REVIEW: New Money [2019]

“You gotta look nice for bankers” The prize at the center of Jason B. Kohl‘s New Money is fifty thousand dollars. While the characters like to label it an inheritance, their descriptions prove otherwise. It’s more a promise made by a father (Chelcie Ross‘ Boyd Tisdale) to his troubled daughter (Louisa Krause‘s Debbie). If she […]

REVIEW: Dark Phoenix [2019]

“What did you do to her?” Hollywood franchise filmmaking really is a frustrating system insofar as allowing good source material room to breathe. That’s not to say it doesn’t sometimes work too, though. Look at Twentieth Century Fox’s cinematic X-Men saga for instance. After hitting a comic book high with X2, the desire for more […]

REVIEW: Wild Rose [2019]

“What do you need to say?” These movies usually start with the music and attempt to find happiness afterwards. That’s the order you need for the fantasy of artistic superstardom to work—that talent is enough to earn everything you’ve ever wanted and therefore the foundation for what’s still to come. That’s not the real world, […]

REVIEW: Godzilla: King of the Monsters [2019]

“This will not bring him back to us” Here’s the thing. Godzilla vs. Kong was announced way back in 2015—a year after Godzilla released and two before Kong: Skull Island. Warner Bros. wasn’t taking their time rolling out the MonsterVerse and thus guaranteed we knew the big bad reptile and big bad mammal would eventually […]

REVIEW: Child’s Play [1988]

“I’ll be your friend to the end” The rough cut of Tom Holland‘s Child’s Play was around two hours and test audiences weren’t happy. Almost forty minutes were excised (and boy can you tell) before the film saw the light of day and eventually earned an insanely devoted cult following that’s seen six sequels (so […]

REVIEW: All Is True [2019]

“Perhaps, to some, I was the lark” Sony Pictures Classics announced their deal to distribute Kenneth Branagh‘s latest All Is True after it had already been completed without the usual media fanfare surrounding projects with royal Oscar pedigrees such as one whose cast is rounded out by Judi Dench and Ian McKellen. You shouldn’t, however, […]

REVIEW: The Secret Life of Pets 2 [2019]

“Was the world always this dangerous?” Illumination missed the boat on The Secret Life of Pets because the way they’ve told these stories thus far make them a lot more conducive to television than cinema. If that first film’s sprawling character list devolving into wild schemes and pratfalls barely adhering to the flimsy plot beneath […]

REVIEW: Leto [2018]

“Laziness has kept me out of trouble many times” We only recognize it through hindsight, but Americans are spoiled by cultural freedom. Growing up in the 1980s and 1990s meant having the opportunity to listen to radio stations, records, and cassettes of music spanning multiple genres and eras. It was all at our fingertips and […]

REVIEW: Always Be My Maybe [2019]

“Kale can’t hold on forever” The premise is familiar. Two childhood best friends of the opposite sex lose touch after growing up only to find themselves in close proximity again almost two decades later. One became a huge success elsewhere while the other remained home and thus without much opportunity for escaping that neighborhood’s limited […]

REVIEW: Rocketman [2019]

“I’ll take care of the rest” When you have an icon like Elton John as your subject, the straightforward biopic formula simply won’t work. We know him as the flamboyantly dressed, rock star pianist with funny glasses and sequins who belts out songs that will either make you tap your feet or cry. And while […]

REVIEW: Late Night [2019]

“You’re a little old and a little white” You can imagine how this film would have gone had a white male wrote it. The affirmative action jokes would play strictly for laughs rather than poignant introspection. The strong woman television host would use masculine tropes to service her goals rather than understand that a double […]