Posted in: Review

Demonic

It’s been six years since Neill Blomkamp’s last feature film, and in the meantime he’s been attached to failed franchise reboots (Alien, RoboCop) and has been quietly making short films with his Oats Studios company. Blomkamp’s new indie feature Demonic feels like an outgrowth of those proof-of-concept short films, a thinly conceived genre story that exists […]

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Free Guy

We’re all the main characters of our own stories, but in other people’s stories the best we can hope for is a supporting role. In Free Guy, endearing lonely-heart bank teller Guy (Ryan Reynolds) learns he’s nothing more than a background character in the story he’s unwittingly a part of. When he decides to change […]

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Beckett

After debuting on opening night at this year’s Locarno Film Festival, Beckett arrives on Netflix as another in a long line of films about ordinary men caught up in extraordinary circumstances. The movie takes obvious cues from ’70s thrillers like Three Days of the Condor and Hitchcock masterpieces like North by Northwest, yet director Ferdinando […]

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CODA

CODA lives on the very thin and dangerous line between transcendent crowd-pleaser and overwhelming manipulation. In fact, its screenplay functions like a constant one-two punch, disarming the audience with a heavy dose of conventional schmaltz before delivering a blow of deeply resonant emotion. Its rapturous response at this year’s Sundance Film Festival – where it […]

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Camp Wedding

Having a wedding can be a scream. A tongue-in-cheek tribute to old slasher films, Camp Wedding revolves around Mia – which is only fitting, because she thinks the whole world should revolve around her. A bridezilla on a mission, she’s planned a special destination-wedding for her nuptials. The only problem is, the destination she’s picked […]

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The Suicide Squad

Maybe it’s just the source material? That’s one plausible conclusion to reach on the back end of The Suicide Squad, James Gunn’s quasi-sequel, quasi-reboot (rebooquel?) to the unmitigated disaster that was David Ayer’s 2016 Suicide Squad, since the new film falls prey to the same minefield that blew up the original. Mercifully, Gunn’s film at […]

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Pig

We open on a green, misty forest somewhere in Oregon. Out there, isolated in the depths of the foliage, there sits a cabin, ramshackle and isolated, where we follow the apparent daily customs of a grizzled man…and his loyal pig. There’s a certain shabby enchantment to the environment, so removed from our everyday understanding of […]

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When Today Ends

Every day, more than 3000 high school students attempt suicide. When Today Ends is the story of three of them. The suicide crisis among young people is a mental-health epidemic, and one that many novels and movies – like television’s controversial 13 Reasons Why – have explored. Michael Leoni, who directed and wrote this film, […]

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Whirlybird

Whirlybird is a portrait documentary that operates on three different levels. First, it’s a sprawling chronicle of the rise of “eye-witness” news in 1980s Los Angeles. More acutely, it charts the use of helicopters as a primary tool of news organizations to capture and transmit live footage for sensationalistic stories. Most intriguingly, however, the film […]

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6:45

Screams like old times… The horror film 6:45 uses what had been a fresh story-telling gimmick when Groundhog Day did it, but lately has begun to go a little stale: The time loop. Think Source Code, The Final Girls, Edge of Tomorrow, or Happy Death Day. The template is easy: Oh no, someone’s trying to […]

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Caged

Sometimes the scariest thing of all is nothing. Literally. No person to talk to. No books to read. No changes, no surprises — nothing. Because that’s what solitary confinement is. And that is why it drives people mad. It’s also the story behind Caged, a taut new film that’s part character study, part mystery, part […]

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12 Mighty Orphans

Just because something sounds corny, doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Or isn’t good. 12 Mighty Orphans plays like a lot of other inspirational sports movies. There’s a dedicated coach. A team of underdogs, facing personal challenges and met with public scorn. A drunken old man, a couple of villains and, in the end, some kind […]

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Parallel Love: The Story of a Band Called Luxury

For some fans, rock-and-roll replaces religion. For the members of Luxury, it was the other way around. A beloved cult favorite of the early-’90s, the original four musicians — Glenn Black, Chris Foley, and brothers Lee and Jamey Bozeman – fired up fans with driving beats and dreamy lyrics. Then came a car crash. A […]

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Jungle Cruise

Jungle Cruise is the latest film based on a Disney theme park attraction, and fans will be delighted by the handful of obvious nods (puns, so many puns!) and Easter eggs (Dr. Albert Falls! Trader Sam!) referencing the iconic ride. If only the movie’s plot weren’t so convoluted and derivative. Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra from […]

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The Exchange

The Exchange centers on Tim Long (Ed Oxenbould) a teenager in small-town Canada in 1986 who chafes against his fellow residents’ lack of sophistication. This has resulted in an isolated, friendless existence where Tim would rather hang out with the curmudgeonly janitor at City Hall than kids his own age at the local hockey rink. […]

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Nine Days

We are each the main character in our own story. And in life’s more chaotic moments, it’s easy to think we’re living through our own TV show. Moments of high drama flatten our spirits. Our embarrassments function like screwball comedy. Moments of unspeakable irony make us wonder who’s turning the screws. Each day is a […]

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Old

There is a movie inside Old that flows organically out of its characters, driven by their fears, desires, and regrets, generating a clear-eyed and affecting metaphor for the speed with which life passes us by, and our inherent unwillingness to slow down long enough to savor every moment. It’s as eloquent a thematic underpinning as […]