• Top 100 Films of the Decade: 2010-2019

    If you asked me in 2010 which studios’ films would be amongst my favorites over the next ten years, I probably would have answered two correctly: Fox Searchlight (11) and Sony Pictures Classics (7). Those are two independent shingles of big Hollywood names that have been pumping out quality pictures for decades. Next up would […]

  • Online Film Critics Society Ballot 2019

    Below is my December 26th ballot for the 23rd annual Online Film Critics Society Awards honoring movies released domestically in the United States during the 2019 calendar year. Group winners were announced on January 6th, 2020 and are highlighted in red. Best Picture #1Parasite #2Portrait of aLady on Fire #3Marriage Story #4Knives Out #5Us #6Uncut […]

  • REVIEW: Portrait de la jeune fille en feu [Portrait of a Lady on Fire] [2019]

    “Don’t regret. Remember.” An eighteenth century Italian countess (Valeria Golino) still residing at the French estate of her late husband has decided she’d like to return home. The best way to accomplish this is marrying off one of her daughters to an affluent Milanese suitor since doing so would secure both their futures while also […]

  • REVIEW: A Hidden Life [2019]

    “We lived above the clouds” With notoriously long post-production periods due to his uniquely poetic editing style, Terrence Malick‘s three-hour WWII romance A Hidden Life may have actually benefited from its three-year delay as far as thematic relevance to current events is concerned. As a rising tide of fascistic totalitarianism takes hold of world governments […]

  • REVIEW: Marriage Story [2019]

    “The pie was just a pie” It’s crazy how love changes the way we see things. Ambition can look like genius when we’re there as a supportive cheerleader and narcissism when we begin to recognize our sacrifices in seeing it get fulfilled. Success can be construed as a mutually beneficial byproduct of a union when […]

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film reviews

REVIEW: Dolemite Is My Name [2019]

“I want the world to know I exist” Much like The Room, Dolemite isn’t a good movie. Unlike The Room, however, Dolemite wants you to laugh. Maybe you laugh at what the actors are doing or maybe you laugh at the sheer audacity of Rudy Ray Moore scraping together a cast and crew who clearly […]

REVIEW: Dolemite [1975]

“The game is rough and the stake is your life” After adopting the persona in his stand-up act and on multiple comedy albums, Rudy Ray Moore decided to self-finance a feature film around the character of Dolemite. The result is bad—shoddy direction, horrid editing, and outlandish scenes devoid of any bearing on the plot itself. […]

REVIEW: 기생충 [Gisaengchung] [Parasite] [2019]

“This is so metaphorical” Min (Seo-joon Park) arrives unannounced at the semi-basement dwelling of his old friend Kim Ki-woo (Woo-sik Choi). The former is a college student about to study abroad, the latter an unemployed high school graduate doing his best to leech free wifi by the bathroom window since he, his sister (So-dam Park‘s […]

REVIEW: Jojo Rabbit [2019]

“Where are all the goddamn knives?” Seeing how skittish little Jojo Betzler (Roman Griffin Davis) appears, a group of older Hitler Youths under an injured Nazi captain’s (Sam Rockwell‘s Klenzendorf) command decide to test his resolve. Since the boy enjoys talking the talk when it comes to killing Jewish people due to believing his father […]

REVIEW: Clueless [1995]

“I totally paused” I’m not sure why we picked Amy Heckerling‘s Clueless five days after it opened (I save my ticket stubs), but I do remember enjoying it. Not in spite of assumptions either—unless we went because it was the only PG-13 film out (I became a teenage six months earlier). Maybe my love of […]

REVIEW: El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie [2019]

Obviously contains “Breaking Bad” spoilers. “Nothing beats cash on-hand” I’m neither alone in this thinking nor objectively correct, but “Better Call Saul” is superior to its predecessor “Breaking Bad”. I didn’t even really get into the latter until the season three finale and even then it was tough to stay invested in its cast of […]

REVIEW: Where’s My Roy Cohn? [2019]

“A love of a good fight” The documentary about the man who one interviewee calls “The Teflon Fraud” starts and ends with another: Donald Trump. A close personal friend of Roy M. Cohn‘s as well as a client/protégée, the real estate magnate’s ascent from reality television host to President of the United States is easily […]

REVIEW: Paradise Hills [2019]

“There’s always a way to get what you want” It’s Uma’s (Emma Roberts) wedding day and everyone is excited. She sings a song while her affluent guests clap and dance, the conversations surrounding her making mention of how much work she’s put into making this whole occasion possible. The idyllic scene’s ornate beauty and plastic […]

REVIEW: Gemini Man [2019]

“I just want some peace” It took twenty years, multiple rewrites, and a who’s who list of directors and stars, but Gemini Man finally made it to the big screen. And original scribe Darren Lemke kept his story and screenplay credits through everything. That says something considering these development hell miracles too often become abominations […]

REVIEW: Burning Cane [2019]

“It’s hard to dance with the Devil on your back” Helen Wayne (Karen Kaia Livers) can’t cure her dog of mange. Everyone tells her their surefire remedies and she attempts them all—one month with borax, another vegetable oil. Sometimes the dog gets better and other times he gets worse. She won’t give up on him, […]

REVIEW: Honeyland [2019]

“Now we’ll leave them half” Shot over three years about 20 km from the city directors Ljubo Stefanov and Tamara Kotevska call home (Skopje), Honeyland looks at the delicate balance tenuously held between nature and mankind. The duo take us into an abandoned farming village to do so—a place where Hatidze Muratova continues to live […]

BIFF19 REVIEW: Online Billie [2019]

“It’s simple until it all gets complicated” Despite opening Online Billie with a glimpse of the titular camgirl (Valentine Payen-Wicaksono‘s Esther/”Billie”) engaged in a chat room session, she’s not the lead character. Director Lou Assous and co-writer Xavier Bazoge have very clearly created her as a hypothetical instead—a test with which their surrogate in the […]

BIFF19 REVIEW: Working Man [2019]

“It’s just something I need to do” The title Working Man only deals with one aspect of Robert Jury‘s film about the effects of a rust belt town’s last factory closing. Allery Parkes (Peter Gerety) is a “working man,” but his breaking-in to continue working without pay while his neighbors (also laid-off) think he’s gone […]

BIFF19 REVIEW: Foosballers [2019]

“It was truly like a religion” Sports documentaries are generally allowed to make some assumptions. Talk about baseball, football, basketball, hockey, or soccer can gloss over the structural details and rulebooks because those coming to watch a story about a certain player or team are already fans of the game itself. When you move into […]

REVIEW: Jay and Silent Bob Reboot [2019]

“Hollywood … Florida?” A lot happens in eighteen years. Look at Kevin Smith. While his daughter was born two years prior to Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, fatherhood had only begun. Then he moved away from the View Askewniverse (with varying success), started a podcasting career (spawning his weirdest movie to-date, Tusk), and suffered […]