REVIEW: Everything Everywhere All At Once (2022)

Michelle Yeoh’s Evelyn learns a lot about alternate universes, sausage fingers, the IRS, and the value of googly eyes in the Daniels’ EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE. – Photo: A24.

Directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (Swiss Army Man) — Screenplay by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert.

It is exceedingly rare to find new original and genuinely inventive films made in the American film industry that also find an audience and make a lot of money at the box office. In that regard, already on paper, writer-director-duo Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert — often referred to as the Daniels — have made a special surprise hit and something to be treasured. But it isn’t just special on paper. Everything Everywhere All At Once is an inspired and unique original film that captures Hollywood’s latest obsession at the right time and is a truly exceptional transportive and moving cinematic experience.

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REVIEW: FRESH (2022)

Noa (right, played by Daisy Edgar-Jones) falls for ‘Steve’ (left, played by Sebastian Stan) in the comedy-thriller FRESH — Photo: Searchlight Pictures.

Directed by Mimi Cave – Screenplay by Lauryn Kahn.

Modern dating can be difficult. We all like to think that we can have a grand love story and just meet someone out of the blue, but, nowadays, many people find their eventual partners through online dating. In Mimi Cave’s FRESH — her feature debut as a director – Noa (played by Daisy Edgar-Jones) is tired of spending so much time finding potential suitors on the online ‘meat market.’ Her online dating usually ends with disappointing dates with rude men or with men sending inappropriate images that she never once asked for. So, it is understandable that she excitedly chases romance when she meets and flirts with the undeniable charming ‘Steve’ (played by Sebastian Stan) in a local supermarket. In spite of obvious red flags (he has no Instagram account!), she decides to go away with him on a weekend vacation, where she will soon find out that he has an uncommon ‘hobby’ — to say the least — and that his intentions aren’t good.

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REVIEW: Scream (2022)

The Ghostface mask is back on the big screen alongside members of the original cast in 2022’s SCREAM — Photo: Paramount Pictures.

Directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett (also known as ‘Radio Silence’) — Screenplay by James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick.

What’s your favorite scary movie? That question instantly makes me think of Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson’s 1996 horror movie modern classic Scream, which revitalized the horror slasher genre while commenting on tropes in a really clever and funny way. The so-called Ghostface killer, dressed in black from head-to-toe except for his white mask that appears to be inspired by Edvard Munch’s unforgettable painting (The Scream), asked that exact question to a nervous teen back in the 1996 picture, and the question has since become quite iconic. And, just for the record, my favorite scary movie franchise has, in fact, always been Craven and Williamson’s Scream meta-slasher series of films.

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REVIEW: The Tragedy of Macbeth (2021)

Kathryn Hunter in Joel Coen’s THE TRAGEDY OF MACBETH, now streaming on Apple TV+ — PHOTO: Apple TV+.

Directed by Joel Coen — Screenplay by Joel Coen.

The Coen brothers are obviously one of the most influential and acclaimed filmmaking duos of the late 20th and early 21st Century. I have had the great pleasure of watching and enjoying several of their films, and I think all cinephiles wait eagerly every time one of their projects is announced. The Tragedy of Macbeth is, however, a special entry in their filmography since it is the first solo effort from Joel Coen. Even though his brother did not work on this film, Joel Coen didn’t lose a step. The Tragedy of Macbeth, obviously an adaptation of an oft-adapted Shakespeare play that needs no introduction, is one of the best-looking films of 2021.

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REVIEW: King Richard (2021)

Will Smith as the titular character (right) with the Williams sisters (played by Demi Singleton and Saniyya Sidney) in KING RICHARD — PHOTO: Warner Bros.

Directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green — Screenplay by Zach Baylin.

Reinaldo Marcus Green’s King Richard tells the story of how Richard Williams (played by Will Smith) helped to shepherd and develop the Williams sisters — Venus (played by Saniyya Sidney) and Serena (played by Demi Singleton) — on their journey to tennis stardom. His determination to make a better life for his daughters brought them far, but in order for them to take the final steps to superstardom, he had to learn how to step back a bit.

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REVIEW: Red Notice (2021)

Ryan Reynolds, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, and Gal Gadot in Red Notice — Photo: Netflix.

Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber — Screenplay by Rawson Marshall Thurber.

Rawson Marshall Thurber’s Red Notice is an action-adventure buddy comedy film about the search for three priceless eggs once owned by Cleopatra. In the film, FBI Special Agent John Hartley (played by Dwayne Johnson) is forced to team-up with Nolan Booth (played by Ryan Reynolds), an internationally renowned art thief, in a race against time to find all three eggs before Booth’s main competitor, The Bishop (played by Gal Gadot), finds them and sells them to the highest bidder.

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REVIEW: Finch (2021)

Caleb Landry Jones (as Jeff the robot) and Tom Hanks in “Finch,” now streaming on Apple TV+.

Directed by Miguel Sapochnik — Screenplay by Craig Luck & Ivor Powell.

A former storyboard artist, Miguel Sapochnik’s career as a director is quite interesting. His 2010 feature film directorial debut, Repo Men, was met with relatively negative reviews. Perhaps that reaction really hurt the young director, because his next move was to turn to television again and again. Sapochnik has since become a seasoned television director, and he has been involved with shows such as House, Fringe, and True Detective. But the project that he really made his name with was Game of Thrones, which he has directed some of the most famous episodes of including Battle of the Bastards, for which he won an Emmy. Now, in 2021, his second film as a director, Finch, is finally here, and, while it probably won’t be as big of a hit as he may have hoped (since it has been released on a streaming service without much fanfare), I really liked Finch. It is yet another solid star vehicle for Tom Hanks on Apple TV+ after Greyhound.

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RETRO REVIEW: Casino Royale (2006)

Eva Green as Vesper Lynd and Daniel Craig as James Bond in CASINO ROYALE — Photo: Sony Pictures Releasing / Eon Productions.

Directed by Martin Campbell (GoldenEye) — Screenplay by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and Paul Haggis.

Now that Daniel Craig’s tenure as James Bond appears to have come to an end after the release of 2021’s No Time To Die, I thought it would be fitting to take another look back at his first Bond-film, Casino Royale. From GoldenEye-director Martin Campbell, 2006’s Casino Royale was meant to reinvigorate the franchise and bring it into a new era distinctly different from Pierce Brosnan’s tenure that ended in 2002. With this film, the series’ new leading man, Daniel Craig, who was, bafflingly, the subject of much online and press criticism due to his blonde hair and blue eyes, proved to the world that he had the potential to be arguably the best Bond on the big screen.

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REVIEW: Nobody (2021)

Bob Odenkirk as Hutch Mansell in NOBODY — Photo: Universal Pictures.

Directed by Ilya Naishuller (Hardcore Henry) — Screenplay by Derek Kolstad (John Wick).

At this point, it feels like we’re being inundated with action-thriller films that are trying to ape what made John Wick a huge success and a competent film franchise on its own. While I think these kinds of films can be quite good and entertaining, I also think films like Gunpowder Milkshake or Atomic Blonde have largely missed the mark, so I have become more trepidatious with this action subgenre than I was initially. This is exactly why it was so refreshing to me that I greatly enjoyed Ilya Naishuller’s Nobody, which is yet another action-thriller in the vein of John Wick (also co-written by Derek Kolstad).

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REVIEW: No Time To Die (2021)

Daniel Craig as James Bond and Ana de Armas as Paloma in Cary Joji Fukunaga’s NO TIME TO DIE — Photo: Nicola Dove / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios / Universal Pictures.

Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga — Screenplay by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Cary Joji Fukunaga, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

When I rewatched Sam Mendes’ SPECTRE the other day, I was reminded of the fact that the previous film in the Bond-franchise was released all the way back in 2015. A lot has happened since then, so much so that you may have even forgotten about all of the behind-the-scenes drama that transpired long before No Time To Die became the first major film to be delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After several rounds of rewrites, the shift in director, production, and the pandemic, the fifth and supposedly final film in the Daniel Craig-era of the James Bond-franchise has now finally been released. Thankfully, in spite of the real world drama that threatened to ruin it, this is actually a spy epic that is suitable as a true tribute to Daniel Craig’s bumpy but extraordinary time as the iconic agent. It isn’t the best film in the Craig-era, but it is a very memorable chapter in the franchise.

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