Category Archives: Film Reviews
“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.
“It’s like watching a movie about the making of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse and realizing that Pee-Wee built his private world in order to work through some pretty severe trauma. It makes the world that he’s built even more poignant, because you see why it’s important to him,” writes Drew McWeeny.
“I don’t want to beat up on a young actor. They are at the mercy of the director. But Tom Taylor is the wrong person to carry this film, plain and simple. Whatever charisma the kid has is not served by this role, and vice versa,” writes a clearly disappointed Drew McWeeny
“The film tries to throw narrative twists at you, but the narrative is so matter-of-fact that they never really connect as twists. And as far as franchise-building goes, there’s no real narrative hook that makes me want to see this particular character again,” writes Drew McWeeny.
“There’s no special reason that one thing finally pushed people too far back in July of 1967. That was just the moment where everything got to be too much to stomach, and when pushed, a community pushed back,” writes Drew McWeeny of the latest film from Kathyn Bigelow and Mark Boal.
“It’s easy to lose the parents in a film like this, but both John Turturro and Edie Falco have their moments, and Landline allows both of them prove just how nimble they are at character-building,” writes Drew McWeeny.
Not every actor is right for every kind of film, and I’m pretty well convinced at this point that “heroic lead” is not in Dane DeHaan’s wheelhouse. Cara Delevingne might be better than him, but I’m not sure because she’s curiously underwritten here.
“Dunkirk is not an easy experience. It is not a spoonfed version of history, designed for easy nostalgia. It is a vital and demanding film from an artist who is determined to use the big commercial stage to ask more of the audience,” writes Drew McWeeny.
Despite the scoffs and eye rolls, Sony thought it was time to revamp the Spider-Man franchise for the third time, but with a little boost from Marvel Studios. As the saying goes, the third time’s a charm.
All the ingredients are in place in this third installment of the Minion-infested Despicable Me franchise, but when combined, it lacks the exciting flavor and energy of its predecessors.
As much as it parallels heartwarming child-meets-creature movies, Okja is definitely not E.T. It’s a sweet and strange tale that has relevant ideas but is overstuffed with eccentricities and tonal cocktails that make it exhausting and at times, frustrating to watch.
One could easily say that Edgar Wright’s latest, Baby Driver is a cooler and less bleak version of Drive. Sure, both have a getaway driver as the protagonist, but that’s where the comparisons stop. Plus, Ansel Elgort as a getaway driver is a lot more fun than a brooding Ryan Gosling in a quilted satin bomber jacket with a totally rad scorpion on the back.
Director-writer Matt Reeves goes above and beyond the call of duty and elevates the Apes franchise even more, making War for the Planet of the Apes an epic masterpiece to bookend an outstanding sci-fi trilogy.
There are certain movies that are just so mindlessly insane that are executed in a way that makes you actually buy into the ridiculousness they are selling (i.e. the Fast and Furious franchise). Movies of the sort provide an enjoyable dose of fun that is worth your time. Transformers: The Last Knight is not one of those movies.
A “who’s zoomin’ who?” celebration of scheming for both genders that keeps in the spirit of Coppola’s pensive, atmospheric aesthetic, but is unexpectedly straightforward in its delivery, leaving a craving for more of her nuanced stoicism that we have grown to love — or that has driven us crazy.
Full of deep sea despair, massive Great White sharks, and a star from This Is Us, the movie delivers some the best jump-in-your-seat thrills, but at the same time, it’s just a series of ignorant decisions made by the characters that will have you rooting for the Great Whites.