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Movie Reviews

 
Michael Myers in the Multiverse of Madness (Movie Review: Halloween Ends)
October 24th, 2022

Over time, audiences have been trained to regard franchises a certain way. The understanding is that everything is connected, and a plot point or character that’s introduced will be paid off in a later installment. Look at the MCU. When a person or concept is brought up, those in the know smile and think, “They’re really going to do something cool with that two to six years down the road!” It wasn’t always that way. Studios got into the habit of treating sequels as “the same, but more” as the original. Die Hard II is basically the same movie as Die Hard,... Continue Reading

October 24th, 2022
Arms Up to Heaven (Movie Review: To The Moon)
October 24th, 2022

I need to give you a little bit of background about how we do things around these parts. I’m privileged because the site I write for allows me to write about anything I want. Nobody has ever said, “Hey, how about not so much of this MCU nonsense?” Nobody has ever DMd me and proclaimed, “You will no longer write about horror movies if you know what’s good for you.” I’m grateful for that.  Despite having free reign to cover whatever strikes my fancy, I think it’s important to have some variety. It’s not only the spice of life, it’s... Continue Reading

October 24th, 2022
Revenge Is Like a River (Movie Review: Saloum)
September 29th, 2022

I’ve seen enough American movies to know what they look and feel like. Odds are you’re the same way. Whether you’ve seen an A24 horror film, an entry in the MCU, or a prestige Oscar contender, you have a pretty good sense of the expected beats. That doesn’t mean that every film released in this country is predictable, but what it does mean is that American movies are generally made with American sensibilities in mind. There’s a vast and fascinating world of cinema beyond our borders, and one of the most fun aspects is to gauge how those foreign sensibilities are both... Continue Reading

September 29th, 2022
A Journalist of Some Repute (Movie Review: Confess, Fletch)
September 29th, 2022

I’m fond, perhaps too much, of saying that two things can be true at the same time. The first thing is that attempting to reboot a long-dormant franchise is foolish. Nobody is clamoring for a revival of Francis the Talking Mule. Millions of people online aren’t pestering studio bigwigs for an updated Ma and Pa Kettle. Some things, once cinematically dead, should stay dead. So it was for the Fletch franchise. At least, I thought so. Long, long ago, Chevy Chase was one of the world’s biggest stars. 1987’s Fletch was a solid hit for him, and understandably so. It’s Chase’s... Continue Reading

September 29th, 2022
Actionable History (Movie Review: The Woman King)
September 12th, 2022

As recently as 2019,* an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal trotted out that hoary old chestnut about women in the military. You’ve heard this before, the idea that women aren’t as strong as men, are injured far more often, and that by reducing the physical standards of recruits, the lethality of the military will be reduced and the odds of invasion by our hated enemy, Canada, will only increase. Plus there’s the concern that a coed military means a sexually active military, and we certainly can’t have that!** The fact that this lame old argument keeps being made says to me... Continue Reading

September 12th, 2022
Family Ties (Movie Review: Take the Night)
September 12th, 2022

Perhaps more than any other genre, crime films are my jam. Everyone who’s into film has that one genre they prefer just a bit more than the others. Even snooty old film critics will give a pass to their beloved “elevated horror” films or to historical dramas. It’s never been about bias, just personal preference. A film that focuses on scumbags up to assorted scumbaggery? Great, sign me up! I can hang with the sweeping L.A. crime saga of Heat, the chilly nihilism of No Country for Old Men, the jittery panic of Training Day; the list goes on. While I’m not sure the crime... Continue Reading

September 12th, 2022
The Bracelet (Movie Review: Ava: A Twist in the Road)
September 12th, 2022

Independent film exists because studios exist. Show business, particularly these days, has an almost sociopathic focus on the “business” side. Due to the coming merger of streaming behemoths HBO Max and Discovery+, nearly completed films were shelved and declared to be tax write-offs. TV programs that were deemed to be not profitable enough were canceled and/or removed entirely from the streaming library. In the end, money rules all with the studios. No big surprise there, and the reason that Marvel Studios is the name in four-quadrant popular cinematic entertainment is that the movies... Continue Reading

September 12th, 2022
Fight Or Flight (Movie Review: Prey)
August 19th, 2022

Imagine you’re a filmmaker. You have an idea. It feels like a good one, a very good one. You start writing, and after multiple screenplay drafts, you think you’re in good shape. Then, after assembling a cast and crew, you begin the Sisyphean task of making the movie. Amazingly, you finish without having too many nervous breakdowns. Then, you oversee the editing. After all that, your creation is released into the world, and…people love it! Your movie becomes both beloved and profitable. What happens next? Everybody wants a sequel. Your success is the good news, but the bad news... Continue Reading

August 19th, 2022
To Capitalism and Beyond! (Movie Review: Lightyear)
July 5th, 2022

Is Pixar the greatest animation studio in the history of film? Possibly. It can certainly compete with Disney, its quasi-parent, along with the mighty Studio Ghibli of Japan. For my money, Pixar slightly edges out Studio Ghibli and comes out on top due to two factors — the quality of animation and innovative storytelling. From 1995 to 2010, nearly every Pixar release could be considered a classic. I’ll grant you that Monsters, Inc. is well-meaning fluff, and I recognize that Cars is less geared toward families and more aimed at young children. But Wall-E, Up, The Incredibles, and Ratatouille... Continue Reading

July 5th, 2022
Running and Screaming (Movie Review: Jurassic World: Dominion)
June 17th, 2022

There’s an old belief that all little boys go dino-mad for a minute. I have no idea if that’s accurate, but I do know I was no exception. Back then, I recall a zoo of molded plastic critters, everything from the T-rex to the Stegosaurus. I remember junior paleontology books and a bemused father* taking me over and over and over to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science so that I could gawk at the fossils. I love dinosaurs. I always have. Even now. I recently finished the very good book The Last Days of the Dinosaurs by Riley Black.** Odds are I’ll stop loving them right around... Continue Reading

June 17th, 2022
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