• REVIEW: Black Panther [2018]

    “We had to maintain the lie” It’s easy to forget how important Creed was to getting this specific Black Panther made. From Wesley Snipes wanting to get something off the ground in the 1990s to Kevin Feige courting Ava DuVernay as director post-Selma success, things could have been very different. Hiring Ryan Coogler before his […]

  • Online Film Critics Society Ballot 2017

    Below is my December 24th ballot for the 21st annual Online Film Critics Society Awards honoring movies released domestically in the United States during the 2017 calendar year. Group winners are highlighted in red. (We were only allowed to vote for one nominee per category this year, but I ranked them all like previous years […]

  • REVIEW: Call Me By Your Name [2017]

    “‘Cause I wanted you to know” It wasn’t until three-quarters of the way through Luca Guadagnino‘s Call Me By Your Name that I finally began to understand the almost universal praise bestowed upon it since debuting at Sundance. Up until then it merely felt like a familiar coming-of-age film wherein the teenager in question was […]

  • REVIEW: The Work [2017]

    “Go inside to go outside” It’s one thing for a maximum-security prison full of violent offenders like Folsom to offer the type of in-depth therapy sessions it does, but it’s another to see the number of inmates with the courage and desire to attend. To be willing to leave your gang affiliations at the door […]

  • REVIEW: Unrest [2017]

    “I just thought I would have more time” You can tell a lot about someone with the question: “What are your thoughts on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) or Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME)?” The answer is “Yes” or “No” and yet the latter has the potential of holding an infinite number of biases stemming from the likes […]

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film reviews

REVIEW: Ava [2017]

“They won’t spoil our summer” Knowing your sight will leave you prematurely is a tough pill to swallow. Being told at age thirteen that the process had sped up to the point where all night vision would be gone by summer’s end is nothing short of devastating. Unfortunately this is the news Ava (Noée Abita) […]

REVIEW: Phantom Thread [2017]

“You found me” I’m not sure there’s a better director working today than Paul Thomas Anderson. I don’t say this as a long-time fan that calls Magnolia his favorite film of all-time. I say it as someone who’s watched his career expand and evolve in orchestration, aesthetic, tone, and performance. There’s an air about his […]

REVIEW: 12 Strong [2018]

“There are no right choices here” War films generally come in two varieties: a gray introspective look at its emotional and psychological cost and black and white jingoistic propaganda. The former is generally acclaimed as award worthy while the latter is dumped during winter months so its target audience of NRA-loving Republicans in American flag […]

REVIEW: Sweet Country [2018]

“What chance have we got?” Director Warwick Thornton immediately connected to childhood friend and co-writer David Tranter‘s (with Steven McGregor) script because it provided an authentic context for the historical treatment of their indigenous Central Australian tribes. Based on stories passed down by Tranter’s grandfather as well as Wilaberta Jack’s true life 1920s self-defense killing […]

REVIEW: All the Money in the World [2017]

“‘Thank you’ is for strangers” It’s impossible to see a disclaimer at the end of an “inspired by” film reiterating with more direct language about how the “truth” has been altered without assuming the majority of what I just saw never really happened. Ridley Scott fades to black on a seething Michelle Williams before two […]

REVIEW: Mom and Dad [2018]

“Whatever” I have to imagine every parent at some point wonders where their life could have gone if they didn’t have children. This doesn’t make them bad people—only those who actually act on the urge by abandoning their families without so much as a goodbye fall under that label. It just proves they’re human. It’s […]

REVIEW: Proud Mary [2018]

“No one leaves” The first trailer for Proud Mary hit the internet in July of 2017. After that came a few badass 70s-style James Bond-like posters with star Taraji P. Henson in shadows, gun drawn. It was hard not to get excited for what appeared to be a stylized assassin flick in the vein of […]

REVIEW: River of Grass [1995]

“Murder is thicker than marriage” I wasn’t sure what to expect from Kelly Reichardt‘s debut feature River of Grass considering I’ve never quite been able to appreciate her films’ glacial pacing. It’s never made me hate anything of hers that I’ve seen, but it definitely had me checking out of Wendy and Lucy too often […]

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: The Road Movie [2018]

“Did we record?” I’d like to know the regulations for automobile tires in Russia because Dmitrii Kalashnikov‘s dash-cam compilation documentary The Road Movie has too many violent fishtails and gravity-enforced overturns to not have its audience infer the country as being riddled with bald tires. Some incidents occur in snowy conditions, but others don’t. Speed […]

REVIEW: Marwencol [2010]

“I didn’t know who I was” A thirty-eight year old drunk leaves his local bar only to be jumped by five teenagers who proceed to beat him into a coma. This is the beginning of Mark Hogancamp‘s life as he knows it. The incident left him with brain damage to the point where he had […]

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: アンチポルノ [Anchiporuno] [Antiporno] [2017]

“Go on without me” Escape while you’re young because the longer you wait the more trapped you become. In this way we’re all lizards encased in glass bottles—a motif that runs throughout Sion Sono‘sアンチポルノ [Anchiporuno] [Antiporno], the director’s entry into Nikkatsu’s “Roman Porno” reboot forty years after giving birth to the genre. It’s during adolescence […]