Movies & Films

Reviews of both new release and older movies & films.

Flower Is a Bitter Blend of Juno Snark and Teenage Drama

Flower is the type of movie that tests your tolerance for misguided youth. It opens immediately with the scene of our teenage protagonist having sex with a police officer and then extorting money out of him for her silence, all with a chipper smile and scathing comments. She’s not just a whore for money but a girl who is saving that money for a noble goal. And that goal will have to be kept in mind at all times...

Where Does Tomb Raider Fall on the Video-Game Movie Scale?

Video-game movies have a bit of a . . . reputation, which I’ve separated into four nifty categories: Bury It Like They Did That Atari E.T. Game (or: I See Someone Let Uwe Boll Direct Again) This Much Cheese Belongs on a Pizza Actually Kinda Okay Am I Having Fun? Wow! I Kinda Am! As a gamer who’s been watching video-game movies since that, um, unique take on Super Mario Bros. in 1993, I’ve accepted the fact that there...

The Academic and Erotic Drama in Submission Comes Up Lukewarm

There’s a disillusionment with the world of writing that runs so deep through the veins of Submission it’s practically nihilistic. The older you get, the less inspiring and enticing the world when you’re stuck in a rut with no future. That’s a profound path, but the message becomes buried in stuffy academic babble and lost amid scandalous sexual affairs. It’s a story so muddled in its desire to break out and say something that it ultimately says nothing—at most,...

A Wrinkle in Time Celebrates Black Girl Magic

Disclaimer: I haven’t read the book. That may stop you from reading this review, but it shouldn’t, because this movie is magical—like, literal black girl magic on the big screen. That’s my primary investment in this story, if I’m perfectly honest with you. I have friends who are excited to see this movie because the book meant a lot to them in their childhood, but while they were praying to director Ava DuVernay to pay proper respects to the...

Annihilation Is a Refraction of Itself

Short review first: this is not the movie you think it is. Not in a The Last Jedi sort of way, but more in a The Thin Red Line sort of way. The marketing might make you believe Annihilation is something like Predator except with some really, really fucked-up monsters. Well, my friends, I am sad to say it is not. Let us rewind all the way back to the ancient year of 2000 AD. Among the many things...

The Girl Who Leapt through Time Is an Adventure in Time, Change, and Growing Up

Recently, I had some time to watch an anime film I’ve been meaning to get to for a while: The Girl Who Leapt through Time. This was actually a rewatch for me, but it had been a few years since I saw it for the first time, and I didn’t remember much about it beyond the fact that I’d enjoyed it on the first go-round. It was high time for a refresher! The Girl Who Leapt through Time was...

Game Night Is a Winner

It takes daring for a movie to not only reference Taken 3 but mimic its climax. But Game Night is thankfully a comedy smart enough to know you can’t win by reference and raunchiness alone—this movie shows that it’s wiser to play by the rules for setting up a silly plot of twists, violence, and chaos instead of flipping over the board and hoping the audience will laugh at the mess. It helps that Game Night avoids the common...

Black Panther Is a Different Kind of Civil War

This is the hardest review I’ve ever had to write. When you write a review, you want it to be cohesive. You don’t want to ramble on too much, and you certainly don’t want to, oh, I dunno, scream at the top of your lungs about how incredible a movie is. So you can understand the bind I’m in when it comes to the latest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Black Panther. I really just want to post a...

Peter Rabbit Is a Rotten Adaptation of a Revered Book

Not all classic storybook characters can receive as faithful and charming an adaptation as Paddington Bear. Some of them receive warped and contorted translations, reworked to be more hip and happening with today’s kids. This is sadly the case with Peter Rabbit, a film that establishes early on that it isn’t going to be your daddy’s version of the story. This is the loud, obnoxious, and snarky interpretation that is built to be more cynical than sincere. The film...

The Insult is a Stirring, Human, and Important Courtroom Drama

There’s a microcosm of humanity’s faults and compassion within the conflict of The Insult. In Beirut, a Palestinian-refugee-construction worker notices a leaky gutter from a nearby apartment that is spraying his men. He offers to fix it for free, but the stubborn tenant—a Lebanese Christian—refuses the help. The construction worker decides to fix it anyway, only for the tenant to smash it to bits. Intensely harsh words are exchanged. Then the Palestinian punches the Lebanese Christian. Now the two...
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