Movies & Films

Reviews of both new release and older movies & films.

Venom Gets Sloppy with Antihero Hijinks

Venom is a film that involves more conflict with its tone than with its infected antihero. It’s a battle of humor, heroism, and horror, struggling with itself and unable to decide which route to take. All this thrashing in bringing the Spider-Man villain to the big screen with his first solo film brings about a mutant concoction that sways between creature-feature boredom and over-the-top buddy comedy. All I could think of while watching this faulty film was how much...

The Bleach Live-Action Film Is Goofy but Surprisingly Enjoyable

There’s just something about the anime series Bleach that triggers nostalgia for my time as an awkward, nerdy high schooler in a way nothing else does. Play me just a little bit of the soundtrack and I’ll be right back to my 17-year-old self, whiling away countless hours watching it with my brother on our parents’ desktop computer. Engaging with this series again always feels like opening a late-2000s time capsule and rediscovering all the reasons my love for anime...

Ethan Hawke’s Blaze Is a Sweet Southern Biopic

For this biopic on country legend Blaze Foley, director Ethan Hawke approaches the man with the same gentle and rambling wisdom as his songs. More than just a chronology of events, Blaze is a film that takes its time to slow down and appreciate the melodies of a musician who strolled through life in a manner equal parts kind and drunk. He was loving but depressed. He was fragile but could still go on the offensive when he felt...

The House with a Clock in Its Walls Is Full of Wandering Whimsy

Eli Roth has made a children’s horror fantasy movie. Eli Roth? The same guy who just this year had Bruce Willis bloodily gunning down gangsters in Death Wish? With a director whose record also includes such gory horror affairs as Hostel and The Green Inferno, one might be cautious of him taking on a film with a PG rating. But fear not, parents: Roth has kept his violent desires in check for this Goosebumps-style picture fit for Halloween. In...

The Predator Phones Home

One of the prevailing explanations for the deluge of drudgery that Hollywood has been unleashing is that modern audiences (young people) have no memory of the proven box-offices hits of the past, so there is very little downside for anyone seeking to reboot or relaunch a dormant franchise. Sure, you will alienate a certain segment of fandom, but it won’t do anything like generate a sadistic harassment campaign or inspire misguided online petitions, right? Anyway, that’s probably not on...

We the Animals Features Raw, Real, and Surreal Drama

In We the Animals, a struggling father (Raúl Castillo) comes to the sobering and depressing realization that he and his family are trapped—that their lives are never going to get better. His wife (Sheila Vand) knows it too but doesn’t want to admit it, hoping that love can still hold them together. Their three kids don’t understand it yet, too engrossed in their poor lives to take note of the fights behind closed doors or the dark and confusing road down...

Kin Is an Odd Mess of Family, Crime, and Ray Guns

There’s a throwback aspect to the weirdness of Kin that echoes the strange and flawed genre ideas of the ’70s and ’80s. One film it quickly brings to mind is Laserblast, in which a dopey teenager discovers an alien weapon that changes his life. Kin presents a similar premise but attempts to make it even more of a male wish-fulfillment adventure and simultaneously give it a somber edge with its tale of connecting brothers—and it almost works for how bizarre...

Wolf Children Is a Bittersweet Tale of Love, Loss, and the Unbreakable Link between the Two

In the midst of the end-of-summer busyness that has crept up on me as it always does, I found myself wanting to check out something from my anime to-be-watched list—but I knew it had to be something relatively short and digestible. Trying to pack in the last bit of summer goofing off takes time, after all! And so, in searching through VRV to find an anime film that looked good, I came across Wolf Children. I’d heard of this movie...

The Happytime Murders Is a Colorful Nosedive into the Gutter

When I watched animated shows as a kid, I really enjoyed the parody cartoons that riffed on familiar tropes from their long-form cinema cousins but never took them too seriously. Bugs Bunny was always going to be a rascally rabbit regardless of what genre he was lampooning or using for very bare-bones source material. The Happytime Murders, a very grown-up puppet movie, takes this same approach with its neo-noir murder mystery. Director Brian Henson (yes, Jim Henson‘s son) focuses...

2001: A Space Odyssey Marks 50 Years with a Limited IMAX Run

It is the 50th anniversary of one of the most influential films ever made: Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece (no, really), 2001: A Space Odyssey. Lucky for film buffs, hardcore sci-fi fans, recreational drug users, and Pink Floyd enthusiasts, Odyssey has received a limited one-week theatrical rerelease officially starting August 24, 2018. Four IMAX locations (none, sadly, in Minnesota) are screening in IMAX 70mm, created from the “unrestored” 70mm print. The rest of us at other IMAX locations get a 4K remaster. The rerelease trailer for Odyssey,...
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