Movie Reviews

‘Moonlight’ Review: Barry Jenkins’ Stunning Masterpiece Explores Masculinity and Identity

by Erin Whitney 6 hours ago
A raw, exquisite portrait of young black masculinity, Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight follows one life through three stages to tell a story of repressed desires and internalized suffering. Across three chapters we watch Chiron, a young South Florida boy, grow into a teen and later into a nearly unrecognizable man, as he seeks to understand the various shades of his identity.

‘Michael Moore in TrumpLand’ Review: An October Surprise Disappointment

by Matt Singer a day ago
Less than 48 hours after its existence was revealed to the world and less than 2 weeks after Michael Moore began shooting it — not finished, began — Michael Moore in TrumpLand arrives in theaters. Not surprisingly given that incredibly abbreviated schedule, the film is a bit of a mess; a heartfelt, scattershot, rarely funny, intermittently moving polemic about our country and its people.

‘Jack Reacher: Never Go Back’ Review: Uh Oh, He Went Back

by Matt Singer a day ago
Paramount Pictures
The Jack Reacher of Lee Child’s novels is a massive 6’5” bruiser. The Jack Reacher of cinema is Tom Cruise, who’s only about 5’7. But there’s something satisfying about this casting. You expect a giant hulk to be able to handle himself in a fight. Cruise’s Reacher is an underdog every time he wanders into a fight and then takes them down three, four, or five dudes at a time. Is it plausible that a 54-year-old vagrant could maintain a flawless physique and dominate packs of professional killers even when cornered and heavily outnumbered? Probably not. Is it plausible that a kid who gets bit by a spider could turn into Spider-Man? There are things a viewer simply accepts because it is the premise of the movie.

‘Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk’ Review: A Visually Stunning Failed Experiment

by Erin Whitney 5 days ago
TriStar Pictures
Ang Lee is am ambitious filmmaker, but ambition doesn’t always pay off. With Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon he fused emotional relationships with the dazzle of wuxia action, and in Life of Pi he told a story about spirituality and survival through an innovative use of CG and motion-capture performance. In Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk Lee is once again pushing the boundaries of filmmaking shooting the film in 120 frames per second (five times the normal rate of your average movie). What results is a stunning and unique viewing experience, but ultimately a failed experiment.

‘The Accountant’ Review: Action! Romance! Tax Deductions! This Movie Has It All

by Matt Singer October 12, 2016 @ 8:10 AM
Warner Bros.
Hollywood is so obsessed with superheroes these days they made a superhero movie about an accountant. It’s called The Accountant, and it is indeed about a guy who prepares people’s taxes, looks for deductions, and monitors financial records for fraud. But in his off-hours, this guy is also a master martial artist and a sniper capable of hitting targets a mile away. He also has a secret identity and what amounts to a low-rent Batcave, an Airstream trailer full of weapons and cash, stashed in a storage unit. He’s played by former Daredevil and current Batman Ben Affleck. He doesn’t wear a cape, but he might as well.

‘The Birth of a Nation’ Review: A History of Injustice, Then and Now

by Matt Singer October 5, 2016 @ 10:58 AM
Fox Searchlight
When Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation debuted at the Sundance Film Festival last January, it got a standing ovation before its premiere. People were excited to see this movie. Nine months later, the reaction to its arrival in theaters is a little bit different.

‘The Girl on the Train’ Review: Emily Blunt Can’t Save This Lifeless Thriller

by Erin Whitney October 5, 2016 @ 8:17 AM
Sony Pictures
It’s no wonder Paul Hawkins’ debut novel, The Girl on the Train, novel was quickly pegged “the next Gone Girl,” and that DreamWorks scooped up the rights a year before the novel hit shelves. It’s a murder mystery told by an unreliable narrator full of twists, sex and violence. It has all the makings of a hit. But here’s a hot take: despite topping the bestseller list, Hawkins’ book isn’t good. Piggy backing on the hype of Gillian Flynn’s work, the novel uses a gimmicky narrative structure to glorify melodrama and violence. That could’ve been salvaged as a high-intensity thriller that indulged in the trashy source material, but director Tate Taylor’s (The Help) adaptation falls ill to the same shortcomings of the novel, resulting in a sluggish mess of self-seriousness.

‘Raw’ Review: A Deliciously Gory Coming-of-Age Allegory

by Britt Hayes September 30, 2016 @ 2:02 PM
Focus World
Raw is the debut feature from French director Julia Ducournau, a fact that is nothing short of astonishing from the opening moments of this inventive and beautifully shot new horror film. To say that Ducournau’s cinematic introduction is assured would be an understatement; it’s a shrewd, insightful and surprisingly funny film that feels like the work of a more accomplished filmmaker who has refined their talents over the course of many films and many years. Though it is not without slight flaw, Raw is one of the smartest, most rewarding horror movies in recent years.

‘Masterminds’ Review: A Painfully Dense Comedy That Squanders a Talented Cast

by Erin Whitney September 30, 2016 @ 8:57 AM
Relativity Media
‘Masterminds’ stars some of the funniest names in comedy, like Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Zach Galifianakis, Jason Sudeikis, and Leslie Jones. Too bad ‘Masterminds’ isn’t funny.

‘Elle’ Review: Isabelle Huppert Is Impeccable in Paul Verhoeven’s Crafty Thriller

by Britt Hayes September 28, 2016 @ 3:11 PM
Sony Pictures Classics
It’s been 10 years since we last saw a new film from Paul Verhoeven, whose darkly satirical style has made his body of work incredibly divisive. That perspective hasn’t changed much over the past decade, though Verhoeven’s approach to style and tone has certainly matured, as evidenced by Elle. Featuring a razor sharp performance from the incomparable Isabelle Huppert, Verhoeven’s latest effort is a crafty and expertly layered drama in which a successful woman experiences a rather unconventional midlife awakening.