Movies & Films

Reviews of both new release and older movies & films.

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,...

Crazy Rich Asians Is the Rom-Com We’ve Been Waiting For

Let it be known that I’m generally not into romantic comedies. I’m usually the one who rolls her eyes when Attractive Person A stares into the irises of Attractive Person B for an excruciatingly long period of time. However, there comes a time when a girl finds that one show or movie or book that makes her realize that it’s not romance she hates—it’s the way it’s written. Crazy Rich Asians isn’t the first to make me have this...

Never Goin’ Back Goes Nowhere Fast

The best that can be said of the indie comedy Never Goin’ Back is that it’s a far more believable version of Two Broke Girls. Whereas that sitcom presented a female duo too lucky and plucky in New York City to be considered poor and struggling, this film’s two leads fit a more realistic profile of lower-class teenagers in a retail wasteland of south Texas. They can barely make rent or utilities, have the most destructive of roommates, and...

In Puzzle, Drama and Reflection Fit Together

It would seem like a challenge to piece together a thoughtful and engaging film around the quietest of games—something more entertaining to do yourself than to watch. But in Puzzle, director Marc Turtletaub manages to find a dramatic tale to weave around the game itself without turning puzzles into a set dressing for an indie drama of rediscovering passion and purpose. He knows that the game itself has a more contemplative edge and lets the audience enjoy that sense of reflection...

The Meg Takes a Bite Out of Summer

You have to have admire the pecularily Hollywood kind of confidence it takes to make a large-budget shark movie these days. I mean, there are plenty of ferocious predecessors that are really, really good (Jaws, Open Water, The Shallows) and the countless more that are not much better than lukewarm chum (looking at SyFy and a certain movie about tornadoes). So, if you try to make a good movie, the bar is pretty high, and if you are shooting for...

Teen Titans Go to the Movies with Goofs, References, and Childish Glee

If the DC Extended Universe is the snobby student shooting rickety rockets to the moon, the animated Teen Titans is the silly troublemaker shooting spitballs at the blackboard. It aims low with its farts and obnoxious body motions, but it’s hard to not snicker at a film so simultaneously smart with its satire of superheroes and daring enough to continuously use the word “poop.” Sure, that’s childish humor, but look at the film’s target demographic here. Adults have had...
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