Category Archives: Film Reviews
“The script by Geneva Robertson-Dworet & Alastair Siddons is largely functional, built with a sort of A-B-C plodding literal-mindedness that never really swept me away like a great adventure movie can, but there are some good choices in the film — including its leading lady,” writes Drew McWeeny.
“The movie only really starts to get interesting as the weak characters start being picked off one by one,” says Edward Douglas.
Drew McWeeny says that Wes Anderson’s latest is “brimming over with love and a sly sense of play that makes it one of the most instantly enjoyable of Anderson’s films.”
“There’s a visual ambition here that I found striking, but not every book makes an easy translation to the screen. I want to see filmmakers subvert and challenge the status quo even as they make Disney blockbusters, and if the results don’t quite connect, at least we see new voices dreaming big in new ways,” writes Drew McWeeny.
“There’s nothing particularly groundbreaking here in terms of storytelling, and it seems like a fairly trivial waste of its two leads,” says Edward Douglas.
“I’m not sure what to make of Bruce Willis as an actor these days. This is a weird performance, full-stop. Not good. Not bad. Weird. Willis hasn’t been seen in a theatrical lead role since 2013, and he’s oddly inexpressive these days,” writes Drew McWeeny.
“The Ritual won’t surprise fans of the genre by breaking some rich new narrative ground, but it may surprise them in terms of how controlled and rewarding it is by the end,” writes Drew McWeeny.
“There are actually two movies unfolding side-by-side here, and one of those stories is more interesting than the other. There’s a lot of good work in Mute, but my biggest problem with the film has to do with the way those stories finally come together,” writes Drew McWeeny.
“It’s harrowing and beautiful and oddly emotional, but I also get it if someone doesn’t get the same thing out of that final act. Garland took a big swing here, and it’s hard to complain about Paramount’s choice to let the director keep his vision for the film intact,” writes Drew McWeeny.
“Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams are enormously likable on their own, but paired, they are exponentially more so. She tempers some of his sarcastic edge, while he brings out a sharper side of her, and the combination proves quite winning,” writes Drew McWeeny.
Ali Soozandeh’s first film to get a U.S. theatrical release deals with a number of interlocking stories dealing with the antiquated religious beliefs in Iran that hold women back, while male dominance and sexism thrives.
“Considering how much of the film is about the power built into any sexual exchange, it’s interesting to see how Francis Lawrence avoids the easy ‘male gaze’ traps of the genre. The film doesn’t feel like it’s objectifying its star, who clearly shares a certain trust with her director,” writes Drew McWeeny.
“Simply put, Black Panther is a thrilling fantasy-adventure with a vivid new palette, a superhero film that manages to feel like it packs in about eight different types of modern blockbusters into one big sprawling introduction to a world that is so big that it feels like the screen’s barely able to hold it all,” writes Drew McWeeny.
“Once again, Netflix has spun gold out of creating a cultural disruption, and the movie at the center of the commotion almost doesn’t matter.,” writes Drew McWeeny.
Daniela Vega’s amazing performance as a trans woman dealing with grief after the death of her long-time lover is easily one of the best foreign language films in recent memory.
“It’s hard to believe this can possibly satisfy both the casual horror buff and the more diehard supernatural purist,” says Edward Douglas.
“The latest film from the Zellner brothers is slight and sweet and funny, but it manages to offer some really smart observations on the way men attach themselves to the idea of a woman rather than the actual woman,” writes Drew McWeeny.
“Even if I don’t think Hereditary totally works in terms of what story gets told, the storytelling is commanding. As an experience, this was exactly what I look for from a Sundance midnight movie — a creepy exercise in control that sends the audience uneasily out into the frozen dark,” writes noted horror buff Drew McWeeny.
“Director Jason Reitman has become a punching bag for some critics, and unfairly. He’s had an uneven career, but it’s clear that the material he makes is material that speaks to him in a personal way… and I love that he seems to be willing to let his leads be terribly flawed without judging them,” writes Drew McWeeny
“While I think this film will play for every audience, and I think it’s one of the best overall movies I’ve seen at the festival this year, there is little doubt that being adopted made this a very uncomfortable emotional experience for me, and a personal one,” writes Drew McWeeny.
“Emory Cohen has given several ‘good’ performances before now in films like Brooklyn and The Place Beyond The Pines, but I think it’s safe to say his turn here as Varg Vikernes is his first ‘great’ performance,” writes Drew McWeeny.
Two feature film directorial debuts offer an insightful look into personal and political issues using very different storytelling and filmmaking styles.
“Andrea Riseborough is great and Forest Whitaker is strong as a man of faith, but while Tom Wilkinson is good at conveying malice, he’s got that “English actor doing a Southern accent” accent that’s not really the right accent, but rather a weird approximation of it,” writes Drew McWeeny.
“This is as much a “movie movie” as something like Evil Dead II, and I don’t make that comparison lightly. By the time star Matilda Lutz assumes her final form in this film, she is as iconic in her way as Ash was with his chainsaw hand,” writes Drew McWeeny.
“I think this is a brave film precisely because it’s not about someone doing every single thing right. It’s not about someone who perfectly handles something. It’s messy. It’s frustrating. And, yeah, when it’s very good, it’s great. And important. And insightful,” writes Drew McWeeny.
“Director Jesse Peretz seems to be growing as a filmmaker, and he’s got such a solid foundation in the form of the script by Tamara Jenkins and Jim Taylor that it gives him plenty of room to work,” writes Drew McWeeny.
Director Panos Cosmatos and his co-writer Aaron Stewart-Ahn absolutely know what movie they’re making, and they are after something that draws together all of the various things that have influenced them in a way that is personal and authentic, and not just about what looks cool,” writes Drew McWeeny.
“Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood remains one of the definitive works of art in any medium about the way childhood imagination works,” writes Drew McWeeny, who said the emotional film “broke” him.
“This irresponsible trash is an inauspicious debut for director Christian Gudegast, who will have to try harder if he ever hopes to have anything to actually say,” writes Drew McWeeny.
Jaume Collet-Serra’s latest action-packed mystery movie is an exercise in wheel-spinning, and by February, it will have dissolved completely, like a snowflake on a tongue,” writes Drew McWeeny.