REVIEW: First Reformed [2018]

“A life without despair is a life without hope” We live in a time of extremism—where our reaction dial is turned up to eleven regardless of our true interest in a cause or its true importance. Somewhere along the line civil and constructive discourse was replaced by screaming fits of unjustified rage, nuanced topics debated […]

REVIEW: Top Five [2014]

“What did the room smell like?” I’m prefacing this review with an admission anyone who reads my thoughts already knows: I think Chris Rock is a pretty terrible actor. Love the guy’s stand-up, find him hilarious in real life and on paper, but stick him in a movie and he almost looks scared. The only […]

REVIEW: Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted [2012]

“I’m like a candy cane in a black and white movie” A round of applause for directors Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath—and Conrad Vernon who joins them to expand on his responsibilities playing Mason the monkey—because they have kind of accomplished the impossible with Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted. I was surprised at how much […]

REVIEW: Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa [2008]

“I find it pretty and slightly hypnotic” It’s amazing what happens when filmmakers craft a plot for their characters. I’m not saying I approve of sequels with lame flashback origin prologues trying to make up for the lack of story in their predecessors, but I won’t complain if such contrivances help ground the jokes into […]

REVIEW: Larry Crowne [2011]

“Beaver Fever. Catch It!” I really like the poster. The sky blue with the alternating thick/thin sans serif font and the jarringly bright yellow, drawing your eye to it and down towards the pair of movie stars at bottom right. Julia Roberts looks ecstatic and Tom Hanks suavely cool on his scooter—this could be a […]

REVIEW: Street Kings [2008]

“I’m already packed” What I love about David Ayer’s work is that he is unpredictable and unafraid to tell a story in all its brutality. From his penned script Training Day to his directorial debut in Harsh Times, we are treated with bad men and worse men, doing what they need to survive and not […]

REVIEW: Talk to Me [2007]

“The call letters, y’all” Here is a biopic that knows what it is. Petey Greene, an ex-con with a voice, gets his chance to speak to a city and use his one true gift, the one thing he enjoys and is good at besides being a miscreant. Kasi Lemmons never tries to tell us about […]