• 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: Suspiria [2018]

“Of what do you ask?” I’m no big fan of Dario Argento‘s Suspiria. It’s a gorgeous film overflowing with mood and aesthetic that ultimately becomes the poster child for style over substance before gradually revealing more to offer upon subsequent viewings. In the end, however, it still doesn’t add up to much besides its place […]

REVIEW: Trust Machine: The Story of Blockchain [2018]

“The old stuff is just weird stuff you got used to” Documentarian Alex Winter is really solidifying his place within the tech world as a storyteller willing to look at modern systems stymying the old guard and exciting the new before helping to disseminate what they mean for the world at-large. He looked back at […]

REVIEW: The Old Man and the Gun [2018]

“I know what I’m doing” Finding an occupation you love is rare when familial and financial responsibilities often dictate a path towards compromise. It’s therefore hard to let one go. Just ask Forrest Tucker, a career criminal in and out of prison since age fifteen whose life consisted of planning his next bank robbery or […]

REVIEW: Game Night [2018]

“It worked for Hitler” I never watched a trailer for Game Night because the posters looked lame and it came out at a time when I couldn’t watch it in a theater. So when the almost universal praise landed to hail it a dark comedy must-see of 2018 … I still didn’t watch the trailer. […]

REVIEW: Jinn [2018]

“I don’t know what it means to be a believer” Religion is sacrifice. I don’t think there’s another way to truly describe what it means to give yourself to faith so completely that you’ll allow it to control your life. It’s always fascinated me that so many ascribe to a God in this way. Whether […]

REVIEW: Gräns [Border] [2018]

“You shouldn’t listen to what humans say” Customs officer Tina (Eva Melander) stands at attention while a line of passengers exiting an international flight walk by, her nostrils perpetually flaring. She’s sniffing them as a means of discerning which might have illegally undeclared possessions on their person. An “Excuse me” later and her partner is […]

REVIEW: Free Solo [2018]

“I realize my body would just explode on impact” Free climbing a mountain wall at any height is insane to me. So watching Alex Honnold gaze upon El Capitan with the simultaneous declarations that it scares the crap out of him and that conquering it without rope would be his ultimate goal makes me shudder. […]

REVIEW: Monster Party [2018]

“Simple as a pimple” I have to think writer/director Chris von Hoffmann saw The Purge and wondered what could be born from reversing the good guy and bad guy roles. Those are generic terms of course since both movies ultimately contain bad guys and worse guys, but for the sake of argument we’ll say that […]

REVIEW: Bullitt County [2018]

“You don’t always have to shoot the rooster” Repression is wild insofar as our minds pushing trauma down to the depths of our soul without a second thought. While guilt will ravage some to the point where certain actions become inescapable no matter what is used to numb the pain, others can completely detach themselves […]

REVIEW: The Sisters Brothers [2018]

“Are you going to watch?” Many assumptions can be made during the opening scene of Jacques Audiard‘s The Sisters Brothers. It’s here where we meet the titular siblings (John C. Reilly‘s Eli and Joaquin Phoenix‘s Charlie Sisters) approaching a ranch with a clear warning of only wanting the man they’ve come to kill. A firefight […]

REVIEW: The Hate U Give [2018]

“Know your worth” The progression of The Hate U Give‘s genesis reveals its message’s importance. Angie Thomas began its short story precursor back in college as a response to Oscar Grant’s 2009 death by police. She would push it aside soon after in hopes to revisit the subject matter once her rage subsided. Her impulse […]

REVIEW: Tito e os Pássaros [Tito and the Birds] [2018]

“You catch fear from ideas” The “outbreak” started years ago when the twenty-four hour news cycle broke onto the scene by stoking fear for ratings out of a necessity for content. We used to only get an hour of local news every night—itself needing to be bolstered by a public interest story or two—with a […]

REVIEW: Life and Nothing More [2018]

“Are you free, dead, or in jail?” Many filmmakers find the need to politicize truths without realizing or believing their existence has already politicized them. There’s power in this sort of manipulation because the product created is working towards opening eyes or (in most cases) reinforcing what those eyes accepted long ago. That power can […]

REVIEW: An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn [2018]

“That man ain’t dead” There’s an unforgettable scene from “Twin Peaks” season two that can be a make-it or break-it point for viewers due to how far David Lynch and company were willing to go with the cringe factor of their off-kilter comedic tone. It’s the one where Agent Cooper is lying on the floor […]

REVIEW: Bad Times at the El Royale [2018]

“Why even have a bell?” Writer/director Drew Goddard‘s affinity for voyeuristic set-ups continues with Bad Times at the El Royale‘s “pervert hotel” aesthetic. His first feature-length screenplay (Cloverfield) was found footage, his directorial debut (The Cabin in the Woods) had a two-way mirror as well as a science fiction surveillance conceit, and now we get […]