REVIEW: This Giant Papier-Mâché Boulder Is Actually Really Heavy [2017]

“Water is life” Sometimes the only way to get a story off the ground is shooting it whether the finances are there or not. And if that project is a science-fiction film—a genre with historical precedent in low budget effects and shoddy production value—you can even spin your lack of money as an intentional aesthetic […]

REVIEW: Paddington 2 [2017]

“Where all your dreams come true” In true children’s book fashion, Paddington’s (Ben Whishaw) continuing adventures in London alongside the Brown family (Hugh Bonneville‘s Henry, Sally Hawkins‘ Mary, Madeleine Harris‘ Judy, Samuel Joslin‘s Jonathan, and Julie Walters‘ Mrs. Bird) would of course stem from something as seemingly innocuous as procuring a birthday present for his […]

REVIEW: Paddington [2014]

“Does anyone know where I can find a home?” I remember reading Michael Bond‘s Paddington Bear books when I was a kid and might have even had a duffle coat-wearing stuffed animal too. But I couldn’t tell you a thing about those stories if you put a gun to my head and asked. I recall […]

REVIEW: Future ’38 [2017]

“Watch this classified film strip briefing” If you ask how scientists are smart enough to invent time travel yet can’t find a way to defeat Hitler without needing time travel to augment their weapon’s power, Jamie Greenberg has succeeded. He’s succeeded if you don’t ask that question too because you’ll have given yourself fully to […]

REVIEW: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle [2017]

“Find the missing piece” The end of Jumanji shows Alan and Sarah chaining up the board game before throwing it over a bridge into water. Later we see it washed ashore on a beach, buried in the sand with chains removed as people walk by speaking what sounds like French. So we wonder how long […]

REVIEW: Girls Trip [2017]

“Better recognize ya blessings” The narrator of Girls Trip has a new book called “You Can Have It All,” a title describing her ability to be both a powerful entrepreneurial woman and a loving wife simultaneously. It’s a message that Ryan Pierce (Regina Hall) has embraced as a brand alongside her former football player husband […]

REVIEW: Their Finest [2017]

“Authenticity, optimism, and a dog” As the Blitz raged and British soldiers continued to pour into Europe to try and push the Germans back, those left at home to take cover during air raids and do their part in factories still needed something to keep morale high when it all looked so futile. One such […]

REVIEW: Coco [2017]

“Seize your moment” Disney and Pixar have lately begun to tell more stories that aren’t intrinsically linked to their white male sensibilities (even if they have a tendency to push out voices that should be talking for their characters like Brenda Chapman on Brave). It’s definitely an evolutionary process—one that might actually be helped with […]

REVIEW: Olaf’s Frozen Adventure [2017]

“Tell us yours and we’ll tell you if it’s special enough” A short film like Olaf’s Frozen Adventure epitomizes the law of diminishing returns: for audiences, not Disney. The studio is surely making a ton of merchandise money with little work involved considering the characters are already at their disposal. We’re talking a couple directors, […]

REVIEW: Downsizing [2017]

“Lots of people are in pain, Ma. In all sorts of ways.” It’s an ingenious comedic premise. With Earth’s population untenable, a couple of Norwegian scientists discover a way to combat our impending doom: genetic shrinkage. With a syringe of blue formula and a microwave oven (the logistics are never explained beyond surface visuals), any […]

REVIEW: Mercy Christmas [2017]

“Fresh is best” Michael Briskett (Steven Hubbell) awakens in a dark room with plastic sheets covered in blood hung behind him. It’s imagery you’ve seen countless times in horror films—butcher accoutrement readied for torture porn carnage. But writer/director Ryan Nelson (alongside Beth Levy Nelson as co-writer) is only giving us a tease of what’s to […]