Reviews

Review: “Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them”

On the surface, it's easy to dismiss "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" as a cynical cash-grab squeezed from a lucrative franchise. It comes as a pleasant surprise that it proves there's still new ground to tred in...

Review: “Arrival”

The timing of "Arrival" is rather fitting, seeing that it is a brainy, ambitious, and hopeful science fiction drama about breaking a seemingly unbreachable language barrier, hitting theaters just a scant few days after one of the most rancorous...

Review: “Doctor Strange”

Criticising a superhero film, particularly Marvel films, often comes with a thousand word disclaimer. One must qualify that you're not holding the film up to the level of expectations for other entries in the MCU canon which have admittedly...

Review: “Hacksaw Ridge”

Mel Gibson has returned to the director's chair after a ten-year absence, and his war film "Hacksaw Ridge" proves to be a worthy effort. It's a blunt-force, but highly effective treatise on the horrors of war as well as...

Review: “The Birth of a Nation”

Writer, director, and actor Nate Parker's ambitious telling of Nat Turner's 1831 slave revolt is timely movie; it's also a missed opportunity, a tepid tale hamstrung by Parker's limited experience and the constraints of biopic filmmaking. The title itself is...

Review: “The Girl on the Train”

At last, a movie that answers the burning question: "What would a large-budget, big screen Lifetime channel potboiler play like?" Sadly, that answer is "deadly dull and obscenely morose." "The Girl on the Train" was a no-brainer in terms of...

Review: “Blair Witch”

The first highly successful found-footage horror flick, "The Blair Witch Project" (1999) never really lived up to its potential as a film or a franchise. The concept and the mythology behind it were solid, but like its ill-fated cast...

Review: “Morgan”

It's tempting to describe "Morgan" as a poor man's "Ex Machina" or a more competent "Transcendence," but to do so would be reductive and a little unfair. Sure, it's a pulpy B-grade sci-fi thriller, but it's a sleek, smart,...

Review: “Ben-Hur”

It's almost impressive that director Timur Bekmambetov ("Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter") had the gumption to remake a cinematic icon like "Ben-Hur". Unfortunately, that's the extent of his daring. He opts to play it safe and more than a little...

Review: “Kubo and the Two Strings”

LAIKA Studios continues its streak of smart, idiosyncratic, and quirky animated features with the stunning "Kubo and the Two Strings". The makers of "Coraline," "ParaNorman," and "The Boxtrolls" not only continues to up its game which each successive film,...

Review: “Sausage Party”

An eight-year passion project from the thoroughly baked minds of Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, and Evan Goldberg, "Sausage Party" is a hilariously vulgar and unabashedly pointed satire on religion and send-up of the Pixar formula. At last, an animated...

Review: “Suicide Squad”

It was a flawless premise in theory: an adaptation of a comic book series in which a team of low-level super-villains are pressed into going on deadly, off-the-books missions in exchange for time off for sort-of-good behavior, written and...

Review: “Jason Bourne”

It's ironic and inevitable that after four movies a franchise about a super-spy/super-soldier with amnesia would start to develop a feeling of deja vu. Its predecessors have always been cutting edge, gritty, faced-paced, timely, and raw in their sensibilities;...

Review: “Star Trek Beyond”

There was a lot of concern when Justin Lin was announced as the director of "Star Trek Beyond," and it was amplified when the action-oriented first trailer for it dropped. It turns that some new blood and a fresh...

Review: “Ghostbusters” (2016)

Paul Feig's relaunch of "Ghostbusters" was slimed by controversy from the get-go. Depending on whom you asked it was either Hollywood at its money-grabbing and creativity-bankrupt worst, a feminist broadsides of some sort; or some much-needed nostalgia subversion. Truth be...

Review: “The Legend of Tarzan”

Less pompous than "Greystoke" (1984) but more cartoonish than Disney's 1999 animated version of the material, "The Legend of Tarzan" is pretty to look at but ultimately hollow and occasionally shoddy. This latest adaptation of Edgar Rice Burrough's pulp character...

Review: “The Shallows”

A fun piece of throwaway cinema, "The Shallows" is a sleek, beautifully shot, and mostly satisfying thriller that plays it smart and simple, only faltering by opting for a schlocky climax. It's not the new Jaws by any stretch...

Review: “Warcraft”

You can tell there is a lot of heart and effort that went into the making of "Warcraft," which makes its artistic failure as a would-be fantasy epic all the more depressing. Hackneyed and cliched, it tries to rise...

Review: “The Nice Guys”

"The Nice Guys" plays like a sequel-in-spirit to Black's brilliant and oft-overlooked directorial debut, "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang". This time around, Black takes to the City of Angels circa the late 1970s. Ryan Gosling plays Holland March a widower...

Review: “Captain America: Civil War”

Writers-directors Joe and Anthony Russo have impressively crafted a movie that functions as a sequel for both the "Avengers" and "Captain America" movies, as well as one that further paves the way for the upcoming "Avengers: Infinity War" two-parter....

Review: “Midnight Special”

As mid-level budget filmmaking wanes and decent visual effects become quite affordable, we're seeing more and more genre filmmaking exploring big ideas and themes in a way that often makes a very small scale film feel large. Filmmaker Jeff...

Review: “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”

That 'Dawn of Justice' works as much as it does is a surprise. From the get-go the film has been saddled with immense pressure to right the wrongs of the often tedious "Man of Steel," to smash together two...

Review: “10 Cloverfield Lane”

Let's clarifying something up front: "10 Cloverfield Lane" isn't a sequel to J.J. Abrams' 2008 giant monster-takes-Manhattan flick "Cloverfield" - at least not a direct one. It is, at most, a companion piece, one whose connection to the other...

Review: “Knight of Cups”

Muddled, aimless, indecipherable, and shallow, Terence Malick's "Knight of Cups" is one of the most insufferable slogs in recent cinema, a soul-crushing waste of a fine cast and some genuinely stunning photography by recent Academy Award winner Emmanuel Luzbecki...

Review: “Triple 9”

There's a lot of appeal in the idea of "Triple 9": It's a gritty crime drama about a couple of good cops caught in the machinations between a bunch of dirty cops and Russian-Israeli mobsters boasting an all-star cast,...

Review: “Deadpool”

Deadpool may be the comic book movie spoof to end all comic book movie spoofs. It playfully and cleverly deflates the conventions and cliches of superhero flicks - as well as its own damn self - with the snarky,...

Review: “Hail, Caesar!”

Joel and Ethan Coen make a welcome and long-awaited return to comedy with "Hail, Caesar!," a slap-happy valentine to the Technicolor heyday of Hollywood that lands somewhere between the trippy brilliance of "The Big Lebowski" and the goofball parable...

Review: “The Revenant”

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's ("Birdman") fact-based frontier revenge saga "The Revenant" has an unnerving way of lodging itself in the back of one's mind for days. Equal parts beautiful and brutal, it's easily one of the most unsettling films of...

Review: “The Hateful Eight”

Quentin Tarantino is a self-indulgent as ever with his eighth (or ninth, depending on how you choose to catalog Kill Bill) motion picture, which is both a good and bad thing. His pacing and story structure idiosyncratic, and he...

Review: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" isn't a perfect movie (none are), but it is a damn good one that delivers the goods. It pay homage to its predecessors, stays true to its source, and opens up George Lucas' creation...

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