REVIEW: Die Hard [1988]

“Make fists with your toes” It’s become such an action classic with numerous sequels, copycats, and homages and yet Die Hard as we know it almost never was—by choice. Novelist Roderick Thorp wrote Nothing Lasts Forever, his follow-up to The Detective, thirteen years after the original because he saw The Towering Inferno and dreamt up […]

REVIEW: Elle [2016]

“It was necessary” Director Paul Verhoeven has made a career of pushing the envelope whether through violence, sex, politics, or all three wrapped together. It’s hardly surprising then that his buzzword of choice on the promotional trail for his latest Elle has been “controversial.” The word choice is appropriate considering David Birke‘s script (adapted from […]

REVIEW: Eyes Wide Shut [1999]

“Fidelio” Would you gamble everything for lust? Is thinking about infidelity as egregious an offence as the act itself? After all, faithfulness isn’t merely a construct of the physical world—our trust and respect goes beyond the exterior into the very fibers of our being to make the words “I’d never cheat on you” flow effortlessly […]

REVIEW: The Thing [1982]

“That’s going to win someone the Nobel Prize” It may not be the first adaptation of John W. Campbell Jr.‘s novella Who Goes There?, but John Carpenter‘s The Thing is definitely hailed as the most definitive. Unlike The Thing from Another World‘s humanoid adversary, Bill Lancaster (who took over screenwriting duties from an uncredited Tobe […]

REVIEW: Always Shine [2016]

“Don’t worry sweetheart. We’ll make sure you look beautiful.” Here’s a tale of two women, one-time best friends currently turned strangers. Or is it a tale of two halves: a brash, no-nonsense attitude towards identity at risk of coming off obnoxious against a meekly, non-confrontational façade meant to keep relationships devoid of conflict? If it’s […]

REVIEW: Nocturnal Animals [2016]

“Sometimes it’s not good to change things so much” One movie stood out in 2009: fashion designer Tom Ford‘s unlikely directorial debut A Single Man. It had style to spare and amazing performances (Colin Firth‘s Oscar loss was vindicated a year later), but its emotionality was its greatest strength. Ford created this tragic whirlwind and […]

REVIEW: Allied [2016]

“Look for the hummingbird” Sometimes that story you’ve had bouncing around your head needs time to gestate and your career the opportunity to blossom before it can be released upon the world. For Steven Knight it was a bit of both. Already nominated for an Oscar back in 2004 for the brilliant Dirty Pretty Things, […]

REVIEW: Pigskin [2016]

“Go Magpies!” Their publicists would be remiss not to mention that the same school Pigskin director Jake Hammond and co-writer Nicola Newton attend is that which graduated It Follows creator David Robert Mitchell. I personally couldn’t stop thinking about the latter while watching thanks to the horror underpinnings of a creepily deformed figure trailing high […]

REVIEW: Dead Bullet [2016]

“I wanted to give you everything” If you’ve seen writer/director Erik Reese‘s debut Train to Stockholm—a personal, introspective drama—the thought of him helming a down and dirty Nevadan desert revenger doesn’t necessarily come to mind. But that’s exactly what he’s done with Dead Bullet, the successful genre jump as good a calling card as any […]

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 […]