Netflix Original Film

REVIEW: 22 July (2018)

Release Poster – Netflix

The following is a review of Netflix’s 22 July — Directed by Paul Greengrass.

Paul Greengrass’ latest, 22 July, is a film about the 2011 Norway attacks set in Norway, starring Norwegian actors who are all speaking English. Greengrass’ feature film is not to be confused with Norwegian director Erik Poppe’s 2018 film about the 2011 Norway attacks, Utøya 22. Juli (sometimes referred to as U: July 22), set in Norway, starring Norwegian actors who all speak in their native language. (more…)

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REVIEW: Apostle (2018)

Release Poster – Netflix

The following is a short review of APOSTLE — Directed by Gareth Evans.

In 2011, Welsh director Gareth Evans rose to fame in the film community for his Indonesian action film The Raid: Redemption. After he had completed its sequel, Evans had become known for these elaborate and inventive action set-pieces. His latest film is not an adrenaline-fueled action film in the vein of his previous Indonesian efforts. (more…)

REVIEW: Private Life (2018)

Release Poster – Netflix

The following is a review of Private Life — Directed by Tamara Jenkins.

Tamara Jenkins’ Private Life is a dramedy about a never-ending pursuit of parenthood. The film follows a frustrated middle-aged couple — Richard (played by Paul Giamatti) and Rachel (played by Kathryn Hahn) — as they desperately attempt to become parents. Expensive medical procedures, adoption, egg donor — you name it and they’ve either tried or considered the method. When their desperation reaches a new high, the couple decides to ask Richard’s niece, Sadie (played by Kayli Carter), if she would consider being their egg donor, even though her family might be against it. (more…)

REVIEW: ANNIHILATION (2018)

Release Poster – Netflix

The following is a review of ANNIHILATION — Directed by Alex Garland.

There is this really sad quote about daring cinema that I once found as I was searching the Web for some interesting thoughts on the film industry. Actor and filmmaker Sean Penn reportedly once said that “if you put three thoughts into a movie, you’ve broken the law and no one will come [see it].” It is a quote that I’ve used before to describe cerebral cinema that was rejected by audiences. But I think the quote’s best companion piece is Alex Garland’s ANNIHILATION, a smart science-fiction film that was literally cast aside by a major studio because the film ‘broke that law.’
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REVIEW: The Outsider (2018)

Release Poster – Netflix

The following is a review of The Outsider — Directed by Martin Zandvliet.

Winning an Oscar used to mean an actor would get a bigger push. It used to really mean something. But in the case of Jared Leto, who won an Oscar for his transformative performance in the mostly forgotten biopic Dallas Buyers Club, it hasn’t really meant that much, other than the fact that films like The Outsider can put ‘Academy Award winner’ on its poster.  (more…)

REVIEW: The Open House (2018)

Release Poster – Netflix

The following is a review of The Open House – A Netflix Original Film.

A couple of months ago, I had my first genuinely effective nightmare in my adult life. In it, I was watching television when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw someone standing in the doorway. It wasn’t just anyone. It was a figure that seemed to have been constructed from different images from Stephen King adaptations. Imagine something of a mix between the leper from Andy Muschietti’s adaptation of IT and the moonlight man from Gerald’s Game.

In the nightmare, I was unable to move as this figure kept moving towards me ever so slowly. Needless to say, home invasion movies have a strong effect on me. A home invasion is one of my biggest fears. Therefore, as you might imagine, The Open House was a horror film I had on my radar. (more…)

REVIEW: The Polka King (2018)

Release Poster – Netflix

The following is a review of The Polka King – Directed by Maya Forbes.

The Polka King is a comedic biopic that tells the true story about Jan Lewan (played by Jack Black), a Polish polka band leader and con artist, who became a convicted criminal while exploring the depths of the American Dream. The film is far more interested in his successes and deceptions than in his time in prison, however, and that gives us plenty of time to see surprisingly strong supporting cast of actors like Jenny Slate — playing his wife, Marla Lewan; Jacki Weaver — his mother-in-law, Barb; and Jason Schwartzman — his good friend and one of the band members in his polka band.
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