield appeared on The Blacklist, a yearly rundown of all the unseen, unmade, highly-desirable scripts in Hollywood. Natalie Portman was quickly attached to the product, accompanied by Lynne Ramsay, a polarizing but respected director. Michael Fassbender and Joel Edgerton joined the cast. Everything seemed to be going well for a time. Then Fassbender left, pointing to creative differences between himself and Ramsay. Thus began a relentless reshuffling of actors, directors, cinematographers, and writers as names like Jude Law and Bradley Cooper disappeared from top-billing as quickly as they appeared. The dust finally settled with Gavin O’Connor, hot off his successful film, Warrior, as director, Edgerton as co-writer and co-lead alongside Portman, and Ewan McGregor playing the film’s villain. Filming began in March of 2013. Nearly three years later, in January of 2016, the world finally saw Jane Got A Gun. Less than a year later, one of the most highly-praised scripts in existence ended up on the bottom of my “Suggestions for You” tab on Netflix.


Welcome to another installment of SIDE BY SIDE, where we dissect the differences and similarities between two films, be it a remake/reboot with its original, a sequel with its original, or two similar movies. This week we're looking at two documentaries set in the world of wine: 2012's SOMM and it's 2015 follow-up, SOMM: INTO THE BOTTLE.


Welcome to our 25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS series where we will be taking a look at some holiday classics each day in the lead up to Christmas. Today we begin with a film that is an absolute staple for the holiday season…NATIONAL LAMPOON’S CHRISTMAS VACATION.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Why Haven't I Seen That?: NETWORK

Welcome to a new installment of WHY HAVEN'T I SEEN THAT?, where we talk about a must-see or iconic movie that we have never seen...until now. This week we take a look at the 1976 prophetic Sidney Lumet film... NETWORK.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


Welcome Readers to another DOUBLE TAKE review, where two Merc writers will offer their thoughts on the same film side by side to compare and contrast their perspectives. This time we have Jonathan Youngblood and Ryan McKenna reviewing the massively critically acclaimed film and Oscar hopeful, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA!

Retro Review: JOHNNY BE GOOD (1988)

Hello fellow movie fanatics, Lisa here! I hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving! As you may know, I'm a huge fan of 80's movies, so that's why for this week's installment of RETRO REVIEW, I'll be reviewing the 1988 teen comedy JOHNNY BE GOOD. 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Movie Review: SNOWDEN

Snowden is the retelling of the real life events that went down between 2004 and 2013, from when the famous Edward Snowden (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) was first introduced into the army, following him through all of his various assignments in the secret intelligence to when, in 2013, he met the journalists in Hong Kong to whom he revealed the truth of the American government.


Tanner (Ben Foster) and Toby (Chris Pine) Howard are two brothers, the first an ex-con, the other a recent divorcée, who go on a bank robbing frenzy in the landscape of small town Texas. When ranger Marcus Hamilton (Jeff Bridges) is charged with chasing them down, he and his partner Alberto (Gil Birmingham) find they're having a harder time catching these cons than they expected.

Saturday, November 26, 2016


This is an editorial about an oft discussed matter amongst films lovers and the public at large: the MPAA film ratings system. The MPAA (or the Motion Picture Association of America) is a voluntary trade association with a wing for filmmakers to voluntarily submit their films to receive a rating. The assignment of a rating (and what those ratings are) looks, from afar, like an extremely basic thing, however, when we look under the hood the process and system turn out to be more nefarious and functionless than presumed on the surface. This editorial will dig into the current ratings system and will propose some changes to make it better at achieving its aims.

Movie Review: NOCTURNAL ANIMALS (Review #2)

Nocturnal Animals is the second, and latest, feature by acclaimed couturier turned director Tom Ford. The film tells the story of a woman named Susan Morrow (Amy Adams) as she gets a mysterious manuscript of a novel written by her ex-husband. The narrative of the story switches between Susan reading the novel and the events of the novel which intertwine in interesting ways to create a fulfilling narrative overall. The film stars Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Isla Fisher, Michael Shannon, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Karl Glusman, and Armie Hammer.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Family Movie Night: THE PACIFIER

Welcome to another installment of FAMILY MOVIE NIGHT, where we give our recommendation on a family-friendly movie to enjoy. This week we look at an oddity in Vin Diesel's career, 2005's THE PACIFIER.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving Editorial: 2016 Retrospective

2016 has been a tough year, everyone. Regardless of your political leanings or your social status, a lot has happened this year to make a lot of people very, very depressed. Even within the film community, we’ve been hit with some dismal disappointments (from Independence Day 2 to Insert-Comic-Book-Movie-Here-That-You-Hated).

But, in America, today we are celebrating Thanksgiving -- a time to remember the good and be truly grateful. And, 2016 has given us much to be thankful for as film fans. Here’s my little trip down Memory Lane of, dare I say it, a DAMN good year for cinema-lovers.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

What's On Netflix?: ADULT WORLD

Welcome to another installment of WHAT'S ON NETFLIX?, where we pick out a film or series currently playing on Netflix and review it for the fans.  This week's choice is the indie comedy...ADULT WORLD.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016


Welcome to another installment of RETRO REVIEW where we take a look at films made before the year 2000.  Today we take a look at Stanley Kubrick's 1964 black-comedy classic, DR. STRANGELOVE OR: HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB.  Enjoy!

Movie Review: ALLIED

Allied is the latest film from acclaimed director Robert Zemeckis. The film follows the story of two spies during World War II who meet, fall in love, and get married before some revelation or rumor bubbles to the surface and drives the primary mystery plot forward. The film stars Brad Pitt, Marion Cotillard, Jared Harris, Simon McBurney, and Lizzy Caplan. Overall, this film struck me as a pretty basic storyline that didn’t get me overly invested but was executed extremely well.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Movie Review: BILLY LYNN’S LONG HALFTIME WALK (And High Frame Rate Technology)

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk is the latest film from acclaimed director Ang Lee. This film is an adaptation of the Ben Fountain novel of the same name and is getting a lot of buzz in the film news world for Lee’s choice to shoot the film in 4K digital 3D at a high frame rate (HFR) of 120 frames per second (fps). The film chronicles a group of active service Army soldiers who are being honored at a Thanksgiving Day football halftime show for their valiant efforts caught on camera in the Iraq War. The film stars newcomer Joe Alwyn as Billy Lynn, alongside a cast including Garrett Hedlund, Vin Diesel, Steve Martin, Chris Tucker, and Kristen Stewart. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk is largely a weak and unsuccessful as a film.