Latest Film Reviews
The Witch (2015)
for what it is: a refreshingly baroque respite from the jump-scares that typify today's horror.
The Lobster (2015)
Investigates the nature of our need for a partner (who else will apply that pain-relief cream to the small of your back?), how we cling to superficial similarities to justify our matches, and our denial, at our peril, of our animal nature.
The Finest Hours (2016)
One can easily understand why this story swiftly became Coast Guard legend...but its dim wall-of-grey visuals and narrative longueurs make much of the two hours a challenge to the attention span for viewers of any age.
The Angry Birds Movie (2016)
Even though 'Anger is not always the answer,' sometimes it has to be, or there’s no movie, and here’s where
The Angry Birds Movie
will divide audiences.
Dark Horse (2015)
Osmond doesn't belabor style in any way, opting to shape the story simply and directly through the new interviews, available archive materials, and efficient montage.
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
A direct sequel to
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
...a crazy-cool superhero team-up/smackdown movie to make
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
look like a tea party, and a franchise-launching introduction to the new Spider-Man...
The Man Who Knew Infinity (2016)
Can repeat its formula by rote, but develops no breakthrough theory of its own.
Where to Invade Next (2015)
Moore finds a galvanizing climax by rallying around the notion that idealism trumps, if you’ll pardon the word, defeatism.
The Meddler (2015)
A delightfully humane comedy...doesn’t insist upon the meddling as a 'premise' but as an important part of the film’s psychological reality.
Son of Saul (2015)
One man’s last grasp at humanity amidst the dehumanizing horrors of Auschwitz...dramatizes those extraordinary circumstances under which even the meanings of life and death become foreign and in desperate need of rediscovery.
Tastes awfully stale...those with a high tolerance for 'nice' movies will happily roll with this
. But know that it is proudly unsophisticated in its storytelling.
Elvis & Nixon (2016)
A story of great power and great delusion, of the absurdities of politics and the strange effects and arguably undue reach of celebrity. These potentially heady themes are really beside the point of a movie that’s a hoot and knows it.
The Lady in the Van (2015)
Though at times precious, Bennett’s sly script masks that deeply sentimental core with comic edge and a writer’s willful, mercenary remove.
The Jungle Book (2016)
Favreau and Marks have obviously put some thought into the film’s visual approach and the messages...: the animal kingdom’s unexpected threats and opportunities...the work Mowgli puts in to come of age...his casual kindheartedness...
Miles Ahead (2015)
Not everyone will agree with how Cheadle answers the key questions, but only a fool would say his take lacks creativity, heart, energy, and a gutsy willingness to take risks (as Davis says in the film, 'Be wrong strong').
The hero of the new dramedy
at one point muses, 'For some reason, everything’s becoming a metaphor.' Boy, you can say that again.
Everybody Wants Some!! (2016)
I Saw the Light (2015)
It’s all so dully realized that we grow starving for idiosyncratic detail, desperately latching on to Williams’ love of ketchup or his drunkenly being tickled pink by his new garage-door opener.
The Hateful Eight (2015)
[A] general absence of something to say...Recycles the filmmaker’s own work: the leaner if no meaner dog-eat-dog plotting of
...and a roster of no-longer-shocking offenses...
Why is Marguerite so funny to us, and why is her public humiliation allowed to continue for so long? The answers plumb both the best and worst instincts of human nature, and give Giannoli’s film a strong heartbeat.
Freaks and Geeks: The Complete Series (1999)
Had a lot going for it: a strong creative vision from authorial forces who would go on to take Hollywood, a talented cast that would essentially do the same, and that premise.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
[SPOILER-FREE REVIEW:] This is not a drill, comic-book geeks.
Fear the Walking Dead: The Complete First Season (Special Edition) (2015)
There's nothing to take this show over the top, and in a crowded marketplace of quality TV storytelling, that's a troubing knock, but the show does a good job of wedding weekly genre thrills to creeping plot and character developments.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 2 (2015)
If the franchise continues to feel a bit dull—heavy on the drama and light on the excitement, with pageantry long in the rear-view—there’s a respectable purity in the films’ political cynicism and populist fervor.
Knight of Cups (2015)
For all its thrumming profundity...has just as much sleepwalking self-parody: all of the actors’ pacing and arm-flapping and gazing off into the distance suggests, as much as an art film, the world’s longest prescription drug commercial.
Hello, My Name Is Doris (2015)
Unlikely as it may be, the relationship begins to seem as plausible to us as to the willfully optimistic Doris, which is a testament to the performers transcending the script’s default mode of condescension.
10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)
Essentially the picture is one tease after another, misdirecting as fast as it can and amounting to the 'Emperor’s New Clothes' vacuousness of mid-period M. Night Shyamalan.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (2016)
This feminist war dramedy...is a vanity project done right.
For two hours, Larson and Tremblay make their struggles our struggles, Ma and Jack’s perceptions challenging our own...the most potent pairing on screen this year.
Embrace of the Serpent (2015)
Offers different angles on the Amazon, its people, and white interlopers...the subtle shift of focus from the white explorers to the native guide allows both a welcome political correctness and a depth of sadness that, for once, isn’t once removed.
The Manchurian Candidate (2011)
Set the standard for cinematic paranoid thrillers and stands as the quintessential John Frankenheimer film.
The Good Dinosaur (2015)
Sweet in that canned-with-heavy-syrup way: kids will dig it, but it’s not exactly a delicacy.
Boy & the World (2013)
Kaleidoscopic in its opening up of brilliant color and of the troubling interaction between corporate “people” and flesh-and-bone people, between the environment and civilization.
Near-total lack of narrative tension...Competent acting and direction handily stave off artistic disaster, but
has been constructed not so much to inspire as to renew the already faithful.
Zoolander 2 (2016)
A goofy gag machine that will raise smiles for some and make others just plain gag.
Steve Jobs (2015)
In attempting to 'pull back the curtain' on a man, reveals behind its own theatrical curtain nothing much worth paying attention to...
May not be wildly fresh, but it does wriggle against its genre straightjacket, and if it doesn’t quite escape, it puts on a great show in the process.
Tailor-made for the great Lily Tomlin...Yeah, the circumstances are contrived, but easy enough to accept as long as they’re forcing interesting dynamics into seriocomic confrontation.
Let There Be Light: John Huston's Wartime Documentaries (1946)
Clearly, the breadth of Huston's Army Signal Corps films show a Blakian passage from innocence to experience, unquestioning jingoism to a recognition of war horrors.
The Undesirable (1914)
The cheap-looking production lacks visual flair and lines up undistinguished performances on the way to a clumsy, half-hearted resolution...And yet, to film historians and Curtiz fanatics,
is a gift horse not to look in the mouth.
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