• 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: Thelma [2017]

“Jesus Satan” The moment you leave home for college is the moment your parents say, “Have fun, but don’t lose who you are in the process.” It’s a worthwhile sentiment that we often take for granted as an implicit notion that we are who we will remain despite embarking on a journey full of unknown […]

REVIEW: Psychopaths [2017]

“Evil’s a straight and simple ‘just because’” It’s hard to reject a film as having no substance when its narrator apologizes for that very fact. Was its hollowness therefore an intentional commentary on the empty nihilistic void that we call life or was the filmmaker throwing us for a “meta” loop with a tongue-in-cheek laugh […]

REVIEW: Mudbound [2017]

“They say it’s bad luck to watch somebody leave” People too often speak about America’s scars as though the damage was done, skin healed over, and remnants already mostly faded away. But this isn’t true. Ask any member of a group that has been marginalized from the moment Europeans landed on the Atlantic shore until […]

REVIEW: Mercy Christmas [2017]

“Fresh is best” Michael Briskett (Steven Hubbell) awakens in a dark room with plastic sheets covered in blood hung behind him. It’s imagery you’ve seen countless times in horror films—butcher accoutrement readied for torture porn carnage. But writer/director Ryan Nelson (alongside Beth Levy Nelson as co-writer) is only giving us a tease of what’s to […]

REVIEW: The Square [2017]

“Do you want to save a human life?” You always hear labels like “before its time” or “of its time,” but what about “beyond its time?” The latter is the phrase I would use to describe Ruben Östlund‘s Palme d’Or-winning (Cannes) The Square because everything it tries to say in a “pay attention before it’s […]

REVIEW: Wonderstruck [2017]

“It’s never the right time” What do a deaf (from birth) girl in 1920s New Jersey and hearing-impaired (due to a recent accident) boy in 1970s Minnesota have in common besides their struggle to communicate? We’ll just have to wait until author/screenwriter Brian Selznick and director Todd Haynes are ready to let us know. In […]

REVIEW: Okja [2017]

“Very healthy!” I’m far from a vegetarian or a pet/animal lover, but I get the reasons why people would be both. And no matter how much I enjoy eating red meat, even I would have to draw the line when confronted with a “Meet your meat” type scenario. What purpose is drawn from such a […]

REVIEW: The Man Who Invented Christmas [2017]

“Why throw everything away for a minor holiday?” As Les Standiford‘s book would tell it, Charles Dickens (Dan Stevens) found himself in somewhat of a creative rut after a lengthy and expensive tour of America post-Oliver Twist. He had published three flops since buying a new London home in need of wholesale remodeling and began […]

REVIEW: Roman J. Israel, Esq. [2017]

“Hope don’t get the job done” There’s something about introverted characters (possibly on the Autism spectrum) with poor social cues battling their own internal morality that writer/director Dan Gilroy loves. Nightcrawler saw a hard-working sociopath sever ties with virtue before gleefully embracing the spoils of his decision. Gilroy provided a descent into the nightmarish hell-scape […]

REVIEW: The Disaster Artist [2017]

“Give me your pinky” If I hadn’t known already, James Franco‘s The Disaster Artist confirms it: I’m not a connoisseur of the “cringe laugh.” I’ve always been the one attendee of a midnight screening of a C-list film who isn’t laughing because the artists who put what I’m watching together didn’t mean for it to […]

REVIEW: Porto [2017]

“You never know if what you’ve lost is better than what you’ve gained” An American ex-pat reminisces about lost love, his walk through the Portuguese town of Porto leading to the café window of an old late-night conversation conducted with absolute honesty, vulnerability, and empathy. His hair is grayed, the time between widescreen past and […]

REVIEW: Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story [2017]

“I’m a good shot so be careful” The tell-all “autobiography” Ecstasy and Me: My Life As A Woman was exactly what Hedy Lamarr‘s agent wanted to make quick money. But it wasn’t her life. Whether her ghostwriter’s words were true or not, the story dealt with everything she hoped wouldn’t define her legacy. Sadly she […]

REVIEW: Remember Me [2017]

“The last thing you and I need is for bodies to start piling up” I’d assume the majority of people treat/treated their grandparents as somewhat of an escape. They were family who you loved and cared for that had a home you could stay at whenever you wanted. So you showed face once in a […]

REVIEW: The Room [2003]

“Did you know chocolate is the symbol of love?” I didn’t think it could be this bad. How’s it possible? How could the hype not prove hyperbolic? How could there not be one redeeming aspect in the entirety of Tommy Wiseau‘s vision? But then you watch and discover it’s true. The Room is quite possibly […]

REVIEW: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri [2017]

“It’s hard to know what to do” It’s no coincidence that the dumbest character in Martin McDonagh‘s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri says the most revealing line of dialogue throughout the entire film: “Anger begets more anger.” I guess it’s because Penelope (Samara Weaving) isn’t dumb as much as she’s naïvely innocent and young. She’s […]