• Online Film Critics Society Ballot 2016

    Below is my December 31st ballot for the 20th annual Online Film Critics Society Awards honoring movies released domestically in the United States during the 2016 calendar year. Group winners are highlighted in red. Best Picture #1Moonlight. #2Manchesterby the Sea #3Arrival. #4Jackie. #5The Witch. #6Hell orHigh Water #7La La Land. #8O.J.: Madein America #9The Handmaiden. […]

  • REVIEW: Fences [2016]

    “A fastball on the outside corner” It seems that many people have been docking points from Denzel Washington‘s latest directorial effort Fences by labeling it as “too theatrical.” Well, that’s somewhat hard to avoid when you’re dealing with August Wilson‘s Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play and its wall-to-wall dialogue touching upon love, responsibility, race, […]

  • REVIEW: La La Land [2016]

    “Or one more dream that I cannot make true” Writer/director Damien Chazelle burst onto the scene in 2014 on the back of his Oscar-nominated and critical darling Whiplash. It took this jazz drummer time to finally breakthrough with his sophomore feature, time that saw actors and producers taking a risk on him that would ultimately […]

  • REVIEW: Manchester by the Sea [2016]

    “I can’t beat it” It’s hard to imagine a Manchester by the Sea directed by Matt Damon and starring John Krasinski, but that was the original plan. They actually brought the idea to Kenneth Lonergan—Damon acted in one of his friend’s plays on stage and also his sophomore film Margaret. Hollywood is tough, though. Schedules […]

  • REVIEW: Jackie [2016]

    “When something’s written down—does that make it true?” It’s rather intriguing how we feel we know our presidents. They represent us as a leader of the free world and we in turn love them enough to mourn their passing even when it’s decades after their run in the Oval Office ceased. But what is it […]



film reviews

REVIEW: Collateral Beauty [2016]

“If only we could be strangers again” There’s a moment in the trailer for Collateral Beauty where Helen Mirren‘s character of “Death” is talking to someone that we cannot quite see but definitely know isn’t Will Smith. This was an intriguing “a-ha” moment for me because the premise of Allan Loeb‘s script—which passed through Alfonso […]

REVIEW: Before the Flood [2016]

“It kind of looks like Mordor” You have to give Leonardo DiCaprio credit because he’s taken his title of UN Messenger of Peace with focus on climate change to heart. He spent three years traveling the world (when not shooting The Revenant in a contextually relevant location experiencing a warm enough winter to necessitate a […]

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: SiREN [2016]

“You can’t miss a memory you’ll never remember” Adapted from the segment “Amateur Night” from anthology film V/H/S, Gregg Bishop‘s SiREN intrigued me mainly because he didn’t create the original. That’s how impactful producers felt this vignette proved, enough to spark interest for an expansion beyond its creative team. David Bruckner—the source material’s director and […]

REVIEW: Trolls [2016]

“I think I had sarcasm once” Depending on what you read, the genesis of Trolls is quite fascinating as original director Anand Tucker was to helm an adaptation of Terry Pratchett‘s Bromeliad trilogy about tiny humanoids in 2010. Did that project ultimately evolve into the glitter vomit Walt Dohrn and Mike Mitchell provide us today? […]

REVIEW: Moana [2016]

“Beat the drum” It’s tough to give two white guys the benefit of the doubt when it comes to spearheading a blockbuster feature-length animated film about Ancient Polynesian mythology, but you cannot deny that Disney stalwarts Ron Clements and John Musker did what they could to ensure Moana stayed true to their subject’s traditions and […]

REVIEW: Inner Workings [2016]

“Boring, Boring & Glum” When the title of the film is Inner Workings and its conceit is to personify a human character’s internal physiology, comparisons to Inside Out are unavoidable. Not even the delineation that Leonardo Matsuda‘s short deals with organs rather than emotions can help if you have your mind set on an ill-advised […]

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: Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk [2016]

“What else is there?” Here’s an Oscar-winning director doing something no one else has—shoot an entire film at 120 frames per second (standard is 24, the previous high 48 with The Hobbit)—and movie theaters couldn’t accommodate. At a time when it’s difficult to get butts in seats with Netflix and VOD, an opportunity for a […]

REVIEW: Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens [Nosferatu] [1922]

“Does this word not sound like the deathbird calling your name at midnight?” Every copy of F.W. Murnau‘s Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens [Nosferatu] should have been destroyed. It was with good reason too considering the German based production house Prana hired Henrik Galeen to “loosely” adapt Bram Stoker‘s Dracula without permission. The estate sued […]

REVIEW: Arrival [2016]

“A desire for more cows” While Arrival is very much a Denis Villeneuve film right down to the similarities between his lead Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams)—thrust into an overwhelming military-run situation and doing her best to hold it accountable—with that of Sicario‘s Kate Macer as well as a visually surreal callback to the much-talked […]

REVIEW: The Edge of Seventeen [2016]

“You should look out for run-on sentences” If you ever wondered what a John Hughes movie would look like without the cutesy cliché and overblown 1980s caricatured comedic appeal, Kelly Fremon Craig‘s The Edge of Seventeen is it. So don’t treat the talk about it being a “twenty-first century Hughes” film as hyperbole or a […]

REVIEW: Numb [2016]

“See you at the next meeting?” Story construction becomes crucial when you only have ten minutes to move from start to finish and oftentimes a linear progression is best. I use Penelope Lawson‘s Numb as an example because the bones of its plot are good despite its unorthodox orchestration ruining its potential to resonate. Set […]

REVIEW: Cameraperson [2016]

“You’re making me cry even though I don’t understand the language” The camera doesn’t lie. It captures private moments, immortalizes public, and adds ten pounds (so maybe it does). It shows a world we can never see: at once untouched perfection and fabricated by the operator’s gaze. And as those among us age and forget, […]

REVIEW: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them [2016]

“Worrying means you suffer twice” After seven books, eight movies, and a play, the Harry Potter universe has become an expansive property no one wants to see die. Pottermore kept the fandom alive online with exclusive stories and quizzes bringing you into Hogwarts while author J.K. Rowling‘s textbooks added flavor and raised over seventeen million […]