Posted in: Review

I’ll Find You

The movie — about a wartime romance, a wrenching separation, and a tireless quest – is called I’ll Find You. But the truly interesting discovery at its heart —at least, potentially — is the reappearance of its director. Martha Coolidge made her debut in the 1970s, when female filmmakers weren’t just criminally underrepresented – like […]

Posted in: Review

The Valet

They’re the people you don’t see. They clean your home and watch your kids. They mow your lawn and deliver your food. They’re not truly invisible, obviously. But do you ever really look them in the eye? The Valet gives one of them a starring role. Antonio is a parking attendant in Los Angeles and […]

Posted in: Review

Forbearance

Crises test our characters. But they reveal them, too. Josh and Callie Sunbury have been married for twenty-odd years, and they’ve fallen into a routine. He works a hated factory job, while trying to keep his family’s small Idaho farm afloat. She teaches at the local high school. They barely talk except to argue. And […]

Posted in: Review

Sunspot

Just how minimalist can a film get before it begins to disappear? That’s the high-stakes risk Mark Mihok seems to be taking in Sunspot, a movie which strips away all non-essentials. A few essentials too, perhaps, as it pares itself down to nearly nothing. Set in small-town New York, the film boasts a diverse cast […]

Posted in: Review

Eradication

The oddest, and perhaps longest lasting, after-effect of Covid has been the “pandemic pictures.” You know them within five minutes. Remote locations and limited sets. Small casts of characters and no crowd scenes. Lots of people talking on Zoom. They can be comedies, dramas or horror films. They can inventive, or they can be forced. […]

Posted in: Review

Take the Night

Birthday revelry collides with sibling rivalry in Take the Night, a tight little noir about a prank gone wrong, The story revolves around two sets of brothers. The first pair, William and Robert, preside over a multinational import firm. The second, Chad and Todd, are scroungers, looking for an easy and not necessarily legal payday. […]

Posted in: Review

Stalker

A consumer tip for tired viewers scrolling through streaming services late at night, looking for a nasty paranoid thriller and maybe getting confused by similar titles: Watcher is about a young woman in Romania being followed by a creepy neighbor. Stalker is about a young man in Los Angeles being followed by a creepy ride-share […]

Posted in: Review

Coast

Bored teenagers, fighting with their parents, depending fiercely on each other, driving aimlessly around their California town and wondering what’s next after high school. And convinced, whatever it is, it has to be better than this. American Graffiti, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Lady Bird — it’s not a novel story. But while Coast doesn’t […]

Posted in: Review

Locked In

What makes for good drama also often makes for low-budget filmmaking. Sticking to a small cast of characters, a single setting and a confined period of time is a great way to keep your costs low. But, as playwrights going back to the ancient Greeks knew, it’s also a way to emphasize conflict, ratchet up […]

Posted in: Review

For Hannah

Most films would be better if their screenplays had gone through just one more draft. For Hannah probably could have used one fewer. The core of the movie is a gripping little wintry noir. A desperate bank robber is trying to get out of town only to have his car break down. He trudges through […]

Posted in: Review

What We Do Next

It’s a human impulse to reach out and help. But what happens when that help turns to harm? Are we obligated to then set things right? To do whatever it takes? That’s the question raised in What We Do Next, a talky but intriguing movie from writer/director Stephen Belber. After hearing the anguish of an […]

Posted in: Review

Facing Nolan

Drama is conflict. So how do you make an exciting documentary about an unconflicted man? That’s the challenge facing Bradley Jackson, the director of Facing Nolan, a non-fiction film about baseball’s living legend, Nolan Ryan. It’s not just that this is an authorized, and therefore presumably censored, autobiography. It’s that,  what is there to censor? […]

Posted in: Review

Maysville

Think they just don’t make ‘em like that anymore? Maysville is proof they do. The Appalachian drama is set in the 1920s, but it might just as well have been filmed then, too. The violence is mostly offscreen. The only vaguely erotic moment comes when the leading lady goes for a midnight swim – in […]

Posted in: Review

Ghost Light

It is a tale told by several idiots, full of jokes and laughter, signifying nothing … but fun. That’s the basic description of Ghost Light, anyway, a good-humored black comedy featuring a lot of eccentric characters, a few good performers and several premature deaths. Think Knives Out meets the Bard. The idea has a group […]

Back to Top