• 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: Piercing [2019]

“The terror must be in English” A marriage between the gorgeously disturbing imagery Nicolas Pesce delivered via his debut The Eyes of My Mother and the surreally warped sensibilities of Audition author Ryû Murakami definitely piqued my interest as far as the former’s adaptation of the latter’s novel Piercing. This psycho-thriller concerns new father Reed’s […]

REVIEW: Komunia [Communion] [2016]

“I’m not the air” While learning about what to share with the priest during his first confession, young Nikodem is told that stuffing his face with food is a sin known as gluttony. The autistic boy giggles and jokes that he believes gluttony to be a virtue instead—one to replace love since it being prone […]

REVIEW: The Spy Who Dumped Me [2018]

“Thumbs up” While Drew (Justin Theroux) gets his butt kicked in Lithuana on a covert assignment for the CIA, the woman he dumped via text just days earlier is forced to endure the psychological trauma of having every single person she knows at her birthday party wondering where he is. To make matters worse, we […]

REVIEW: Rust Creek [2019]

“You learn real quick what all can burn you” When Sawyer Scott (Hermoine Corfield) receives the call she’s been waiting for, she can’t help but smile. It’s the first step towards a post-collegiate future with a job in Washington DC all but secured—the tiniest bit of uncertainty preventing her from telling her folks why she […]

REVIEW: New Year, New You [2018]

“I control my own destiny” You cannot talk about Sophia Takal‘s New Year, New You (the fourth episode of Blumhouse Television’s holiday-themed Hulu series “Into the Dark”) without mentioning producer Jason Blum‘s reaction to a Twitter storm in October that stemmed from an interview wherein the low-budget financier relayed an erroneous statement that “there are […]

REVIEW: Mary Poppins [1964]

“A wooden leg named Smith” I never had a great affinity for Mary Poppins as a child. It could have been that I didn’t connect to the subject matter or more likely it was because my sister did. I gravitated towards Bedknobs and Broomsticks instead as a point of conflict—a film (unbeknownst to me at […]

REVIEW: Bumblebee [2018]

“I can fix you” I get the appeal to capitalize on nostalgia and credit to Hasbro and Paramount for doing exactly that with the original live-action Transformers film. They went for wall-to-wall explosions courtesy of Michael Bay, leaned into the male gaze with an out-of-the-lead’s-league love interest, and brought a sarcastic nerd to life who […]

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 […]