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.’ (more…)
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…)
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…)
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. (more…)
The following is a short review of Mudbound – Directed by Dee Rees
Mudbound is a period piece set in the 1940s about two families from opposite sides of the track — the impoverished African-American Jackson family and the white and more wealthy McAllan family — whose paths cross when Henry McAllan (played by Jason Clarke) is the victim of a scam and, as a result, has to move his family, including his racist father (played by Jonathan Banks), to an area unbefitting the lives that they had thought they would lead in Mississippi. (more…)
The following is a short review of Netflix’s Little Evil – Directed by Eli Craig.
In Eli Craig’s Little Evil, Gary (played by Adam Scott) has just married the love of his life, Samantha (played by Evangeline Lilly), but he has a tough time getting along with her five-year old son, Lucas (played by Owen Atlas), who mostly speaks through a goat hand puppet and sticks to himself. It must really suck to be a stepfather to a kid who doesn’t like you — especially when that kid is the antichrist. (more…)
The following is a review of Netflix’s Death Note – Directed by Adam Wingard.
Adam Wingard’s Death Note follows Light Turner (played by Nat Wolff), a Seattle High School student dressed all in black that does other people’s homework for money, who one day finds a book that literally fell from the skies. The book is a ‘death note,’ and it gives him the power to control a death god named Ryuk (voiced by Willem Dafoe). (more…)