All posts by Tarek Fayoumi amateur film critic in Chicago!

I am someone who strives to become a professional critic. I watch and review many movies. I view the eyes of movies as something as an art form. I have followed many critics over the years, but once I was thirteen I knew writing film reviews was going to be my passion. I learned from watching multiple episodes of Ebert And Roeper in my teen years, and then in middle school I began writing film reviews for a newspaper club. I am also an avid fan of the arts of Chicago including Theatre, Comedy, and music. Films, however, are my primary focus.

Ride Along Review



Ride Along appears to seem like a film that may look as if it is a typical cop-comedy film.  It kind of is one of those films. What is entertaining about it the most is the dialogue and humor between Kevin Hart and Ice Cube. However, for Kevin Hart fans who are fans of his comedy and fans of other cop comedies like White Chicks21 Jump Street, and many others, than this film may be worth your time. Just do not assume it will be considered best comedy of the year or anything like that.

Ride Along focuses on a man named Ben (Hart) who is an avid online gamer of video games, a man who is obsessed with his girlfriend, and of course a man of high hopes to get into the police academy to become a police officer. He has two goals at once: to marry his girlfriend Angela and to become a hardcore police officer. Only conflict though, his colleague James (Cube) is Angela’s brother and is also his colleague in the police force. He has much more experience in the field of being a police officer than Ben does.

With James being a ruthless and self-centered jerk, he has low expectations of Ben and is really against him marrying his sister. However, he is also aware that Ben is so obsessed with being an officer and wants to impress Angela. Therefore, James makes a deal with Ben. In order for Ben to marry his sister, he must join him on a “ride along” to prove he is worthy enough to be in the academy and has got the guts to marry his sister. Which honestly, in no doubt will not be as smooth.

I was laughing during the movie. I am a person that when something is funny I will just start laughing and cannot help it. With Ride Along I was honestly surprised that I was laughing that much. Since before the movie I was thinking to myself that it was going to be boring or one of those films that is over-advertised and not actually a classic like it seemed to be advertised. 

The film is funny, but as it progresses, it just relies on the violence and the dialogue to find the funny. It had a plot structure but honestly was not really focusing on the plot to captivate its audience. It relied too much of the Kevin James dialogue and the quirky car chases, and quirky violence to find its funny.

Ride Along is a decent comedy. However, it is one I was impressed with for a few portions of it, but still think it could have been improved a ton. If you are looking for a comedy this may be worth a shot but it is also one I would just wait for DVD honestly. Two Stars.


Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit Review



Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit may have been advertised as an action-packed spy movie, but to be honest it is a film that is fairly boring to be considered a thriller. I have seen many advertisements for months about this movie and I was excited after seeing the disaster Tom Cruise movie Jack Reacher. I felt Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit  would have made up for that film since it was advertised to be in IMAX. It is a film that should be reconsidered before spending so much money to see it in IMAX. Since it may not be appealing to some viewers.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit follows the story of the character named Jack Ryan (played by Chris Pine). He is a young covert CIA analyst. During his work days, he keeps the fact that he works for the CIA a secret from his wife Cathy Muller (played by Keira Knightley). Jack tries all he can to keep secrets from his wife, but the more suspicious he is, the more she worries and wants to investigate his life (that she is not aware of) by herself.

Jack is bought into a serious situation though. Thomas Harper (played by Kevin Costner) is another man who works for the CIA and together they realize the Russians have a plot to do a terrorism attack on the U.S. economy. Now Jack must resolve this global issue and try to figure out with himself if he should or should not tell his wife the truth that he works for the CIA.

This film made me confused. I enjoy spy movies that range from the James Bond series, The Millennium trilogy, and other great ones as well. I asked myself though, what is the main focus? His wife? Or the terrorism attack? Jack Ryan was just going back and forth between those two elements and I was losing attention. The sound quality of IMAX did not help to make it feel like an epic, movie-watching experience.

This film is honestly a hit or miss. I would rather just watch a James Bond film or even something that is boring but involves my full-on attention. The action was entertaining but only like two or three times. Two stars.

12 Years A Slave Review By Tarek Fayoumi


Nothing can be more powerful yet engrossing than a Steve McQueen film about slavery. 12 Years A Slave is a powerful film that will make viewers cry. Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Fassbender, Paul Dano, and Brad Pitt are spectacular in this adaptation of the true story of Solomon Northup. There have been several occasions where films centered on slavery have seemed intense. 12 Years A Slave however, is one of the most haunting and breathtaking dramas that I have seen in a long time.

It tells the story of Solomon Northup (played by Ejiofor) who is a free black man from the part of Upstate New York. He is a loving husband and father to his children. However, all of a sudden he is tricked by some dealers and traded back into slavery. He tries to keep his head up on hopes of getting out, but with everyone around him who feels it is too late to escape, he struggles to find his way home.

Solomon deals with the tasks he is given by his slave owners. Mostly working on plantations and doing harvesting and building on the owner’s land. However, he is told by other slaves that if he wants to survive, the best strategy to go buy is to do less of what is told by his owners to do. In that starts to happen with the ruthless commander Tibeats (Dano). He provokes all of the slaves and everyone ignores it except for Solomon. Solomon goes crazy being a smart mouth to try and state to Tibeats that he is a free man. That on the other hand becomes a more complicated journey for Solomon to get home.

12 Years A Slave is a movie that I walked out mortified by. I have the guts for films that are gruesome or disturbing to most people. I was not mortified by just how gruesome this film was, I was mortified by Ejiofor’s talent to play a ruthless slave. The anger and despair that Ejiofor portrays defines how life can be as a slave. Especially when there is a man who was free but just fell back into it again. The films violence, thematic material, and the despairing moments makes you want to research the biography of Solomon Northup.

This is the third film directed by Steve McQueen. McQueens films have always had the sense to get many emotional reactions from its audience. He hired Hans Zimmer for the music. From a man who’s music is generally quite captivating to me, Zimmer made music that brings audience to feeling like they are a part of the dramatic experience. 12 Years A Slave is a film that really is sad throughout the whole movie, but once it is seen, you will be amazed.

The cinematography in 12 Years A Slave is done with tons of lighting. McQueen hires the cinematographer Sean Bobbitt, who had hired to do for his first two films Shame and Hunger. Bobbitt creates an entirely colorful picture in the highest resolution we have with filming technology we have today. It takes audience into a journey feeling like were actually part of the time period when the events in the film actually happened. Ejiofor is at his best with this picture. His hopes, his goals, his despairs, and his style attitude fits the role he was given in this film. Up front it may seem like he is a man who lost all hope, but his goal is to get back home to his family and prove his freedom.

Can Solomon escape? Best for you to see it and find out. McQueen is generally good with sad or expected endings. However, when Solomon keeps track of how long it has been since he was taken, the film becomes more powerful every key moment. McQueen’s films are triumphant. I am now hoping that he is in the process of another masterpiece. Three and a half Stars.