Best of the 2010s: Directorial Debut Films

There is something very exciting about a directorial debut. Obviously, the filmmaker is excited about their first chance to step behind the camera on a feature film, but, as an audience member or film writer of any kind, it is so fascinating to see the choices being made. Sometimes some of the boldest and most imaginative filmmakers present us with instant classics, other times newcomers deliver a product that may not be extraordinary filmmaking but which may still be a moving or exciting motion picture. In this month’s best of the decade list, I’m honoring the very best directorial debuts. Some of them are first works for potential auteurs, while others are impressive blockbuster entertainment from untested new filmmakers just learning the ropes. Continue reading “Best of the 2010s: Directorial Debut Films”

REVIEW: Red Sparrow (2018)

Theatrical Release Poster – 20th Century Fox

The following is a review of Red Sparrow — Directed by Francis Lawrence.

In a talk show interview with Stephen Colbert, Jennifer Lawrence — the star of Red Sparrow — asked her haters not to see her psychological spy thriller. “If you’re, like, a typical ‘hater’ and you have a blog, don’t go. You’re officially totally uninvited,” Lawrence laughed. Although I would not call myself a ‘typical’ hater, or even a Lawrence-hater, I am, on the other hand, not a die-hard fan. I have been intrigued by her choices of late, though. With intriguing films like mother! and, now, Red Sparrow — two audience-unfriendly thrillers — Lawrence is starting to reframe the way she is perceived. Continue reading “REVIEW: Red Sparrow (2018)”

REVIEW: Bright (2017)

Release Poster – Netflix

The following is a review of Bright — Directed by David Ayer.

2017 has been a remarkable year for Netflix, in that they’ve given us a handful of great films to be watched in the comfort of our own homes, as well as some great seasons of television. Okja, The Meyerowitz Stories, and Mudbound are terrific Netflix original films. But none of those films were this year’s biggest Netflix risk: Bright, on the other hand, is, and, unfortunately, the first Netflix blockbuster, which reportedly has a budget of $90 million, is a disappointment. Continue reading “REVIEW: Bright (2017)”

REVIEW: It Comes At Night (2017)

Theatrical Release Poster – A24

The following is a review of It Comes At Night – Directed by Trey Edward Shults.

Following the critical success of his feature film directorial debut Krisha, director Trey Edward Shults has teamed up with A24 again to release his second film It Comes At Night. A24 has a great reputation of releasing smart, interesting, and different films.

However, much like last year’s extremely popular A24 ‘horror film’ The Witch, It Comes At Night suffers from being marketed as a conventional horror film. Thus bringing in audiences that are unprepared for the type of film it, ultimately, is. Continue reading “REVIEW: It Comes At Night (2017)”

Top Ten Movie Heroes of 2011

'Captain America: The First Avenger,' Paramount Pictures
‘Captain America: The First Avenger,’ Paramount Pictures

The following list contains spoilers for films from 2011.

It’s time for the first Top Ten Tuesday of 2017! I’m still getting through the best heroes of this decade, and we’ve reached 2011. Do note that these characters aren’t solely ranked on how heroic their actions are. Also, some heroes may not be traditional heroes. Without further ado, here are the top ten movie heroes of 2011.

Continue reading “Top Ten Movie Heroes of 2011”

Top Ten ‘Horror/Thriller’ Films of the 21st Century – So Far (2016)

ijr-list-horror-21st

Since we just celebrated Halloween, I thought I should do a list of horror films. I thought it’d be a good idea to name my top ten favorite horror films from the 21st century (so far). Now, I ended up using a somewhat loose interpretation of horror. You will also find both horror comedies and select thrillers on this list. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at some of my favorite ‘new’ horror films and the like. Continue reading “Top Ten ‘Horror/Thriller’ Films of the 21st Century – So Far (2016)”

REVIEW: Midnight Special (2016)

Film Poster - Warner Bros.
Film Poster – Warner Bros.

The following is a review of Jeff Nichols’s Midnight Special.

Jeff Nichols is one of the most promising young directors out there. His first feature film – Shotgun Stories – was an excellent low-budget revenge tale about brotherhood. His two other films – Take Shelter & Mud – are very impressive too, and they clearly show that Nichols is a very talented filmmaker.

With Midnight Special, Jeff Nichols has made his first film in the science-fiction genre, and it’s a film I’ve been very excited about for a long time. This was Nichols’s chance to make a film that would really get his name out there, but here’s the problem: it isn’t as good as it should have been. Continue reading “REVIEW: Midnight Special (2016)”