• Top 100 Films of the Decade: 2010-2019

    If you asked me in 2010 which studios’ films would be amongst my favorites over the next ten years, I probably would have answered two correctly: Fox Searchlight (11) and Sony Pictures Classics (7). Those are two independent shingles of big Hollywood names that have been pumping out quality pictures for decades. Next up would […]

  • Online Film Critics Society Ballot 2019

    Below is my December 26th ballot for the 23rd annual Online Film Critics Society Awards honoring movies released domestically in the United States during the 2019 calendar year. Group winners were announced on January 6th, 2020 and are highlighted in red. Best Picture #1Parasite #2Portrait of aLady on Fire #3Marriage Story #4Knives Out #5Us #6Uncut […]

  • REVIEW: Portrait de la jeune fille en feu [Portrait of a Lady on Fire] [2019]

    “Don’t regret. Remember.” An eighteenth century Italian countess (Valeria Golino) still residing at the French estate of her late husband has decided she’d like to return home. The best way to accomplish this is marrying off one of her daughters to an affluent Milanese suitor since doing so would secure both their futures while also […]

  • REVIEW: A Hidden Life [2019]

    “We lived above the clouds” With notoriously long post-production periods due to his uniquely poetic editing style, Terrence Malick‘s three-hour WWII romance A Hidden Life may have actually benefited from its three-year delay as far as thematic relevance to current events is concerned. As a rising tide of fascistic totalitarianism takes hold of world governments […]

  • REVIEW: Marriage Story [2019]

    “The pie was just a pie” It’s crazy how love changes the way we see things. Ambition can look like genius when we’re there as a supportive cheerleader and narcissism when we begin to recognize our sacrifices in seeing it get fulfilled. Success can be construed as a mutually beneficial byproduct of a union when […]

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film reviews

REVIEW: Color Out of Space [2020]

“A dreamy dream together is reality” **Potential spoilers** Arkham’s citizens colloquially describe the Gardner family’s farm as “blasted heath” at the start of H.P. Lovecraft‘s short story The Colour Out of Space. Their reasoning stems from the deathly gray dust covering the area as though a fire had wiped everything but a stone well away. […]

REVIEW: The Last Full Measure [2020]

“Justice delayed is justice denied” While Todd Robinson‘s The Last Full Measure does center upon the cost of war, it’s neither a pro-war or anti-war film. He instead allows the idea of battle to exist as an imperative within Airman William H. Pitsenbarger, Jr.’s story. Not only did this young man enlist to go to […]

REVIEW: Bad Boys for Life [2020]

“Ask the horse” The synopsis started with “two hip detectives” back in 1995 after Bad Boys switched gears from being a Jon Lovitz and Dana Carvey vehicle to the Michael Bay action extravaganza we know it as starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. It took eight years for “hip” to turn to “loose-cannon narcotics cops” […]

REVIEW: Fantastic Fungi [2019]

“We brought life to Earth” Scientific study has recently shown that trees “talk” to each other. Suzanne Simard explains the process during the course of Louie Schwartzberg‘s documentary Fantastic Fungi as being the result of communication via mushroom. Much like the neural pathways in our brains, fungi in the ground (mycelium) create a network upon […]

REVIEW: The Wave [2020]

“Reality’s a choice, maaaan” The first thing you need to know when entering director Gille Klabin and writer Carl W. Lucas‘ The Wave is that it takes a lot of liberties. The second thing is that doing so doesn’t have to be a problem. So much of what happens on-screen is born from convenience and […]

REVIEW: Synonymes [Synonyms] [2019]

“Do not look up” Israel has no future in Yaov’s (Tom Mercier) mind. It’s dead and he refuses to die with it even if he just risked dying for it to earn a silver star in the military. Why? Because his country won’t admit its failures or mistakes. They are victors. That’s it. They are […]

REVIEW: Three Christs [2020]

“I can attest” Two decades after publishing his study The Three Christs of Ypsilanti, Milton Rokeach came to the realization that his methods were both manipulative and unethical. He included an afterword in a re-release of the book to that effect—something surely helped by the supposed fact his research assistants questioned his morality while it […]

REVIEW: Greener Grass [2019]

“We’re supposed to tell people” Two of the most recognizable inhabitants of any plastic suburban nightmare you’ll come across are the “people-pleasers” and the “coveters.” The former will do whatever is necessary to ensure everyone is happy because they want to be appreciated as the type of person that can help make such happiness occur. […]

REVIEW: The Last Black Man in San Francisco [2019]

“You don’t get to hate it unless you love it” One of the casualties of gentrification in San Francisco over the past half century was the Victorian home that Jimmie Fails’ (Jimmie Fails) grandfather built in the Fillmore District circa 1946. He feels its effect every single day too—enough that he and best friend Montgomery […]

REVIEW: Jumanji: The Next Level [2019]

“Wherever they may be” The first cinematic adaptation of Chris Van Allsburg‘s Jumanji brought the board game’s wild jungle environment to its players’ quiet suburbia for a crazy survival adventure. Jake Kasdan and company could have easily done the exact same thing again with their reboot/sequel hybrid Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle due to over […]

REVIEW: American Factory [2019]

“The future is bright” Directors Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert were in Moraine, Ohio (a Dayton suburb) when the local General Motors plant closed to film a short documentary for HBO Films entitled The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant. By interviewing ex-employees to learn how the factory impacted their lives on a personal […]

REVIEW: Love, Antosha [2019]

“I never eat the boogers” In an attempt to comfort after the death of their son, Viktor Yelchin suggested to his wife Irina Korina that they should just pretend he’s off on a very long movie shoot. That’s what Anton Yelchin often did anyway with sixty-plus film and television credits to his name by the […]

REVIEW: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker [2019]

“Some things are stronger than blood” The return of Star Wars was always going to include a third trilogy because George Lucas had talked about his Skywalker saga being nine films way back in the 1980s. And since he eventually got chapters one through three on the big screen himself, it was guaranteed that Disney’s […]

REVIEW: The Song of Names [2019]

“Going home to play a song for the ashes” It’s been thirty-five years since Dovidl (Jonah Hauer-King) disappeared in 1951. He was a violinist—a genius virtuoso depending on whom you asked (himself included)—primed to make his London debut in a sold out house courtesy of the man that served as his guardian the previous decade-plus […]

REVIEW: Bombshell [2019]

“Praise all tangled up in an insult” The downfall of Roger Ailes is a captivating tale because it shows what can be done without glossing over the difficulty of achieving it. The women at Fox News who came forward to put his decades-long pattern of sexual harassment into the public forum had to weigh the […]