• REVIEW: The Standoff at Sparrow Creek [2019]

    “One’s missing” The film begins in total silence to the point where you wonder if something went wrong with the sound. The camera pans through still trees until finding Gannon (James Badge Dale) on the ground with rifle ready to take out the deer we can assume is somewhere out of frame. It’s only when […]

  • Online Film Critics Society Ballot 2018

    Below is my December 27th ballot for the 22nd annual Online Film Critics Society Awards honoring movies released domestically in the United States during the 2018 calendar year. Group winners are highlighted in red. (No option to abstain was supplied this year.) Best Picture #1If Beale StreetCould Talk #2You Were NeverReally Here #3Hereditary #4Eighth Grade […]

  • REVIEW: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse [2018]

    “It’s just puberty” You have to hand it to Sony for thinking outside the box. Not long ago they had the number one cinematic superhero property with Tobey Maguire donning the Spidey-suit to take on the Osborns. They tried to strike gold twice with a new “Amazing” iteration starring Andrew Garfield, but the results simply […]

  • REVIEW: We the Animals [2018]

    “We wanted more” There are a lot of hard truths within We the Animals. Describing patriarch Paps (Raúl Castillo) as “loving but unpredictable” in the press notes gets right to the heart of that complexity since a more apt description could be “abuser.” He’s a man with a hot temper who inflames his wife (Sheila […]

  • REVIEW: Minding the Gap [2018]

    “We formed a family together” It begins as a film about self-created community, three young men coming together on their skateboards to escape the private turmoil experienced at home. The sport was a cathartic outlet more than some bid to act cool, helping them become close enough friends to share details about their individual demons […]

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film reviews

REVIEW: Aquaman [2018]

“It’s fish-MAN” Arthur Curry’s Aquaman has been known in mainstream pop culture circles as DC’s whipping boy for a long while since it’s easy to mock an orange spandex-wearing dude who talks to fish when measured against his “cooler” Justice League compatriots. “The Big Bang Theory” made jokes at his expense for a few seasons […]

REVIEW: Vice [2018]

“What do we believe?” It’s still weird thinking the guy who joked around with Will Ferrell for years is an Oscar winner, but that’s exactly what Adam McKay is. Weirder still is my being firmly in the camp that believes it was deserved. What he did with The Big Short was the equivalent of too-smart […]

REVIEW: Lazzaro felice [Happy as Lazzaro] [2018]

“He’s staring into the void again” Writer/director Alice Rohrwacher asks an interesting question with Lazzaro felice [Happy as Lazzaro]. How would we treat a saint? Would we acknowledge his/her goodness and understand their grace to be something to mirror? Or would we scoff at their innocence to call them naive, their loyalty to call them […]

REVIEW: Ben is Back [2018]

“You’re all still scared of me” There’s no way to discuss the second of Ben is Back or Beautiful Boy that you watched without also mentioning the first. Maybe I’d think differently if the order had swapped, but watching the former last seems like the correct way to do things since it allowed me to […]

REVIEW: Roma [2018]

“We are alone” To know that Roma is a semi-autobiographical account of writer/director Alfonso Cuarón‘s own childhood growing up in a Mexico City middle class family is to truly understand the weight of personal events opposite public ones. Placing the timeframe as 1970-71 means something for this country with a government takeover of poor village […]

REVIEW: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse [2018]

“It’s just puberty” You have to hand it to Sony for thinking outside the box. Not long ago they had the number one cinematic superhero property with Tobey Maguire donning the Spidey-suit to take on the Osborns. They tried to strike gold twice with a new “Amazing” iteration starring Andrew Garfield, but the results simply […]

REVIEW: 1985 [2018]

“Will you wait for me if you go first?” There’s a lot to like emotionally about Yen Tan‘s 1985 and some things to be desired in execution. It’s a period piece focused upon a conservative Texas family with military man father who sees his differences from his own “tough” Dad as potential weaknesses, a loving […]

REVIEW: Dark Money [2018]

“This is now the proving ground for the American experiment” The facts speak for themselves in director Kimberly Reed‘s Dark Money: Montana is our nation’s epicenter for corporate election donations. Her interviewees provide us a rundown of why (the copper mining industry’s interest in favorable policy-making leading them to put a corporate stooge onto the […]

REVIEW: Private Life [2018]

“Let’s get pregnant, shall we?” At forty-one and forty-seven respectively, Rachel Biegler (Kathryn Hahn) and Richard Grimes (Paul Giamatti) are against the proverbial clock when it comes to having children. With her novel about to be published, his pickle business sustaining him after his successful off-Broadway theater troupe disbanded, and a rent-controlled New York City […]

REVIEW: Hale County This Morning, This Evening [2018]

“Whose child is this?” Photographer RaMell Ross‘ feature debut Hale County This Morning, This Evening presents itself as an emotively academic endeavor that looks into the lives of two Black men in Alabama, projecting them through their humanity rather than simply race. The latter plays a large role too, but on a contextual level feeding […]

REVIEW: Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun? [2018]

“This is a white nightmare story” It’s a provocative title for a murder mystery investigation into documentarian Travis Wilkerson‘s own ancestry: Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun? He’s presenting a question before we even sit down and then supplies the answer straight away. The trick, however, is that the question is an abstract and […]

REVIEW: We the Animals [2018]

“We wanted more” There are a lot of hard truths within We the Animals. Describing patriarch Paps (Raúl Castillo) as “loving but unpredictable” in the press notes gets right to the heart of that complexity since a more apt description could be “abuser.” He’s a man with a hot temper who inflames his wife (Sheila […]

REVIEW: Vox Lux [2018]

“Simply put: it was a hit” America lost its innocence on 9/11. It wasn’t an overnight thing, though. The gradual degradation of humanity on an ever-shrinking global landscape stewarded us there as school shootings and terrorist attacks grew with their weak links towards violent videogames rather than an otherwise Puritan sense of sex being worse […]

REVIEW: The Favourite [2018]

“We’ve been laying very different games” This isn’t your parents’ period piece. If the name Yorgos Lanthimos under the header of director didn’t already give you that impression, there it is. The Favourite has everything you’d expect from one, though: real-life characters, powdered faces and wigs, wars discussed from perches miles away from the battlefield, […]

REVIEW: Shirkers [2018]

“I never imagined it would end this way” You’re nineteen and studying abroad in England when the stars and ambitions align to reunite with your best friends in Singapore and make a feature film on summer break. You all give your blood, sweat, tears, and money to the project in order to finish just in […]