REVIEW: The Player [1992]

“… with a heart” When thinking about a satire on Hollywood, the idea to glorify its luck, ego, and excess rather than vilify probably wouldn’t be the direction your mind gravitates towards. To some extent this may ensure the exercise will prove pointless because the message shifts from showing everything wrong that needs fixing into […]

REVIEW: Kate Plays Christine [2016]

“Blood and guts television” **SPOILERS Throughout** I didn’t completely hate Kate Plays Christine. Let me say that first off. I actually commend its attempt to ask serious questions about a serious subject such as depression and the affect its disease can have on an actor seeking to portray it onscreen. Look at Heath Ledger and […]

REVIEW: The Fits [2016]

“Home of the Lionesses” For those who like to declare how there’s no original cinema these days: I present you Anna Rose Holmer‘s coming-of-age dance drama The Fits. Yes, the most over-used genre of all received a uniquely wonderful rendition in 2016 through the eyes of an eleven-year old girl trying to find her way […]

REVIEW: Take Me To the River [2016]

“The beans have to come out of the oven” First-time feature writer/director Matt Sobel set out to create a film that allowed its viewers to become active participants in the story process and he’s succeeded. Take Me to the River is nothing if not ambiguous in a way that forces us to give meaning to […]

REVIEW: Certain Women [2016]

“She’s my lawyer. I’ve got reason to kill her.” I didn’t love Wendy and Lucy, the only Kelly Reichardt film I had thus far seen. The slow pacing and stripped-bare plot allowed for Michelle Williams to deliver a magnificent performance, but I found myself undeniably bored by the steady stream of troubles chipping away at […]

REVIEW: Inferno [2016]

“We’re a minute to midnight” America loves popcorn thrillers as much as Hollywood and that suits Dan Brown fine. Having Ron Howard and Tom Hanks take an interest in his character Robert Langdon definitely helps too, but the “bestseller” label would have been enough if lesser names attached instead. Whether or not Brown anticipated his […]

REVIEW: The Unspoken [2016]

“I repeat. Suspect present.” There are only so many iterations of the haunted house trope and yet they continue getting made. Sometimes we’re lucky with James Wan‘s The Conjuring series delivering fear along with period aesthetic and tense mood, but those are few and far between. More often we receive work trying hard to stand […]

REVIEW: The Greasy Strangler [2016]

“He likes to shout. I like to smile.” My description of Jim Hosking‘s feature directorial debut The Greasy Strangler: a gross-out, darkly obscure comedy centered on a father and son duo akin to Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunne from Dumb and Dumber that exists in a deranged parallel universe to Napoleon Dynamite as directed by […]

REVIEW: In a Valley of Violence [2016]

“I stopped listening to men like you a long time ago” Ti West‘s western In a Valley of Violence might have been great if it allowed itself to become the serious revenge thriller it sporadically proves. A dark drama able to embrace the weight of its characters’ turmoil appears once you remove Karen Gillan‘s over-the-top […]

REVIEW: American Honey [2016]

“What about you? What’s your dream?” Welcome to our disenfranchised youth. That’s exactly what Andrea Arnold puts front and center with her latest film American Honey: miscreants getting high, road tripping, and lying their way to a few bucks meant to continue the nomadic journey’s unending party. Led by outside-the-box entrepreneur Krystal (Riley Keough), this […]

REVIEW: The Monster [2016]

“I wish you listened more” Monster movies are tough because there’s a desire to go full bore into cat and mouse chaos or metaphorical symbolism. Things get muddled when both are attempted at once without the correct balance. I’m not saying picking one or the other always spells success—writer/director Bryan Bertino‘s debut The Strangers ultimately […]