Directed by Guillermo Del Toro – Screenplay by Guillermo Del Toro & Kim Morgan.
Based on the 1946 William Lindsay Gresham novel of the same name (which was first adapted by Edmund Goulding in 1947), Guillermo Del Toro’s Nightmare Alley follows a mysterious drifter named Stan Carlisle, who is hired by a carnival and soon becomes fascinated by the mentalist techniques that his co-workers have made a living off. When he leaves the carnival to thrive off the techniques that he has acquired, he became infatuated by the power of his act and the money that they lead him to. It won’t be long until he decides to fool the wrong person.
Directed by Joe Penna (Arctic) – Screenplay by Joe Penna & Ryan Morrison.
Back in 2019, Joe Penna released his feature-length directorial debut, the Mads Mikkelsen-vehicle Arctic, which was a gripping story of survival in the face of a hopeless and cold wilderness. I was extremely impressed by Penna’s debut film, as it felt real, as it had a lot of heart, and since it rarely felt Hollywood-ized. It also helped that Mads Mikkelsen delivered one of his best performances in Penna’s underseen debut.
The following is a review of I’m Thinking of Ending Things — Directed by Charlie Kaufman.
Charlie Kaufman is perhaps an acquired taste. I know for sure that there are people who struggle to get on the same wavelength as the writer-director, and I also know that this film, in particular, is difficult for some people to vibe with, understand, or even sit through. The Oscar-winning screenwriter turned to directing in 2008 and, though he is somewhat of a critical darling, his films have since struggled to find financial success. Kaufman’s latest film, I’m Thinking of Ending Things, is an ambiguous and patience-testing unconventional psychological thriller, and it will likely lead to both mixed reactions and — since it is a Netflix film — incomplete viewings. But if you know what to expect with Kaufman, and if you stick with the film, you will be treated to a fascinating and uneasy Rohrshach test in the form of a 134-minute-long straight-to-Netflix feature film.
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)”→
The following is a review of the Netflix mini-series Unbelievable.
Netflix’s Unbelievable is an eight-episode-long true-crime drama mini-series based primarily on an article titled ‘An Unbelievable Story of Rape.’ Unbelievable dramatizes a series of rape cases from the Washington and Colorado areas that took place between 2008 and 2011. The series follows both Marie Adler (played by Kaitlyn Dever), a victim of sexual assault who is charged with making a false crime report, and two detectives — Grace Rasmussen (played by Toni Collette) and Karen Duvall (played by Merritt Wever) — who are investigating the links between several rape cases from different areas. Though, heartbreakingly, her case is not on their radar. Continue reading “REVIEW: Unbelievable (2019 – Mini-Series)”→
The following is a review of Velvet Buzzsaw — Directed by Dan Gilroy.
In 2014, Dan Gilroy’s directorial debut — Nightcrawler — became a hit with critics and audiences alike. It gave us a brilliant and rivetingly unhinged performance from its leading man, Jake Gyllenhaal, and it showed us that Dan Gilroy was a supremely talented filmmaker.
With his second directorial effort, Roman J. Israel, Esq., Gilroy stumbled a bit, even though that film had another committed lead performance — this time from Denzel Washington. Now, Gilroy and Gyllenhaal have reteamed for a horror film about the art world with Netflix’s Velvet Buzzsaw, and, though it isn’t quite a return to form, it shows us that Gilroy is perfectly capable of having fun with his art. Continue reading “REVIEW: Velvet Buzzsaw (2019)”→
It’s time to get ready for the first major awards show of 2019 — The Golden Globe Awards. Though not at all as prestigious as the Academy Awards, the Golden Globes ceremony is known all around the globe as the major American precursor to the Oscars. Today, I’ll give out my own predictions for the ceremony which is being held this weekend. Continue reading “Golden Globes Predictions: Winners – Special Features #41”→
The following is a review of Hereditary — Directed by Ari Aster.
You can always tell a horror movie is going to be the talk of the town once, at least, one of the three following things happen: when it receives critical acclaim, when critics are championing a central performance in the film, and when critics, fans, or filmmakers say or imply that the film isn’t really a horror movie. All three things happened with Hereditary. Continue reading “REVIEW: Hereditary (2018)”→