REVIEW: The Way Back [2020]

I don’t think I can help you. This isn’t a sports movie. While a lot of similar films (troubled adult is asked to coach a bunch of troubled kids en route to everyone finding an identity and purpose they couldn’t before) do try to distance themselves from that stigma, The Way Back seems intentionally built upon this separation. When all is said and done, there’s barely any basketball on-screen at all besides close-ups showing a full press defense and practices showing player strengths and weaknesses. The bulk of the games…

Read More

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 a heart attack that sparked weight loss and the overdue mending of burnt bridges. So while Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob’s (Smith) first journey to Hollywood wielded them as immature idiots with so little…

Read More

REVIEW: Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back [2001]

They don’t deserve their own movie. It’s easy to forget that Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back was supposed to be the View Askewniverse’s final chapter. Writer/director Kevin Smith had finally decided to grow up (a relative term) and leave the foul-mouthed, pot-dealing miscreants he and Jason Mewes brought to life in Clerks (before subsequently popping-up in every film) behind. He even capped the credits with God (Alanis Morrisette) closing the proverbial book after corralling as many familiar faces and stars he could for what proved a self-conscious and self-referential…

Read More

REVIEW: Justice League [2017]

“I don’t have to recognize it. I just have to save it.” There are a lot of haters out there—those who pile on Zack Snyder, the DC Extended Universe, and both. I’m not one of them. But that doesn’t mean I’ve loved what they’ve delivered. We’ve received one good film (Wonder Woman), one ambitiously enjoyable mess (Batman v Superman), an okay origin tale (Man of Steel), and a mildly enjoyable mess (Suicide Squad). Despite this union’s many flaws, however, it’s consistently brought something wholly unique tonally in comparison to Marvel.…

Read More

REVIEW: Live By Night [2016]

“We don’t get to pick our sins” A scene happens early on in Live by Night where Deputy Police Captain Thomas Coughlin (Brendan Gleeson) tells his criminal son Joe (Ben Affleck) that our actions always add up to a conclusion for which we can never predict. The idea is that Joe is a good man—a war veteran with a good heart—who’s simply been disillusioned. Thomas is willing to not crackdown on him despite being fully aware of how his boy makes a living as long as the evidence doesn’t force…

Read More

REVIEW: The Accountant [2016]

“You deserve wow” This is one of those cases where a film might have benefited from a smaller budget. Where you wish Warner Bros.’s independent shingle didn’t shutter in 2008. It’s not like $44 million is a huge sum of money—not by Hollywood standards anyway—but if you cut it in half, maybe lose the star power of Ben Affleck, and take things to a grittier, less-polished place, The Accountant could prove the kind of hit studios covet after John Wick took the box office by storm two years back. Bill…

Read More

REVIEW: Suicide Squad [2016]

“Let’s just say I put him in a hole and threw away the hole” I feel for David Ayer. He seems super jazzed about his work on Suicide Squad with good reason and I’m ecstatic Warner Bros. chose him to lead this ragtag bunch of miscreants with some great outside the box hiring, but the film can’t help feeling like a commodity rather than art. Sadly I think most of DC’s early installments will have their hands tied in much the same way because they’re being asked to do way…

Read More

REVIEW: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice [2016]

“Ignorance is not the same as innocence” Director and steward of Warner Bros.’s entire DC Comic universe—for better or worse depending on your personal opinion of the man’s portfolio—Zack Snyder has spent two years telling us Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is ostensibly Man of Steel 2. It’s not. This thing is a Batman film from start to finish. It shows how Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) focuses his rage to destroy the world’s newest destroyer. It’s about a good man turning cruel as Gods threaten the sanctity of all…

Read More

REVIEW: Shelter [2015]

“The objective is forgiveness” It’s quite comforting to see actors-turned-directors not shying away from tough subject matter. You’d almost assume they would amidst stereotypes of celebrity vanity driving them to worry about losing audience appeal. Looking at a guy like Ben Affleck leveraging a fledging acting career destroyed by bad mainstream choices into a critically acclaimed metamorphosis as an A-list director, however, shows the transition is real regardless of content or perception. I’d rather a guy like Ryan Gosling get derided for taking a chance on Lost River than see…

Read More

Picking Winners at the 87th Annual Academy Awards

Things look pretty cut and dry where the Academy is concerned in 2015. The Oscars are always a somewhat watered-down look at what really mattered in the past year of cinema and this installment is no exception. In fact, it may be all water at this point. That doesn’t mean there can’t be some intriguing surprises in the second-tier categories like Best Animated Feature (I really hope How to Train Your Dragon 2 loses to one of the other much more aesthetically and conceptually unique nominees) or Short Film Animated…

Read More

REVIEW: Gone Girl [2014]

“Everything else is background noise” Director David Fincher‘s Gone Girl falls prey to the one thing that often prevents me from truly loving a cinematic adaptation of a novel—unquestionable faithfulness. Gillian Flynn does a wonderful job distilling her pulpy thriller into a fast-paced 149 minutes and Fincher stays true to the back and forth vantage points of Act One between Nick Dunne’s (Ben Affleck) precarious circumstances and the diary of his wife who has disappeared (Rosamund Pike‘s Amy) before all hell breaks loose. It’s perfectly reformed with enough visual detail…

Read More