Posted in: Review

The Gift

The past comes back to haunt the characters in Joel Edgerton’s effective thriller The Gift, a riff on the stalker psycho slow burn examples of the genre which populated pay cable and the direct-to-video market during the ’80s and ’90s. It’s not about jump scares and false starts. Instead, as a first time filmmaker, Edgerton […]

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Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

When the history of Tom Cruise’s career is written, the Mission: Impossible movies might end up as nothing more than a footnote. These effective action efforts, using the spy genre and its thriller elements as the foundation for an auteur-based franchise, really isn’t about acting. Sure, it takes a performer with some level of skill […]

Posted in: Review

Southpaw

Southpaw struggles. It has the weight of one of Jake Gyllenhaal’s best performances, but a pedigree that wastes it under a sea of cinematic melodrama. A drinking game could be invented where imbibers are asked to “spot the boxing cliché” and down a drink, though that would require an FDA warning label — “Beware of […]

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Trainwreck

The RomCom gets a reprieve from its status on cinematic Death Row with Trainwreck. Amy Schumer, this year’s humor “it” girl has crafted a brilliant starring vehicle that purposely encapsulates her activist/anarchist feminism, using the blonde bimbo stereotype (only smartened up, significantly) to make a statement about gender identity in 2015. This is a movie […]

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Ant-Man

Failure seemed imminent on Ant-Man after Edgar Wright, the man whose skewed perspective, anarchic sense of humor, and whiz-bang visual style promised to breathe vibrant life into this story of a superhero also-ran, exited the project due to “creative differences.” Surely, those differences had to do with Marvel stifling Wright’s gonzo independent vision, enveloping this […]

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The Stanford Prison Experiment

For a college student in the ‘80s and ‘90s who took Psychology 101 classes, one of the key moments of the semester was in studying the groundbreaking psychological experiments in social control and obedience to authority and watching the educational films that supported them. The granddaddy of these films, usually projected through a rickety, worn-out […]

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Minions

Minions is the cinematic equivalent of someone offering an origin story to Willy Wonka’s Oompa Loompas. It’s Igor’s time to shine, an 88 minute journey into sidekick minutia. It looks amazing and provides parents enough ’60s nostalgia to make up for its lack of a legitimate narrative. Indeed, once our yellow pill-shaped “people” find their […]

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The Gallows

When will Hollywood stop with the found footage horror film? Better yet, when will audiences stop paying for them? The Blair Witch Project is now over 16 years old and yet filmmakers can’t give up on its on-the-cheap lottery leanings. A quick $5 million spent and you can reap untold, Paranormal Activity-esque rewards — and […]

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Cartel Land

Cartel Land’s telling of the Mexican drug war is enough to set Donald Trump’s floppy hair on fire. Matthew Heineman‘s courageous documentary examines three factions within this unthinkably brutal setting: The vicious, drug-dealing power gangs ruining Mexican towns, the makeshift American militia who man the border, and – oh, here’s where Trump scratches his empty […]

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Amy

Before becoming a punch line for tabloid-huffing, talkshow-loving misery vampires, Amy Winehouse wasn’t just a star talent, she was a constellation unto herself. Bursting into the moribund pop music scene of the early 2000s with verve and danger, she came on like some savvier Billie Holiday in a field of Auto-Tune tarts. There’s a heavy dose […]