Posted in: Review

On the Rocks

Sofia Coppola may have downgraded her ambitions with her seventh feature, On the Rocks, but that doesn’t mean she’s come close to selling out. A gentle comedy about the rocky relationship between a father and daughter, On the Rocks feels like a personal story, and there’s a temptation to search for a reflection of Coppola’s relationship […]

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Possessor

David Cronenberg hasn’t made a movie since 2014’s Maps to the Stars, but his son Brandon has taken up his legacy of calculated, disturbing body horror in the intervening years. Brandon Cronenberg’s new film Possessor feels very much like the kind of movie his dad would have made, while also forging its own distinct path. […]

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Antebellum

For its first 40 minutes or so, Antebellum is virtually indistinguishable from a standard historical drama about the Civil War-era South. On a cotton plantation somewhere in the South, there are cruel masters who berate and abuse the slaves, while the slaves conspire in hushed whispers with each other to plan an escape that may […]

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Shooting Heroin

When you see what most “faith-based” films turn out like, it’s a sin. Modestly budgeted indies made for church-going audiences, their aims are small and their methods predictable. They star a publicly devout actor. They have a central tragedy, which makes the hero question his faith. And then he finds it again, and all is […]

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The Personal History of David Copperfield

It’s unlikely that anyone would ever characterize a Charles Dickens novel as breezy, but that’s exactly the impression that comes from Armando Iannucci’s Dickens adaptation The Personal History of David Copperfield. Iannucci and co-writer Simon Blackwell attempt to include as much of Dickens’ 800-plus-page novel as possible into a two-hour film, turning the sprawling epic […]

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Toss It

The romantic comedy Toss It starts with someone flipping a coin – but ultimately it’s the audience that’s the loser. The lead actress is unappealingly cold. The script is overly talky. And the director seems unsure of how to help the star, or the screenwriter, solve their problems. Of course, the fact that the director […]

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Burning Dog

Video games are not movies, but a lot of movie makers haven’t gotten the message. Every so often, directors still try to turn at-home entertainment into an in-theater event. Problem is, they’re different things meant for different audiences. Film fans love movies that tell them a story. Gamers like to tell the story themselves. Burning […]

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Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga

The Eurovision Song Contest is inherently goofy, which proves to be a problem for the attempt to parody it in Netflix original movie Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga. The annual event features countries across Europe (and beyond) competing with original songs performed in over-the-top production numbers, and it’s a celebration of unabashedly […]

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In Bright Axiom

It’s entirely possible (and even likely) that quite a lot of the material in Spencer McCall’s documentary In Bright Axiom is complete hokum. The movie itself is a chronicle of hokum, documenting the performance art project and alternate reality game known as Latitude, created by Bay Area artist and entrepreneur Jeff Hull. Hull’s work was […]

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Chameleon

Almost anyone is capable of anything, and in noir, they’re always capable of much worse. More of a mood than a genre, film noir is filled with sadistic husbands, femme fatales and poor jerks who always get left holding the bag. There are no happy endings. Sometimes there’s barely an ending at all. The tight, […]

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Soundwave

Movie characters should know by now not to invent world-changing devices in their home workshops, because it’s only going to lead to them being chased by nefarious government or corporate agents. That’s exactly what happens to Ben Boyles (Hunter Doohan) in the scrappy low-budget sci-fi movie Soundwave, which makes the most of its simple premise […]

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Bad Education

Cory Finley’s 2017 debut feature Thoroughbreds was a strikingly original vision from the playwright-turned-filmmaker, but for his follow-up, Finley steps back a bit, working from someone else’s screenplay adapting a magazine article about real-life events. Bad Education is clever and funny and very well-acted, but it’s not the kind of bold artistic statement that puts […]