Thursday - October 6, 2022
 

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

Life On Earth

January 8th, 2021

If you’re reading this, you’re alive and you survived 2020. Trust me when I tell you, that’s good! We had an insanely acrimonious presidential election, a pandemic that almost completely caught the world unawares, and an economy that’s currently curled in the fetal position. Selfishness and willful ignorance swept the land. There was serious talk of secession. The whole thing sucked. And then? Then, we passed across that hazy and insubstantial border to 2021. A new year. An opportunity to, if you’re a cynic, make laughable public promises to change your life and fail to do so. Years of... Read More

Age of Wonder

December 29th, 2020

Wonder Woman 1984 is Streaming on HBO Max To one degree or another, superheroes are all about symbolism. Despite having been originally designed as characters for children, they have become our modern mythology. When used correctly, they can simultaneously deliver surface-level thrills while also having something legitimate to say. If Batman is about dealing with trauma and Superman is about the desire to help, then Wonder Woman is ultimately about hope.* Hope with a clear-eyed and flinty view of things as they are and not as we’d like them to be. Consider that, while she has the Lasso of Truth,... Read More

The Self-Made Myth

December 4th, 2020

Hillbilly Elegy is streaming on Netflix There’s a story many of us tell ourselves about poverty.* Poor people are poor due to their own actions or inactions. They just want a handout from the government. They’re lazy. They’re not very intelligent or motivated, and when they do utilize a kind of low cunning, it’s to figure out ways to game the system and screw over virtuous taxpayers like “us.” I remember being told that story when I was very young. We had a house in Rockville, Maryland, and while my mother stayed indoors to protect the fragile health that would eventually fail her,... Read More

Dying Is Easy

November 30th, 2020

All Joking Aside is streaming on Prime When it comes to the arts, there’s nothing harder than stand-up comedy. Don’t get me wrong; to play principal cello for the Boston Pops is an undeniable achievement. To create a magnificent sculpture is a feat that most people will never accomplish. Hell, writing a novel or screenplay is still a pretty big deal, considering the legions of people who talk about it but never do it. Stand-up is different for a few reasons. First, most people aren’t consistently funny. Your mom or co-worker might drop a wicked bon mot from time to time. Doing that for a... Read More