Posted in: Review

Late Night

There’s an inherent disconnect that runs through this film very plainly and definitively titled Late Night: it seems completely out of step with the rhythms of late night television. Scene after scene depicts late night monologues and interviews with an awkwardness that compounds as the film progresses, since apparently none of the enormous comedic talents […]

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Long Shot

As a title, Long Shot is appropriately multi-functional. This unlikely-romance-meets-political-fairytale sells itself on the surface pun of a Seth Rogen-Charlize Theron romantic pairing, though frankly, the whole “stoner runt hooks up with woman spectacularly out of his league” is a running theme in nearly every R-rated comedy within the now decade-and-a-half of the Apatow era. […]

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The Intruder

In this age of expanded exhibition, where critics and fans and Film Twitter argue ceaselessly about the ideal venue or screen on which to view motion pictures, I hold a very strong opinion about the ideal format for The Intruder. This film should be released exclusively at seedy drive-in theaters, where the environment is balmy, […]

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Vice

Perspective is the key to any comprehensive study of a historical figure – anyone tackling such an endeavor has to consider whether there is enough distance and hindsight to properly contextualize the person’s actions and role in the scheme of history. When Oliver Stone made W. in 2008, one key criticism – among the myriad – […]

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Destroyer

Nicole Kidman’s face has been the centerpiece of discussion on Destroyer since production stills were first released. It makes sense as an eye-grabber, the ravaged, craggy visage in such stark contrast to the porcelain perfection with which we usually associate Kidman. Indeed, Kidman’s face is the canvas on which the film is painted, a portrait […]

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Mary Poppins Returns

In the midst of Disney’s IP regeneration bonanza, as the studio proceeds to unearth its hallowed classics and reformat them as modern-day mega-blockbusters, Mary Poppins Returns takes a sort of refreshing turn for the nostalgic. Make no mistake, this 54-years-later sequel to one of Disney’s most celebrated films is obviously a bottom-line cash-in move for the […]

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Boy Erased

Boy Erased is about as well-intentioned as a movie can be while still shamelessly misrepresenting the subject it so staunchly supports. There’s no question that its heart is in the right place, that writer-director Joel Edgerton is a fierce supporter of the LGBTQ community. But on the basis of the finished film, which alternates between uneasy […]

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First Man

First Man opens with an enthralling sequence in which a young Neil Armstrong makes a perilous ascent into the outer atmosphere as an X-15 test pilot. Through a torrent of environmental interference, after struggling with equipment that seems destined to fail him, Armstrong stabilizes his aircraft and breaks through to the edge of the atmosphere. In […]

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The Oath

Family Thanksgivings are always awkward, but especially so when the traditional familial arguments descend into a violent showdown with rogue Homeland Security agents. So unfolds the apocryphal scenario in The Oath, which envisions a hypothetical future in which our current president’s dalliance with totalitarianism becomes functional policy and citizens are given a deadline to sign […]

Posted in: Review

Venom

In this particular comic book boom in cinema history, when superhero adaptations are almost stubbornly efficient in terms of both frequency and relative quality, it’s almost refreshing to witness a good old-fashioned mess. Enter Venom, which is inarguably an incoherent quasi-disaster, albeit one that is nevertheless occasionally entertaining, sometimes on purpose and other times in […]

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Peppermint

Peppermint opens with a claustrophobic white-knuckle sequence of blunt force brutality – Jennifer Garner, its headlining star, swiftly and nearly wordlessly kicking the ass of a thug, even within the limiting confines of a beat-up old car. “Remember me?” she whispers to the thug, and surely he does. I remember, too – the short scene, […]