Wednesday - August 4, 2021
Categories of Reviews
 

Budapest With An S.H. (Review: Black Widow)

July 20th, 2021

Black Widow is streaming on Disney+ Prequels are terrible. That is, until they aren’t. It used to be that the idea of checking out the earlier adventures of beloved characters was nothing more than a craven cash grab. You had the tomfoolery of Butch and Sundance: The Early Years, the nonsense of Hannibal Rising, and the blatant idiocy of X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Done well, a prequel can add texture and character to a franchise. It can fill in the blanks and even recontextualize the original work. Despite the clunky execution, mostly poor acting, and thunderingly obvious storytelling, George... Read More

Mommy Brain (Review: False Positive)

July 8th, 2021

False Positive is streaming on Hulu In 2016, the World Health Organization estimated that around 830 women die on a daily basis due to complications related to pregnancy and childbirth. If you read that number and were floored by the lethal math on display, it’s probably because you’re a man. The fact of the matter is, the process of pregnancy has always been tied up with risk. Three hundred years ago, along with the distressingly normal dangers associated with birth, a pregnant woman had to contend with barbaric practices that barely met the definition of medical, as well as an insanely misogynistic... Read More

The Devil Went Down to Connecticut (Review: The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It)

June 14th, 2021

“The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It” is streaming on HBO Max Much like life, franchises find a way. Sooner or later, they realize they can’t keep doing the same thing over and over, and they need to evolve. The Fast and the Furious began as a charmingly low rent ripoff of Point Break. With F9 being released a few weeks from now, we’ll see a series that took enormous chances and transformed into something entirely different. We’ve arrived at a point, not unlike the late 1960s, where studios don’t fully know what audiences want and are scared to death about it. Back then,... Read More

Sex Positive (Review: Plan B)

June 7th, 2021

“Plan B” is streaming on Hulu A while back, Toni Morrison said, “All good art is political.” I think that’s about right, yet I’d take it a step further and say that all art is political — full stop. Does that mean that every movie you see and every book you read has an overt political agenda? No. What I would say is that to quote an interesting article from the American Psychological Association, “Politics is personal.”* “But why do movies have to be political? Why do they have to be so woke” I see people whining. These folks conveniently forget that movies have always... Read More

Common Things (Review: The Dry)

May 31st, 2021

“The Dry” is streaming on Prime We all have secrets. From the smallest to the most squalid, everyone has a moment, a decision that they dearly wish the rest of the world would never discover. It’s part of being human, and the good news is that for the vast majority of us, our secrets don’t really matter all that much in the grand scheme of things. But here’s the thing about secrets — if you live in a big, bustling urban environment, you also live with a cloak of anonymity. You can be about your business with minimal worry of being discovered. Small towns, though? The kinds of... Read More

Understuffed (Review: Benny Loves You)

May 25th, 2021

“Benny Loves You” is streaming on Prime Back in the day, the vast majority of scary cinema didn’t exactly knock themselves out in terms of a smart script, committed actors, or innovative directors. The feeling was that audiences wanted gore, gratuitous nudity, and jump scares, so why bother casting pearls before swine? You know what? I get it. During my first couple years of college, many of my friends would spend their Friday nights going to a game, checking out a party, going on a date, and in some vanishingly rare circumstances, getting schoolwork done. Baby Tim didn’t do much... Read More

Skater Boy Meets World (Review: North Hollywood)

May 17th, 2021

“North Hollywood” is Streaming On Demand. A few years from now, my kid will graduate from high school. Before that happens, he’ll live in a world where his primary focus is getting good grades in school and spending enormous amounts of time online with his friends. The vast majority of decisions regarding his well-being are made by either his mother or me. Once graduation happens, he’ll enter a world that’s sometimes hostile and frequently irrational. He’ll have to take on the load of higher education, decide what his potential career path will be, juggle relationships, and... Read More

H Like A Bomb (Review: Wrath of Man)

May 10th, 2021

“Wrath of Man” is Streaming On Demand. There aren’t that many movies that kicked off an entire sub-genre. I’ll concede that, prior to 1995, an awful lot of crime movies existed. You had your action flicks, your mobster movies, and your heist cinema, for example. Jimmy Cagney’s career was built on crime movies, and Marlon Brando won Oscars for On the Waterfront and The Godfather, both of which have to do with the underworld. And then? Heat came along in 1995. At the time, all that was really advertised about the film was that it starred Al Pacino and Robert De Niro. That right... Read More

Into the Void (Review: Stowaway)

May 5th, 2021

“Stowaway” is streaming on Netflix Life is fragile. It’s easy to forget that on an average day. Last Thursday, for example, many of us were at work, spending time with kids, looking at cat pictures online, trying to get a COVID-19 vaccine, and wondering if it’s too late to order a pizza. For many of us, last Thursday was the last day of our lives. If regular life on our planet carries with it a certain sense of risk, then a life lived in the stars is insanely, ludicrously dangerous. I have a great deal of respect for people who choose to assume risk in order to protect others or... Read More

Erin Go AARGH! (Review: Boys From County Hell)

April 28th, 2021

Boys From County Hell is streaming on Shudder As I write this, we’re well into springtime in Colorado’s Front Range.* The sun sets later, flowers are beginning to bloom, and the promise of renewal is upon us. It’s a time for us to emerge from the snowy gloom of winter and embrace all that life and possibility have to offer. What’s the best way to do that? A good vampire movie. You don’t buy it either, huh? Bloodsuckers were around in the infancy of film, and even though most people haven’t seen the original Dracula, virtually everyone knows Bela Lugosi and his iconic performance.**... Read More

Addiction Nation (Review: Crisis)

April 22nd, 2021

“Crisis” is streaming on Prime Years ago, I was driving to the low-pay, high-stress job I held at the time. I turned my head to check my blind spot and, being an imbecile, I somehow screwed up my back.* The pain was quite serious, so much so that I got to work, then reconsidered and went to an ER. After the ER doctor helpfully concluded that I tweaked my back, he gave me a prescription for Codeine and sent me home. I remember how it felt once the Codeine took effect. I felt like I was literally melting into my chair, and I was so relaxed that the Manson Family could have burst through... Read More

A Little Blood (Review: For the Sake of Vicious)

April 14th, 2021

For the Sake of Vicious is streaming on Apple TV There’s one aspect of filmmaking that’s never gotten the respect it deserves. Directors are fawned over at film festivals. Actors are feted at the Academy Awards. Hell, even lowly screenwriters have websites, publications, and festivals honoring their achievements. But year after year, stunt performers are consistently ignored.* We all know that a big reason for that is due to marketing. Studios want us to watch an action extravaganza and believe that Arnold/Tom/Will/Chris/Chris/Chris are doing all their own stunts. It’s true that some actors... Read More

Giant Animal Smashy-Smashy (Review: Godzilla vs. Kong)

April 8th, 2021

Godzilla vs. Kong is streaming on HBO Max There are those of you who might scoff at the idea of intentionally watching a Godzilla movie. I’m not implying that you’re the stereotypical snob, one reclined in a leather wingback chair, sipping a mug of Earl Grey and desperate to return to leafing through the pages of Ulysses for the seventh time. What I am saying is that you might think you have something, literally anything, better to do than that. Want to take the idea of a giant lizard stomping on people seriously for a moment? There’s a precedent. First, watch the OG Godzilla from 1954. It’s... Read More

Gods Among Us (Review: Zack Snyder’s Justice League)

March 26th, 2021

Zack Snyder’s Justice League is streaming on HBO Max Second chances don’t come around too often. That’s just as true in the movie business as it is anywhere else.* For filmmaker Zack Snyder, his 2017 film Justice League seemed to be firmly in the rear view mirror. Can you blame him? The Marvel Cinematic Universe had producer Kevin Feige coordinating everything. The MCU made money — lots of it. Warner Bros. very quickly realized that a) they owned the rights to the DC comics characters and b) they also loved money. In short order, they rushed to create the competing DC Extended Universe.... Read More

Shoot, Stab, Repeat (Review: Boss Level)

March 19th, 2021

Boss Level is streaming on Hulu In the world of Hollywood, it can take time for a genre to emerge. That’s mostly due to the overwhelming cowardice lurking throughout the entertainment industry. If you have a novel idea for a movie, say, an action flick where the hero is scared and tired, or a series of films that create an interconnected cinematic universe, the vast number of executives will pass on it before you can finish your first sentence. It took a minute for time loop movies to catch on. Groundhog Day wasn’t the first. As best as I can figure, the first time loop movie was The Girl... Read More

Down The Road (Review: Nomadland)

March 3rd, 2021

Nomadland is streaming on Hulu The nature of the world is to change. It’s always been so, despite our best efforts to push back against it. Some of us, one percent or so, have the financial means to handle anything. If the economy tanks or they have a health crisis, their limitless coffers allow them to bob gently on the surface of the water. Meanwhile, people like me, and possibly you, live a different kind of existence. Right now, my family is comfortable-ish. We can pay our bills, occasionally order takeout, sometimes feed the needs of our charmingly avaricious son, and even put a little... Read More

Details, Details (Review: The Little Things)

February 17th, 2021

The Little Things is streaming on HBOMax Hey, you! You, the person who just dropped a few hundred bucks on screenwriting software and who bought a veritable library of books on how to write a winning script. You, the person who was struck by a (potentially misguided) bolt of motivation to roll up your sleeves and bang out a screenplay about a serial killer. Maybe…don’t? Look, don’t get me wrong, pretty much as long as there have been movies, there have been movies about disturbing maniacs who prey on the innocent. Fritz Lang’s M had to do with a child murderer in Berlin, and it was... Read More

Nice Guys (Review: Promising Young Woman)

February 16th, 2021

Promising Young Woman is streaming on Prime They said he came from a respectable family. Regarding his character, they said he was kind, loving, and respectful. By all accounts, he had a bright future ahead of him in the medical field, and a spot on the U.S. Olympic Swim Team beckoned. On January 17, 2015, the vast majority of people would have thought that Brock Turner was going places. A promising young man, indeed. Twenty-four hours later, he was under arrest. Not long after that, he was facing two charges of rape, two charges of felony sexual assault, and one charge of attempted rape. There... Read More

In the Company of Wolves (Movie Review: Hunted)

February 2nd, 2021

Hunted is streaming on Shudder She didn’t want to go. It would mean leaving the safety of the village, leaving behind a world of predictability and order. Yet, there was no choice, not when the matter concerned her grandmother, whom she loved. The old woman lived in a cottage nestled far in the woods. The old woman was sick and was in desperate need of food and medicine. What choice did her granddaughter have? So, she wrapped her red cloak around herself tightly and took the first tentative steps into the forest. I bet that sounds familiar. You know all about Red Riding Hood, the old folk tale... Read More

Last Man (Review: The Midnight Sky)

January 18th, 2021

My kid Liam is around six months into his thirteenth year. He’s kind, smart, funny, and I can already see that he’ll go much further in life than I ever will. That’s how it’s supposed to be. Also, since he’s taking his first coltish steps in being a teenager, he has Opinions. Many, many opinions about many, many subjects. Which is also how it’s supposed to be. For example, here’s me camped out in my chair, watching George Clooney’s newest film, The Midnight Sky. Maybe 45 minutes into it, Liam comes in and announces he’s done with school. He asks what I’m watching and what I... Read More