ARQ (2016) Movie Review

ARQ, the new original movie from OTT service Netflix, is woefully standard. Not only is it woefully standard, but it is a blatant premise ripoff of the criminally under-seen Edge of Tomorrow. Renton (Robbie Amell), or, as he is affectionately referred to by his compatriot Hannah (Rachael Taylor), Ren, finds himself stuck in a time loop paradox in which the same infiltration of his hidden compound occurs over and over again.

arq-2016-movie-review-netflix-original-science-fiction

The world of ARQ is the typical post-apocalyptic science fiction: savages and raiders rule, food is a scarce resource, random technological innovations litter the screen. This said, the world of ARQ is not Continue reading ARQ (2016) Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven (2016) Movie Review

Antoine Fuqua’s reboot of the seminal 1960 Western The Magnificent Seven (itself a Westernization of the 1954 Akira Kurosawa film The Seven Samurai) has a distinctly modern feel to it. Bandits have been replaced by violent capitalists. The fear of the outsider has been replaced by the fear of the wealthy. Of course, there is the fear-of-the-other narrative that introduces Denzel Washington’s Chisolm that screams modern relevancy. It is, however, a commentary only hinted at.

the-magnificent-seven-2016-remake-western-movie-review-chris-pratt

What we get in lieu of commentary is Continue reading The Magnificent Seven (2016) Movie Review

The Light Between Oceans (2016) Movie Review

Derek Cianfrance, the director of The Place Beyond the Pines and Blue Valentine, returns with a story that is similarly bleak and heart-wrenching, despite what the title might have you believe. The Light Between Oceans tells the story of a married couple (Alicia Vikander and Michael Fassbender) who, after multiple attempts, fail to carry a child to term.

Cianfrance brings style to the film, but it does not make up for the pitfalls of narrative and thematic substance. Lighting and framing capture picaresque cinematic moments from the 1920s Australian landscape. The sound design, in certain pivotal scenes, is fantastic. The film appears very much, and very adeptly, like a film.

the-light-between-oceans-movie-review-2016-michael-fassbender-alicia-vikander-melodrma

Fassbender and Vikander come together to make up the tragic couple. They are the film’s driving force, and they are both wonderful. Rachel Weiss, in addition, is absolutely riveting in a criminally small supporting role.

The issue with The Light Between Oceans is Continue reading The Light Between Oceans (2016) Movie Review

The Flix Premiere Challenge

Greetings readers! I’m taking a break from the usual movie reviews and other rambling affair that I post on CineFiles to let you all know about something that I am currently involved in that I think could do a lot of good.

Flix Premiere is an online streaming service that provides indie cinema to viewers. For the past few months I have acted as one of Flix Premiere’s film development interns, viewing films that are being considered for the platform and critiquing them.

Flix Premiere is undergoing a new viral marketing campaign a la the Ice Bucket Challenge in order to spread awareness and help fund cancer research. The campaign is fairly simple: Continue reading The Flix Premiere Challenge

Blair Witch (2016) Movie Review

Blair Witch chronicles the “documentary footage” of a college student and his friends as they search through the mythic Black Hills Forest for his sister Heather Donahue, who disappeared in the woods years earlier.

blair-witch-horror-movie-2016-adam-wingard-movie-review-found-footage

From the onset, Blair Witch follows the beats of its predecessor, the surprise 1999 hit The Blair Witch Project, as if the studio and creative team believed that the audience this film is marketed toward has never seen the original film. This, or they Continue reading Blair Witch (2016) Movie Review

Snowden (2016) Movie Review

A movie by a veteran (yet perhaps out of touch) director starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt depicting a true story that was previously depicted in an acclaimed documentary. Is this The Walk. No, this is Snowden.

Snowden follows the CIA career and subsequent “whistleblowing” of Edward Snowden (Gordon-Levitt), as well as his relationship with Lindsay Mills (Shailene Woodley).

snowden-2016-movie-review-joseph-gordon-levitt

Snowden’s script at times reads more like a civics lesson than a drama. Feeling the need to Continue reading Snowden (2016) Movie Review

The Blair Witch Effect, Reboot Culture, and the Question of Quality Horror

A few months back I wrote an article pertaining to the cliches of the horror genre and how these cliches could possibly be subverted in order to make a refreshingly unique horror film. It was something I wrote on a whim while thinking about screenwriting, and it is more light in an attempt to be humorous than it is indicting or inquisitive.

With the upcoming release of The Blair Witch Project reboot, I find it pertinent to revisit the classic horror film and how its innovation was at the same time historic and sadly prophetic.

the-blair-witch-project-horror-classic-analysis-2016-reboot

1999’s The Blair Witch Project has, since its inception, been the origin of a deeply passionate debate. The question is simple: Is the film Continue reading The Blair Witch Effect, Reboot Culture, and the Question of Quality Horror

One man. Millions of movies.