Category Archives: Film Reviews
“Confident and cleanly-told, “Happy Death Day” is exactly the “Groundhog Day” meets “Friday the 13th” mash-up that the trailers promise. There’s nothing more to it than that though,” writes Drew McWeeny.
An adaptation of Brian Selznick’s fantasy tale of New York City and its museum, the movie falls short of any expectations with uncharacteristically bad storytelling choices.
The Benedict Andrews-directed adaptation of David Harrower’s play “Blackbird” Is far more than a filmed theatrical piece, as the filmmaker takes advantage of what film can do that theater can’t.
“I know this is a movie, and that Moonee and Halley aren’t real, but in creating them, Sean Baker has captured something deeply true, and these images are spilling over with life, unruly and hard to categorize from one moment to the next,” writes Drew McWeeny.
“This is exploitation fare served strong, and while it is the humanity of Vaughn’s performance that grounds the film and makes it something more than “just” exploitation, you still may need a shower afterwards,” writes Drew McWeeny.
Edward Douglas thinks Baumbach’s 10th film is easily his funniest and strongest dose of dysfunctional family humor.
Cinematographer Kevin Phillips’ feature film directorial debut is a stunner with a number of amazing performances by young talent that makes it worth seeking out.
“Blade Runner 2049 is such a good sequel that it makes the case that, between these two films, no other example of the genre has ever made these ideas so vivid, so wrenching, so immediate and raw,” writes Drew McWeeny.
“The film is often devastating, and it offers up one of the least sentimental portraits of parenthood that I can remember. It’s also wise enough to suggest that art comes at a cost, and the creation of even the most beautiful things can sometimes leave scars,” writes Drew McWeeny.
“Director Doug Liman takes such profound liberties with the life of Barry Seal that it’s fair to treat the film as fiction, but it’s also a terrific showcase for one sequence after another of Tom Cruise getting the smug smacked out of him,” writes Drew McWeeny.
“If even one person sees this film and takes strength from Billie Jean’s personal journey, strength they use to live their life honestly, then that’s even better than winning an Oscar, and this story certainly has the power to do that,” writes Drew McWeeny.
“This is how I like my movie sequels, determined not just to give us more of the same but keenly aware that ‘the same’ is exactly why people buy tickets to sequels. It’s a tricky balancing act, but it feels like Vaughn and his ongoing gang of collaborators enjoy that challenge,” writes Drew McWeeny.
Dylan O’Brien’s new film isn’t particularly good, but it had Drew McWeeny on the edge of his seat the whole time.
The two movies, directed by Scott Cooper (Black Mass) and Susanna White (Our Kind of Traitor), premiered at TIFF, one getting far more immediate attention than the other, but the simpler (and far less expensive) film ends up working better.
“It feels like the most successful effort yet from an artist who understands that we’re going to have to face some ugly truths if we ever hope to get better from here,” writes Drew McWeeny.
Two of Toronto’s bigger premieres feature great sports stars of the past as portrayed by popular actors from the present. One of the movies has a much bigger and more important message, though they both build up to spectacular match-ups.
“Early marketing for the film has made it feel like a Rosemary’s Baby-style thriller, but that’s a huge misdirect, and even calling the film a “horror” film feels dishonest. It is an intensely personal experience, with everything rooted in the perspective of the nameless character played by Jennifer Lawrence,” writes Drew McWeeny.
There are certain rules that you’ll hear people assert about storytelling on film, and one of those rules is that you should not rely heavily on voice-over, and when you want to show an example of how to shatter that rule completely, Brad’s Status would be a great one.
“Ultimately, Andy Muschietti is the star of the film. He’s the one making the call about how to approach bringing the horror of Derry to life, and the film is filled with striking imagery pulled right from the nightmare life of the kids … For the first time in a long time, the promise of a sequel feels like a promise, not a corporate threat,” writes Drew McWeeny.
The new Alicia Vikander – Christoph Waltz period drama is “needly convoluted and dull, dull, dull,” according to East Coast Editor Edward Douglas.
“For a long time, Slap Shot was the gold standard for hockey movies, and while neither of the Goon films quite supplants it on their own, I’d say taken as a one-two punch, the Goon franchise has earned its spot in the trophy case,” writes Drew McWeeny.
“This is the most fluid and decisive visual storytelling of director Adam Wingard’s career so far, but it’s hard to give a sh*t when there are no limits to the rules and when the stakes are as confusing as they are here,” writes Drew McWeeny.
By now, Steven Soderbergh has to be considered heist film royalty, and it’s clear from the moment this film starts that he is one of the very best filmmakers at this particular type of thing,” writes Drew McWeeny.
“You can feel the labor behind every single scene, and you can see how hard everyone’s working, but honestly, it feels a little desperate, like they’re sweating behind those smiles,” writes Drew McWeeny.
“Geremy Jasper’s directorial debut debuted at Sundance and features exceptional performances from Danielle Macdonald and Bridget Everett, as well some very catchy tunes,” writes Edward Douglas.
“The first Annabelle was a cheap knock-off of The Conjuring, built around fake tension and lame, slow-burn non-scares. This time, there’s plenty of payoff, and once the film hits its third act, it’s fairly relentless in terms of pace and tone,” writes Drew McWeeny.
“This is a small film, but it’s a strong film, and it finally showcases this writer in a way that makes clear what his strengths can be,” writes Drew McWeeny.
“The film puts a lot of pressure on Robert Pattinson to deliver as its unlikeable lead. And while his New York accent is something to admire because it makes you forget he was once Edward in Twilight, his performance isn’t very impressive beyond that,” writes Edward Douglas.
Short Term 12 director Destin Daniel Cretton reunites with Brie Larson for Lionsgate’s family drama, which was better than expected, even if the tone is erratic at times.