Posted in: Review

1917

Incredible ambition and impeccable craft are, at once, the engines that propel 1917 and the brakes that keep it from reaching takeoff speed. It’s a fascinating frustration, this film so meticulously constructed that the construction dominates the viewing experience, consuming whatever narrative power might otherwise exist in a more traditional film form – the storytelling […]

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Pain and Glory

Pedro Almodovar’s films thrive on the imbalance between brash idiosyncrasy and eloquent introspection. The Spanish auteur is a master of carefully-controlled chaos, of purposefully overwrought melodrama presented against a brightly colored backdrop with a winking nod to the inherent zaniness, somehow kept earthbound by its melancholic thematic underpinnings. Almodovar’s canvas elevates from the screen, but […]

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Zombieland: Double Tap

Of all the films to become subject to a superfluous sequel, Zombieland is one to approach with about equal parts excitement and apprehension. Why mess with perfection? The original 2009 film remains an untarnished gem, a lightning-in-a-bottle scenario that brought together the perfect mix of cast and creative talent to deliver something unique and special. […]

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Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

If Disney uses the Marvel movies as a gatekeeper of modern pop culture, I suppose the Maleficent franchise (since everything, apparently, must be a franchise) is the arbiter of humanity’s darkest ills. Whereas Marvel is the brightly colored happy machine, Maleficent is the bleak engine that chugs through cultural decay and human suffering. I suppose […]

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Hustlers

Based on a true story that went viral in a deep and revealing 2015 New York Magazine article, Hustlers takes a very specific story of former strippers building their own empire by poking holes in the golden parachutes of their wealthiest clientele and spins it into a rollicking swirl of female empowerment amid an interminable class struggle. […]

Posted in: Review

Luce

The name Luce is packed with polarizing implications. It means “light” in Italian, but it is also derived from a particular type of Pike fish that is known to be aggressive, vicious, and even cannibalistic in certain circumstances. It’s that sort of exacting duality that not only pervades and ultimately defines Luce, a film that […]

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The Kitchen

Before The Kitchen even begins in earnest, a glaring disconnect becomes apparent. Befitting the film’s ‘70s-era setting and indie comic inspiration, the production company logos display as retro-funkified preambles to what we presume will be a film of similar attitude and flair. No such luck as the film fades in on a clean and crisp exterior […]

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Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood

Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood is unmistakably a Quentin Tarantino film while also something of a conscious step away from the acute genre immersion of the filmmaker’s recent output. As opposed to emulating the styles and genres that QT so loves, the director’s latest centers his story on the industry where those genres […]

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Stuber

The title Stuber is a…well, I suppose we could refer to it as a “witticism.” You see, the lead is named Stu, and he drives an Uber. And that profoundly weak word-smash joke serves as an apt label for a movie that works on a similarly limp creative level from beginning to end, coasting on the […]

Posted in: Review

Spider-Man: Far From Home

Just because we’re only a mere two months removed from the prevailing finality of Avengers: Endgame, where several disparate threads came together and signature characters met their end in what felt like a saga’s conclusion, doesn’t mean that the gears of the Marvel Cinematic Universe aren’t still turning. Spider-Man: Far From Home is the gateway to […]