Posted in: Review

Old

There is a movie inside Old that flows organically out of its characters, driven by their fears, desires, and regrets, generating a clear-eyed and affecting metaphor for the speed with which life passes us by, and our inherent unwillingness to slow down long enough to savor every moment. It’s as eloquent a thematic underpinning as […]

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Space Jam: A New Legacy

The prevailing critical logic on Space Jam: A New Legacy is that it’s bad. And…yeah, that basically tracks. More intriguing than general derision, though, is exploring precisely how the film ended up in its current form, a melting pot of contradictory aims so dissonant that any chance at basic coherence was dashed at the conceptual […]

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Holler

Holler is a film that seems to have an uncanny psychic link to its characters and environment, a kind of synthesis between form and subject that can’t be manufactured, only felt. Portraits of Rust Belt desperation are quite popular in the industry of late, to the point that Appalachian Misery Porn should be designated its […]

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What Lies West

What Lies West is a battlefield on which the screenplay’s earnest human insights war against the film’s inherent formal limitations. The ultra-low-budget feature was clearly made with love, but also under such restrictive stylistic and technical circumstances that it becomes difficult to look past those distractions and into the eyes of the characters. It’s hard […]

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Four Good Days

Four Good Days strains itself to convey a hardened tale of mother-daughter turmoil through the lens of a bleak addiction drama to the point that it eventually feels like a dirge deliberately inflicted upon the audience. There’s incredible value in an unflinching cinematic portrayal of difficult material, but Rodrigo Garcia’s film seems hellbent on wallowing […]

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The Virtuoso

The Virtuoso is one of those movies so mind-bogglingly misguided that it’s difficult to discern whether the talented actors involved willingly grabbed a quick paycheck or if they mistook the material for something worthwhile. Caught somewhere between isolated character study and brooding shoot-‘em-up thriller but without a single clue how to actualize either perspective, the […]

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Wildcat

There’s a persistent competence on display in Wildcat that is at first reassuring but eventually frustrating. In this ultra-low-budget drama that takes place largely within a single, very small, set, the controlled environment allows for very few glaring missteps – the plot is relatively tight, the acting is reined in, and the limited on-screen space […]

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French Exit

In this ridiculously long – some might say “endless” – Oscar season, French Exit was originally positioned as a sure-fire Best Actress vehicle for Michelle Pfeiffer, a standout role that could potentially deliver an Oscar win to the three-time past nominee. As the COVID-impacted release calendar started to fill, however, the film – and thus, […]

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Nobody

The ongoing John Wick-ification of cinema continues with Nobody, which extrapolates the base premise of the Wick franchise to its truest realization: a really, really normal guy who kicks the ass of everyone in his path. 2014’s original John Wick was about a seemingly regular guy being forcefully pulled back down into a seedy underworld […]

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Tom & Jerry

If Tom & Jerry feels retro, that isn’t because it harkens back to the gleeful anarchy of the duo’s original animated shorts, since it rarely does. Instead, this slapdash cinematic lark feels like a holdover from another era, lost in a time capsule of style and perspective. It might most resemble the late-‘90s/early-‘00s string of […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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Minari

Minari is a simple plant, sometimes referred to as “water celery.” It’s a wild green that’s bountiful growth makes it ubiquitous in East Asian cooking, particularly in Korean cuisine. That growth makes it uniquely special – its seeds will grow anywhere, even in what would appear to be inhospitable environments. The America of present day […]