Posted in: Review

Abominable

The third major animated movie about yetis in the past year, DreamWorks Animation’s Abominable is far less annoying than 2018’s Smallfoot (from Warner Animation Group) but not nearly as inventive and witty as Laika’s Missing Link from earlier this year. Abominable falls into a bland, safe middle ground, placing a yeti nicknamed Everest into a familiar story about a […]

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Hustlers

Based on a true story that went viral in a deep and revealing 2015 New York Magazine article, Hustlers takes a very specific story of former strippers building their own empire by poking holes in the golden parachutes of their wealthiest clientele and spins it into a rollicking swirl of female empowerment amid an interminable class struggle. […]

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Monos

The final shot of Alejandro Landes’ Monos encapsulates everything that the film could have been but isn’t. A group of military troops have just flown over a jungle in Colombia and rescued Rambo (Sofía Buenaventura), a former child soldier in a FARC-esque guerrilla movement called “The Organization.” As the group prepares to land in an […]

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Human Capital (2019)

The title Human Capital sounds like it should accompany a heavily researched social-issue documentary about the way that people have been turned into commodities. But Marc Meyers’ adaptation of Stephen Amidon’s 2004 novel is more of a soap opera than a polemic, although it does deal indirectly with income inequality and the dehumanizing effects of […]

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The Riot Act

It’s hard enough to capture contemporary life in a low-budget movie, so attempting authentic period detail with very limited resources is always a dicey prospect. Writer-director Devon Parks takes a big risk by setting his small-scale indie production The Riot Act in 1903, as electricity was just becoming widespread and most people still traveled via horse […]

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Don’t Let Go

The Blumhouse logo at the opening of Jacob Aaron Estes’ Don’t Let Go promises the potential for some creative budget-conscious thrills, but Don’t Let Go is unusually downbeat and somber for a Blumhouse genre movie, with a plot combining stock police-procedural elements and a supernatural twist that might have been passed over for the recent […]

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Good Boys

To criticize the humor in Good Boys for being juvenile seems sort of redundant, since the whole point of the movie is to represent the perspective of a trio of hormonal 12-year-old boys. And yet it’s still a one-note parade of repetitive low-brow jokes pretty much all based on the premise that it’s hilarious to […]

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Gwen

If you’ve ever read anything by Thomas Hardy, you’ll readily recognize the setting of William McGregor’s Gwen. Most of the film’s action takes place amid a majestic yet eerily impersonal mountain landscape in Wales. The one town we see is desolate and grimy, and its inhabitants are the kind of people who’d take pleasure in […]

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Luce

The name Luce is packed with polarizing implications. It means “light” in Italian, but it is also derived from a particular type of Pike fish that is known to be aggressive, vicious, and even cannibalistic in certain circumstances. It’s that sort of exacting duality that not only pervades and ultimately defines Luce, a film that […]

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The VelociPastor

The job of Brendan Steere’s The VelociPastor is pretty much accomplished with the title. Anyone who wants to see a movie called The VelociPastor is going to watch it regardless of the actual content, and nothing in the movie is likely to convince anyone turned off by the title to give it a second look. […]

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The Kitchen

Before The Kitchen even begins in earnest, a glaring disconnect becomes apparent. Befitting the film’s ‘70s-era setting and indie comic inspiration, the production company logos display as retro-funkified preambles to what we presume will be a film of similar attitude and flair. No such luck as the film fades in on a clean and crisp exterior […]

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Dora and the Lost City of Gold

Nickelodeon stalwart Dora the Explorer is great at teaching preschoolers about words and numbers, but she’s not exactly an exciting big-screen heroine. But Dora’s animated series has been on the air for nearly 20 years and has spawned numerous spin-offs, so like any modern corporate brand, she’s now required to headline her own movie. The […]

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Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood

Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood is unmistakably a Quentin Tarantino film while also something of a conscious step away from the acute genre immersion of the filmmaker’s recent output. As opposed to emulating the styles and genres that QT so loves, the director’s latest centers his story on the industry where those genres […]