Movies & Films

Reviews of both new release and older movies & films.

The Disaster Artist Is the Best Kind of Train Wreck

The Room is a puzzling phenomenon that has risen to the status of cult classic. When people think of a bad movie, this one always comes to mind—a beautiful train wreck that has captured the attention of millions and has had plenty of midnight screenings for fans to congregate. Just this month, there was a special screening at the Lagoon Cinema in Uptown, where the staff were wearing tuxedo T-shirts and handing out “Oh Hai Mark” stickers. The marketing...

Walking Out Is a Survival Tale of Strength and Sadness

A father and son go hunting in the snowy woods, but there’s more to their trip than bringing home a buck. In Walking Out, silently grumpy father Cal (Matt Bomer) hopes he can instill some strength and skills in his apathetic teenage son, David (Josh Wiggins), who would rather play video games. Cal’s wish will come true, but only through the cold and unforgiving hand of nature. And a bear that bites them really hard. The pair have a...

Disney’s Coco Is a Victory for Mexicans Everywhere

When I first saw the news about Disney/Pixar’s plans to make a movie set in Mexico and based around the Day of the Dead, I was cautiously optimistic. On the one hand, after two too many movies about cars, it was about time they made a movie about at least part of who I am. On the other, I hoped they wouldn’t make a joke or a mockery out of the culture with the movie. I’m happy to say...

In the Justice League Movie, Things Actually Come Together

As I sat down for the newest entry in the DC Extended Universe, there seemed to be a general consensus in the theater: “I hope this movie is good.” That’s not necessarily an odd comment to make by itself—after all, we want all the movies we see to be good. But there was a hint of desperation in the statement, the “I’ve sat through some unsavory films in this cinematic universe” consensus, that permeated the audience. And isn’t it...

Throwback Thursday: How Would a Close Encounter Affect You?

Throwback Thursday examines films from the past, “classic” films that might not be in the current cultural zeitgeist but can still be important, interesting, fun, or all of the above. Forty years ago today, Roy Neary entered a spacecraft as a kind of interplanetary diplomat. He hasn’t been heard from since. He experienced close encounters of the first, second, and third kinds. A close encounter of the first kind is when you have a visual sighting of an unidentified...

Permanent Is Too Much Like a Bad Hair Day

One of the 120 films at the Twin Cities Film Festival this past month, Permanent seemed to be a small, quirky coming of age story. I was skeptical about it initially—I couldn’t find anything about it on social media or much of an Internet presence at all. The film is set in 1983 in a small town in Virginia. New to the area, 13-year-old Aurelie (Kira McLean) begs her parents, Jim (Rainn Wilson) and Jeanne Dixon (Patricia Arquette) to let...

BPM Looks Back on the AIDS Protests of the 1990s

BPM takes place in the 1990s with a real issue of the era but feels strangely relevant today. The French film—which is showing at Minneapolis’s St. Anthony Main Theatre through November 16, 2017—concerns the Paris-based chapter of the AIDS activist group ACT UP and their fight for a level of awareness of the disease seemingly ignored by the public and by health organizations. Teachers would rather not discuss safe-sex options, and a health company would decide not make public...

I Choose You! Perfectly Celebrates Pokémon’s 20th Anniversary

In 1997, the Pokémon anime series began to air on Japanese television and soon after took the world by storm. The iconic first episode starts by recreating the bootup sequence for the Gameboy, even down to the sound effects—the viewer sees nothing but a small, white rectangular box with Gengar and Nidorino stiffly attacking one another inside. When Nidorino jumps at Gengar, the camera twists, expanding the picture, adding color, and turning the traditional 8-bit Gameboy music into a...

Murder Most Mundane with Murder on the Orient Express

How can a film with a derailed train, an avalanche, a mysterious murder, a stellar cast of characters, and a quirky detective be so dull? While Kenneth Branagh has taken the revered Agatha Christie novel and given it a beautiful theatrical glaze, Murder on the Orient Express misses the mark greatly. Branagh seems to be under the impression that the mystery adventures of Hercule Poirot are so perfectly written that subtle and understated performances will carry the film and...

The Trippy, Technicolor Trip of Thor: Ragnarok

Director Taika Waititi has taken the drab world of the Thor movies and injected it with a hefty dose of 1980s tone and style. After all, the nine realms of this universe can’t all be dreary Shakespeare (though they seemed to be before now, given how eager the god of thunder was to get back to Earth in his previous solo films). Since there’s no woman or threat to Earth at the moment, the weird worlds of the realms...
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