Posted in: Review

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, […]

Posted in: Review

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 […]

Posted in: Review

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 […]

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

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 […]

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

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 […]

Posted in: Review

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 […]