• REVIEW: Destroyer [2018]

    “Let’s see if it’s your time” It’s billed as a down and dirty revenge flick with some calling it a redundant variation on a theme “better” films already delivered. That’s not how I see it, though. No, Karyn Kusama‘s latest is about guilt. Erin Bell (Nicole Kidman) isn’t drowning herself in alcohol and pushing everyone […]

  • 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 […]

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film reviews

REVIEW: Madre [Mother] [2017]

“Why hasn’t he come back?” A woman (Marta Nieto‘s Marta) and her mother (Blanca Apilánez) arrive at the former’s apartment talking about men. Marta speaks about friends, her mother leans into romanticism when the subject of a handsome gentleman comes up, and some jealousy arrives when it’s explained that he’s already attached to someone else. […]

REVIEW: Christine [1983]

“You have nothing to lose but your virginity” It shouldn’t be surprising to see parallels between John Carpenter‘s Christine and today considering we live in an era where phrases like “boys will be boys” are used to full stop sanitize the increasingly deplorable actions of young white American men. Back in the 1970s when this […]

REVIEW: Stan & Ollie [2018]

“Do we really need that trunk?” As someone completely unversed in the Laurel and Hardy oeuvre, I’m not sure there could have been a better introduction to the comedic duo than through their last year together. With Jon S. Baird and screenwriter Jeff Pope‘s Stan & Ollie (inspired by A.J. Marriot’s book Laurel and Hardy: […]

REVIEW: Destroyer [2018]

“Let’s see if it’s your time” It’s billed as a down and dirty revenge flick with some calling it a redundant variation on a theme “better” films already delivered. That’s not how I see it, though. No, Karyn Kusama‘s latest is about guilt. Erin Bell (Nicole Kidman) isn’t drowning herself in alcohol and pushing everyone […]

REVIEW: Braid [2019]

“Reality will never keep up with our dreams” Our lives consist of uncertainties. To progress forward is to confront each new possibility as the product of dream or nightmare—an open door to leap through and succeed or a closed window to surrender all hope of escape. We retreat within ourselves for the motivation to jump […]

REVIEW: Glass [2019]

“Why are we the only ones?” It began nineteen years ago with a tale about emotional and physical duress—byproducts of tortured lives being led by purportedly “great” men too defeated to reach their full potential until circumstances reveal the power possessed within. M. Night Shyamalan was playing with the notion of superheroes walking the thin […]

REVIEW: King of Thieves [2018]

“Stop talking shop. She’ll turn in her grave.” It’s not about the robbery. King of Thieves wouldn’t be worth telling if it was just watching these senior actors ranging sixty-years old to eighty-five fictitiously accomplish the “biggest jewel heist in British history” since there obviously won’t be any foot-chases or complex wire-suspended acrobatics. No, the […]

REVIEW: Unbreakable [2000]

“I had a bad dream” I didn’t watch The Sixth Sense when it was in theaters and therefore never had much of an affinity for it due to knowing the twist before eventually sitting down. I’m not therefore certain why I was excited to check out his follow-up Unbreakable. It could have been friends wanting […]

REVIEW: On the Basis of Sex [2018]

“Hooray for Mommy” Even if we weren’t mired in the middle of the Trump Administration with a constant tidal wave of sexist and xenophobic rhetoric masquerading as national emergencies, the story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg defying the patriarchy where it came to archaic laws arbitrarily creating separate rights based on gender would be timely. Because […]

REVIEW: Lost + Found [2018]

“Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven” Why shouldn’t Satan (Jennifer Plotzke) be given a starring role in the telling of Paradise? God allowed her to wreak havoc on mankind by seducing Eve (Pia Haddad) with an apple of knowledge. He left us behind as silly creatures lost in the throes of love […]

REVIEW: ’63 Boycott [2018]

“Because today is Freedom Day” One of Kartemquin Films founders (a Chicago-based production studio of documentary films that’s found itself in the Oscar conversation once again with the feature Minding the Gap and this short) was at the school boycott coined “Freedom Day” in 1963 filming the march as a twenty one year old, three […]

REVIEW: Nancy [2018]

“We have to appreciate what we have now” To look at Nancy Freeman (Andrea Riseborough) is to see a defeated woman. Her single moment of hope throughout the day is the chance of opening mail to check whether her latest writing submission was accepted for publication—a hope perpetually dashed by the fact her oppressive mother […]

REVIEW: Mary Poppins Returns [2018]

“It’s today or never” Not all live-action/animated hybrids from Disney of yesteryear live up to the nostalgic memories of youth (I’m looking at you Pete’s Dragon), but Mary Poppins is an exception. Maybe it was revisiting it after seeing the underrated Saving Mr. Banks for added context concerning craft and motivation or maybe it’s simply […]

REVIEW: Mary Queen of Scots [2018]

“Our swords are not just for show” I know nothing of Scottish history. While this means I can’t attest to the veracity of Mary Queen of Scots, however, it doesn’t stop me from wondering about its lukewarm reception. What’s interesting is how the film as adapted by Beau Willimon from John Guy‘s novel Queen of […]

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 […]