REVIEW: Alita: Battle Angel [2019]

No one’s greater than the game. This is a film twenty years in the making despite James Cameron being attached from the start. The story goes that Guillermo del Toro introduced the King of Hollywood to Yukito Kishiro‘s manga Gunnm and he fell in love with the book enough to give it permanent placement on his docket. Alita: Battle Angel was first thought to begin production after the demise of Cameron’s television show “Dark Angel” only to have him decide something else was more pressing. Then came the secretive technological…

Read More

REVIEW: The Birth of a Nation [2016]

“I pray you sing to the Lord a new song” It’s impossible to watch Nate Parker‘s The Birth of a Nation today without making note of the controversy surrounding him. Emotions have run high and the first-time director has met a backlash of calls for boycott stemming from a 1999 rape case of which he was acquitted. The victim later committed suicide and his public response upon discovering this news didn’t necessarily show remorse like many believed it should. It’s tough to say now whether he was innocent of wrongdoing—look…

Read More

REVIEW: Lincoln [2012]

“This isn’t usual, Mr. Pendleton. This is history.” Images of brother fighting brother, President Lincoln orating the Emancipation Proclamation, and his tragic demise at the end of John Wilkes Booth’s gun are conjured when most think about the Civil War. For many the abolition of slavery was merely one of the resulting terms of surrender on behalf of the Confederates, the goal of the Union and the Republican Party from the start finally becoming reality. But the details of this historic event are never really explained save a couple dates,…

Read More

REVIEW: Dark Shadows [2012]

“You’ll have to imagine us on a better day” At present, the Tim Burton discussion can be answered in two ways. One: I’ve become too old and jaded to ‘get’ the farcical nature of the auteur’s darkly comic worlds anymore. The satiric tongue-in-cheek tonality he so brilliantly cultivated in grotesque-lite universes either doesn’t have the same effect on me that it did in my youth or just isn’t as good. In that vein comes number Two: Burton has lost a step and now languishes in a perpetual self-parody desperately trying…

Read More

REVIEW: A Nightmare on Elm Street [2010]

“I haven’t even cut you yet” So this is what it has come to. Hollywood should really stop making ‘revisionings’ and just tack on another number to the end of the once sacred horror franchise they decide to desecrate. I’ll admit, the new A Nightmare on Elm Street isn’t that bad, at least as far as formulaic genre flicks reveling in blood and gore while leaving any sense of ambiguity out the window go. What truly made the original scary and still fresh when watched today—especially for newcomers unfamiliar with…

Read More

REVIEW: Breaking Away [1979]

“Oh Dave, try not to become Catholic on us” It may be dated and it may be somewhat obvious—aren’t all sports feel-good films—but Breaking Away is a pretty great piece of cinema, melding coming-of-age dramedy with underdog athleticism. I’m not sure you could really pigeonhole it solely into one of those two categories; it’s definitely a symbiotic relationship. Centered on a foursome of childhood friends in Bloomington, Indiana, (where the entire movie was shot), director/producer Peter Yates and writer Steve Tesich shares a tale of finding one’s place and identity…

Read More

REVIEW: The Bad News Bears [1976]

“Took on the whole seventh grade?” Talk about an example of how stringent the ratings board has gotten in the past 30+ years. Who knew a PG film targeted for young children to see with their families could have so much swearing, alcohol, fighting, smoking, and examples of psychologically abusive parents? The Bad News Bears—the original 1976 version mind you—shows that we were once able to make smart movies with morals that didn’t have to pander to the lowest common denominator. Not only is the film actually good, it also…

Read More

REVIEW: Shutter Island [2010]

“Retreat isn’t something you consider an option” Very rarely does a film meet, let alone exceed, the expectations of the piece of literature it is based upon. With a director like Martin Scorsese, however, you do hold out hope that it will at least come close. But with postponements from the Oscar wheelhouse of a fall release and the move to a dump month such as February, concern weighed very heavy. Maybe the departure in subject matter caused the venerable auteur to falter a bit, unsure of how to handle…

Read More

REVIEW: Watchmen [2009]

“The end is nigh” The ultimate graphic novel—a tale many hold to be amongst the greatest stories ever written regardless of being illustrated—has finally been brought to cinematic life after twenty years and multiple failed attempts. Should an epic tale set in such a specific period of time (the Cold War of the 1980s) be updated? Should the bleak nature of humanity depicted be toned down? Will lunatics and delinquents dressed up in costumes pretending to be superheroes bring in a public more interested in reality television then something based…

Read More

REVIEW: Semi-Pro [2008]

“Softest hands in the world” Will Ferrell has done it again. He got my butt in the seat based off a funny trailer and funnier spoof premise despite the fact I knew I would end up hating the film. Yes, I did not like it much at all. Probably more entertaining than its predecessors, I found myself laughing big at more scenes, rather than just laughs in one or two sequences. I credit this fact to it not trying to be a movie, but instead relying on its strung together…

Read More

REVIEW: Little Children [2006]

“Please be a good boy” When you have the sort of auspicious debut that director Todd Field had with his fantastic first feature In the Bedroom, there is a big anticipation to see whether the sophomore effort can bring the same intensity. The trailer for Little Children definitely set an ominous tone with its minimalist composition of frame, the sparse amount of words, and the foreboding train sounds heard throughout. It was a great tease, doing its job to spark interest while not giving too much away. I had hoped…

Read More