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Out in Theaters: ‘MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: FALLOUT’

I have a confession to make. There’s this thing that happens to people who review movies on any kind of quasi-professional circuit. A kind of numbing of the enthusiasm gland by proxy of the inability to overlook a film’s shortcomings. The more movies one takes in, the more unavoidable it is to not diagnose lazy writing, poor story structure, bland acting, choppy VFX… The collection of pratfalls these XXL “turn your brain off” tentpole films tend to suffer. When you see 200 movies a year, the bar to dazzle becomes impossibly high. What works for general audiences who catch a movie every few months often feels flat and stale for the critic – just another coat of crisp digital paint lazily slathered on poorly recycled narrative – because we’ve already seen this exact story twice this year.  Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘HEREDITARY’ 

Every once in a blue moon, there comes a horror movie that’s legitimately capital-T terrifying. One that’ll cause your eyes to dart around the dark stillness of the theater at the smallest creak. One that’ll hitchhike a ride home with you to invade your dreams; an unabortable mental pregnancy. One whose delirious imagery will burn into your cranium as if doused in paint thinner and struck by a match. I am happy to report that A24’s Hereditary, dear readers, is just that kind of movie. It’ll take your damn head off. Read More

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Out in Theaters: ’TULLY’

Parenting is perpetual sacrifice. Or so says Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody, the directing-writing duo behind poppy cult classic Juno, with their comeback collaboration Tully. A dramatic comedy or comedic drama, depending on how you want to look at it, Tully is a soaring success no matter what box you want to put it in; a well-meaning, deeply felt, irreverently mature exploration of growing pains and adulating. Charlize Theron is a knock-one in this deliriously enjoyable feature that has no short supply of wit, bite and verve with a shot of mindfuck mixed in to boot.  Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘A QUIET PLACE’

Put your phones on silent bitches. A Quiet Place, a masterfully disquieting creature feature from The Office alum John Krasinski, simply will not stand for interruption. Taking pages from the books of Hitchcock, Argento, and Spielberg, Krasinski skillfully weaves together a sharply intelligent, emotionally involving and blisteringly suspenseful chamber-piece that layers a uniquely “silent” horror film in with a very personal treatise on the challenges of parenthood.  Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘ANNIHILATION’

Alex Garland, the visionary writer-director behind Ex Machina, obsesses over ideas of what it means to be human. With Ex Machina, he explored the inception of A.I. and how true artificial intelligence blurs the line between human and “other” to dizzying, disorienting and apocalyptic result. In his writing effort Never Let Me Go, Garland posed similar – if less refined – questions, posing an analogous emotional experiment with clones as the test subject, begging his audience to work out what separates “us” from “them”. “If they feel, are they not too human?” was the central thrust and this idea has continue to haunt Garland’s films. Never Let Me Go was a lesser effort but came from a place of ripe ideology and artistic thoughtfulness, traits which Garland has never lacked and has gone on to define to great effect. Read More

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50 Most Anticipated Movies of 2018

Ahhh 2018. A year of promise. Of renewed hope. Of unlimited possibility. I advise you do your best to not  pay attention to the commander in chief’s tweets and bury your hand in the collective sand that is an unhealthy obsession with movies. Tis the very best medicine and nothing gets me more jazzed about covering the industry than looking at the year ahead and seeing just how many potential gems lay in wait. Each and every year I tell myself I’m not going to bother doing a Top 50 Most Anticipated Movies List. That someone else will do the work for me and I can just retweet it. And yet every year we get the same retreads, boring, blockbuter-loaded lists ad nauseam. Here goes my attempt to right that wrong.  Read More

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Top Ten Movies of 2017

’Tis an annual (w)rite of passage for every film critic to force themselves into a pretzel declaring their top ten favorite films of the year. It’s a stressful, painful experience that almost always ends in regret. Looking back at Top Tens of years past, I always groan with certain inclusions – films that haven’t weathered quite so well – and lament other omissions – films that have grown on me like a fine wine or well-worn pair of slippers. But we toil on regardless, sure to churn out a list loaded with recency bias that we’ll look back on one, two, ten years from now, pockets loaded with exasperated groans. In short, it’s a pain rite of passage even though writing these passages is probably the most fundamental requirement for every critic and inevitably draw the most page views.  Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘THE SHAPE OF WATER’

Far and away the best of Guillermo del Toro’s English language features, The Shape of Water, like Dr. Frankenstein stitching together disparate appendages, conjoins the romanticism of the 1930s Classic Universal Monsters Movies, the conspiratorial grit of the 70s  Hammer Films and a splash of Max, Mon Amour to craft a truly one-of-a-kind, genre-bending splat of modern monster cinema. Breathtaking, adorable and fundamentally weird as hell, The Shape of Water is a slice of well-germinated fan fiction that’s so much more than its leaflet thin description of Deaf Girl falls for Fish Man could possibly describe. Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI’ 

There are many words you can’t say on a billboard but in Martin McDonagh’s darkly comic and borderline brilliant Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri calling out the local sheriff for failing to bring to justice a rapist, arsonist and murderer is fair game. At least from a legal standpoint. This is the set-up for a crime saga unlike any other, McDonagh’s film a foul-mouthed mystery brimming with colorful characters, its jet-black tone and surprising emotionality capable of causing fits of laughter and bouts of urgent somberness in what is one of the best films of 2017. Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER’

No one makes ‘em like Yorgos Lanthimos, the Greek auteur/comedic sadist responsible for such cinephelic gems as Dogtooth and The Lobster. Taking much of the same human-as-reporters-of-fact Wes Anderson forthrightness and filtering it through a lens of awkward depravity, The Killing of a Sacred Deer follows pace with The Lobster, wherein singles mingled forcibly lest they be hunted down by a strictly coupled off society. This is something even more dark, otherworldly and delirious where coupledom proves a debilitating battle of wits and parents have little loyalty.   Read More