• 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: The Clovehitch Killer [2018]

“I like bad news” Don Burnside (Dylan McDermott) is a pillar of his community. He’s the troop leader of his son’s (Charlie Plummer‘s Tyler) church-adjacent Boy Scouts, a devout man of the Lord alongside his wife Cindy (Samantha Mathis), and the type of guy to go out of his way to volunteer and make the […]

REVIEW: Daughters of the Dust [1991]

“I ain’t got no more dreams, cousin” The voice we hear is of the unborn child (Kai-Lynn Warren) growing inside Eula Peazant (Alva Rogers). She speaks about the events onscreen from a future that ensures her birth if not her residence—the lynchpin to the entirety of Julie Dash‘s Daughters of the Dust who metaphorically and […]

REVIEW: Monsoon [2018]

“Don’t let one tragedy cause another” The start of Miguel Duran‘s Monsoon is like its own short film. We meet John (Austin Lyon) and Sarah (Katherine Hughes) the weekend the former is supposed to be moving east for Cornell while she remains closer to home in the Arizona desert. They’re best friends and have been […]

REVIEW: 버닝 [Beoning] [Burning] [2018]

“Should I forget it ‘isn’t’ here?” Jong-su (Ah-In Yoo) never tells Hae-mi (Jong-seo Jeon) what “metaphor” means. They’re standing in Ben’s (Steven Yeun) kitchen as he chops ingredients for a pasta dish and talks philosophically with a smug smile until the question comes up. He defers answering her to Jong-su since he’s the writer of […]

REVIEW: Jonathan [2018]

“I don’t want to take you with me” Something isn’t right. Jonathan (Ansel Elgort) is tired despite his routine bordering on monotony being the same for who knows how many years. He wakes at 7:00am without an alarm, goes for a morning run, and heads to work as a draftsman at an architecture firm run […]

REVIEW: Wildlife [2018]

“I feel like I need to wake up” The start of Paul Dano‘s directorial debut Wildlife depicts a happy household of mother (Carey Mulligan‘s Jeanette Brinson), father (Jake Gyllenhaal‘s Jerry), and son (Ed Oxenbould‘s Joe). They’ve just moved from Utah to Montana so Jerry can work as a country club’s resident “pro”—a job allowing Jeanette […]

REVIEW: Here and Now [2018]

“First a tragedy. Then a miracle.” The news ain’t good. Famed vocalist Vivienne Carala (Sarah Jessica Parker) is on the cusp of a world tour for her latest (and ninth) album only to find herself in a hospital waiting room calling her manager (Common‘s Ben) to say she’s going to be late for rehearsal. She […]

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 […]