Posted in: Review

The Father

In the latter years of my grandfather’s life, he began to exhibit some mild signs of dementia but, mercifully, it never deteriorated beyond that. He wandered into confusion, but never drifted so deep that he couldn’t be reeled back. Florian Zeller’s The Father is all about that tragic drift, inexorable and all-consuming, memories and perceptions […]

Posted in: Review

Donna: Stronger Than Pretty

When Donna and Nick got married, they pledged to be together forever, for richer or poorer, for better or worse. Except it gets worse pretty quickly. Unfortunately, so does their movie. And unlike Donna, audiences are unlikely to stick around, hoping it’s going to get better again. Donna: Stronger Than Pretty is a portrait of […]

Posted in: Review

Nomadland

Chloe Zhao’s Nomadland traverses both the physical and philosophical implications of a very specific cultural bubble: the culture of willful itinerants, those individuals who live off the grid, untethered to anything permanent, the antithesis of what most of us would consider “normal.” The film’s title craftily lends this lifestyle its own spatial resonance in modern […]

Posted in: Review

Barb and Star Go to Vista del Mar

Kristen Wiig played plenty of strange, baffling characters on Saturday Night Live, but her movie career has been focused more on grounded roles, even in broad comedies like Bridesmaids or Ghostbusters. That changes with Barb and Star Go to Vista del Mar, starring and written by Wiig and Annie Mumolo (who also co-wrote Bridesmaids). This […]

Posted in: Review

Saint Maud

Saint Maud, writer-director Rose Glass’ debut feature film, is a fascinating, at times frustrating meditation on faith, mental illness, loneliness, and connection. The story centers on a young live-in hospice nurse who calls herself Maud (Morfydd Clark) and has taken on a new patient, Amanda (Jennifer Ehle), a former dancer and choreographer with Stage 4 […]

Posted in: Review

The Wanting Mare

It’s rare that scrappy filmmakers with even scrappier budgets produce a movie as ambitious as The Wanting Mare. It’s an artsy poem of wide, gorgeous landscapes, a story of multiple generations that’s both confident and perplexing. If Terrence Malick dove into sci-fi, the result would probably look and feel like this. Audience reaction would be […]

Posted in: Review

PVT Chat

PVT Chat is well-meaning but obvious, a quasi-intriguing short film concept that uncomfortably stretches itself to feature length, oblivious to the fact that its plot is padded and its points are transparent after the first five minutes. It’s also painfully self-defeating, since this film about the psycho-sexual disconnect that can develop between media and its […]

Posted in: Review

Minor Premise

In many ways, sci-fi thriller Minor Premise feels like a throwback to early Christopher Nolan. Brainy and talky, it relies more on the thrill of discovery than the conventions of a modern-day thriller to tell its story. The movie, the feature directorial debut of Eric Shultz, centers on Ethan Kochar (Sathya Sridharan), a neuroscientist whose […]

Posted in: Review

Wander

You’d better pray Arthur Breznik is crazy.  Because otherwise, we’re in real trouble. An ex-detective with post-traumatic stress, Arthur’s currently living way off the grid and battling bad dreams and horrific hallucinations. He’s also convinced there’s a government conspiracy to kidnap people and implant them with tracking devices. But, you know, just because he’s a […]

Posted in: Commentary

The Top 10 Movies of 2020

In any recap of 2020, what can one say that hasn’t already been said? The ongoing global dissection of the year’s internal stresses, external vitriol, and painful events put escapism at a premium — the kind of mental getaway that movies often provide. But with theaters closed, or almost universally avoided, where does that attempt […]

Posted in: Review

Soul

After exploring the complex world of anthropomorphic emotions in 2015’s Inside Out, Pixar’s Pete Docter takes on the complex world of the afterlife in Soul, which deals with similarly melancholy themes. As in Inside Out, director and co-writer Docter takes on some weighty existential ideas for what is ostensibly a family-focused animated movie, and Soul […]