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Screener Squad: Master Gardener

Master Gardener Movie Review


Joel Edgerton plays Narvel Roth, the titular gardener of this new Paul Schrader directed film. He tends to the palatial estate of wealthy widow Mrs. Haverhill (Sigourney Weaver). But his very structured life is upended when she orders him to take her great-niece Maya (Quintessa Swindell) on as an apprentice. Narvel is a tightly closed book for good reason; his background is one of violence and disturbing behavior and when he finds himself wanting to open that book to protect Maya, things get complicated. This is another character driven piece from Schrader about one of his “God’s Lonely Men” as he puts it, that delivers in that regard, but leaves one wanting more on the plot side. Don’t get us wrong, Master Gardener is a good movie. The look, set decoration, casting, acting, etc… all of it is there. It’s just these fleshed out characters don’t have any motivation to move forward, the plot just does it for them. It’s not lazy or anything, it just feels empty at some parts, especially when you get to the 3rd act. That all being said, Master Gardener has great performances from Joel Edgerton, Sigourney Weaver, and Quintessa Swindell. They all shine and define the story. Need more convincing? Why don’t you sit back and kick it in the garden today with Jordan, Lewayne, Frank, and Chad. We’re more than gracious hosts.


DIRECTED BY: Paul Schrader

STARRING: Joel Edgerton, Sigourney Weaver, Quintessa Swindell, Eduardo Losan, Erika Ashley, Rick Cosnett, Victoria Hill, Amy Le, Esai Morales




Chad Halvorsen (Screener Squad)

Chad Halvorsen currently resides in Milwaukee, WI, where he produces and edits commercials, films, and everything in between. He was always a fan of film/television growing up, spending days in the Summer, making (terrible) home movies with his brothers. Little did he know that passion would carry on into adulthood. Since 2006, Chad has worked for several agencies in various departments. Shooting, producing, editing, production management, directing, and when forced to, writing copy. In 2015, Chad decided to take the big leap and become a freelancer. Since then, he’s produced content for Lyft, AT&T, Target, and Discovery Network. His passion lies in entertaining people, making them feel better, even for a moment. All the pain and suffering of this business is worth it, if even just one person views his work. Chad is a frequent podcaster, most notably posing as a co-host for the podcast “The Film Illogical Society.”



Jordan Cobb (Screener Squad)

Born with a comic book in one hand, a camera in the other, and in front of the television as WrestleMania played out, Jordan Worth Cobb was thus birthed into this crazy world. A Digital Filmmaking major from the University of Central Arkansas, Jordan has done it all in film from directing, writing, editing, and producing in addition to skills involved in film and TV criticism, journalism, and years of podcasting experience. On any given day, her ADHD riddled brain bounces focus from film to pro wrestling to TV to superheroes to noir to video games to espionage and yes, even to sports. She played little league you know. For more of this eccentric nerd, you can follow her on Twitter here and read her original writings on Deepest Corners of My Notebook.



Lewayne White (Screener Squad)

Lewayne’s earliest memories are of watching movies and reading comics, which instilled in him a sense of wonder, a vivid imagination, and unrealistic expectations. It also means he spends a lot of time watching movies, writing scripts for them, and trying to get them made. He lives in the middle of middle America after landing there as a child, and has remained there mainly because he hates packing.




Frank Calvillo (Highly Suspect Reviews, Screener Squad)

Born and raised in South Texas, Frank currently lives in Austin and has been in love with movies ever since his father showed him some Three Stooges shorts when he was five years old. Today he loves all kinds of film, regardless of era, country, budget or genre. He believes every film has an audience and is at least one person’s favorite movie. After writing for Sight & Sound and Slackerwood, he now writes for Cinapse where his increasingly random taste in all flavors of cinema (from Rashomon to Mars Attacks!) continues to thrive. His ultimate goal is to write a script for his boyhood crush, Michelle Pfeiffer.



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