REVIEW: Knives Out (2019)

Theatrical Release Poster – Lionsgate

The following is a review of Knives Out — a Rian Johnson whodunnit.

Are Agatha Christie-inspired murder mystery films making a quiet comeback right under our noses? In 2017, Kenneth Branagh resurrected the genre on the big screen with his adaptation of Murder On the Orient Express, which is getting a sequel in 2020. Earlier in 2019, Kyle Newacheck released an Adam Sandler-led murder mystery film titled Murder Mystery, which I suggested might be “the most watchable of Sandler’s made-for-Netflix comedies.” Now we have Rian Johnson’s Knives Out, which isn’t just the best of the bunch, it’s also genuinely one of the most entertaining films of the year. Knives Out is a fresh and modern labyrinthine murder mystery complete with a stylish main location, as well as witty and timely social and political satire. Continue reading “REVIEW: Knives Out (2019)”

REVIEW: The Shape of Water (2017)

US Theatrical Release Poster – Fox Searchlight Pictures

The following is a review of The Shape of Water — Directed by Guillermo Del Toro.

There was a story that Mexican film auteur Guillermo Del Toro kept on mentioning as he was doing the rounds talking about his newest film – a true passion project – this last year that really stuck with me. Del Toro – perhaps the greatest champion of the creature feature subgenre these days – saw 1954’s Creature from the Black Lagoon when he was only six-years-old, and he was so taken by the image of the Gill-man swimming underneath actress Julia Adams that he found himself hoping that they would end up together. A strange idea, perhaps, but not to him. Continue reading “REVIEW: The Shape of Water (2017)”

Reaction to the Nominees for the 89th Academy Awards

'Manchester by the Sea,' Amazon Studios
‘Manchester by the Sea,’ Amazon Studios

And here we are! I had a lot of fun with trying to predict the nominations this awards season, it went a little bit better than last year’s predictions. I believe I got 77% of my predictions correct this year. But that’s not important. Now, let’s discuss the biggest shocks and surprises from this year’s nominations. Continue reading “Reaction to the Nominees for the 89th Academy Awards”

REVIEW: Nocturnal Animals (2016)

Theatrical Release Poster - Focus Features
Theatrical Release Poster – Focus Features

The following is a review of Nocturnal Animals – Directed by Tom Ford.

In Nocturnal Animals, Susan Morrow (played by Amy Adams), a gallery owner, receives the manuscript for a novel by her ex-husband, Edward Sheffield (played by Jake Gyllenhaal). She is now married to Hutton Morrow (played by Armie Hammer) and she’s losing touch with her husband, who is actively cheating on her. Susan is surprised to learn that Edward has dedicated the novel to her, and even more disturbed, but intrigued, by the story which takes place in West Texas and is a very violent revenge story. Continue reading “REVIEW: Nocturnal Animals (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)”

REVIEW: 99 Homes (2015)

Theatrical Release Poster – Broad Green Pictures

The following is a quick review of 99 Homes, a Ramin Bahrani film.

Ramin Bahrani’s 99 Homes follows Dennis Nash (played by Andrew Garfield), a construction worker, who is supporting his mother (played by Laura Dern) and his own son. But soon after Dennis loses his job, he and his family are evicted from their home.

Rick Carver (played by Michael Shannon), a real estate operator, oversees the eviction, and one of his men end up taking a tool from Dennis’ house. When Dennis returns to retrieve it, Rick offers him a job, and soon Dennis, himself, starts to carry out evictions.
Continue reading “REVIEW: 99 Homes (2015)”

RETRO REVIEW: Shotgun Stories (2007)

Theatrical Release Poster - Multicom Entertainment Group
Theatrical Release Poster – Multicom Entertainment Group

The following is a retro review of Shotgun Stories, a Jeff Nichols film.

Writer-director Jeff Nichols, who is about to have his breakthrough in 2016 with two major motion pictures (‘Midnight Special’ & ‘Loving’), has quietly been making a name for himself. 2011’s Take Shelter was very impressive, and his 2013-film, Mud, was one of the very best films of that year, in my opinion. But for today’s retro review, I’m looking back at his feature film debut: Shotgun Stories from 2007.
Continue reading “RETRO REVIEW: Shotgun Stories (2007)”

REVIEW: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

Theatrical Release Poster – Warner Bros.

The following is a spoiler-free review of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, a Zack Snyder film.

Batman v Superman is finally here! Comic book fans have been wanting to see this film for decades, and moviegoers have been waiting for a proper sequel to Man of Steel since 2013. Somehow this film had to appease both audiences. My complicated history with Man of Steel has been heavily documented on this blog, and I don’t think I’ve really loved a Zack Snyder-film since his remake of Dawn of the Dead.

Needless to say, I was really worried about this film. Superman used to be one of my favorite comic book characters, and Batman still is one of my favorites – I want them to be given a proper treatment on the big screen. I just wanted to like it – that is all I wanted from this film. But, to be perfectly honest, I did not. At least not all of it.  Continue reading “REVIEW: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)”

REVIEW: Mud (2013)

Lionsgate poster for ‘Mud’.

*I attribute it to 2013 due to the fact that it was only released at festivals in 2012 – and had a wide release in its country of production in 2013.

2012 was the beginning of Matthew McConaughey’s rise back to stardom. Since 2012 he has been considered a big star yet again with great performances in Magic Mike, Dallas Buyers Club, True Detective – and, yes, Mud. Even though Mud is probably the least known of his performances, it might just be one of his strongest. Continue reading “REVIEW: Mud (2013)”