Category Archives: A Movies

The Rider (2018) Movie Review

Where to begin with Chloe Zhao’s The Rider? We could start by tossing around words like “rare,” “must-see,” “transcendent.” It is, after all, a rare construction that transcends the limits of form to make it a must-see film-going experience. Simple buzz words don’t really do it justice, though, as The Rider is comprised of so many artistic strokes done great.

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Zhao’s film blends fiction with reality by employing non-actors to play fictional versions of themselves in a story so immensely human that it truly feels at times like Continue reading The Rider (2018) Movie Review

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The Shape of Water (2017) Movie Review

Guillermo del Toro, with his latest The Shape of Water, weaves, in effect, a fairy tale monster movie. Imbued with the shadowy lighting and terse patriotism of the Cold War 1950s, in which nationalistic patsies are led by men in trench coats who speak in passwords, the film sets itself in an industrial government building that hides away U.S. military secrets.

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Working in this industrial warehouse, underneath the shadowy government officials and their shills and patsies, is the mute Elisa (Sally Hawkins). With the camaraderie of Zelda (Octavia Spencer), who fills the space where Elisa’s words cannot reach, they clean the facility. This includes cleaning up the blood after a new arrival to the facility causes Continue reading The Shape of Water (2017) Movie Review

Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017) Movie Review

In Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, a title so laborious and specific that it can’t help but get stuck in your head, Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand) rents out three billboards (they haven’t been used in years, not since the highway went up) and plasters a notice up on them. Black on red. A question aimed at Police Chief Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) asking for justice for Mildred’s dead daughter.

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A confrontational pitch-black comedy about reactionary culture and life-altering emotional extremity, Three Billboards delivers one of the Continue reading Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017) Movie Review

The Florida Project (2017) Movie Review

The Florida Project, director Sean Baker’s follow up to the highly acclaimed Tangerine, takes place on the outskirts of Disney world, an Orlando-area that is plagued by poverty. In the Magic Castle—a motel named loosely off of a Disney property, seemingly as a way to drum up more business—children run about in the Summer heat doing whatever they please.

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One of these children is Moonee (Brooklynn Prince). We are introduced to her when she and two of her friends decide to run off to a neighboring motel and spit on someone’s car.

It doesn’t feel like a fitting introduction to a child character who we are about to follow for the next two hours, but that’s how it is. There’s no Continue reading The Florida Project (2017) Movie Review

The Big Sick (2017) Movie Review

In The Big Sick, comedian Kumail Nanjiani plays comedian Kumail Nanjiani. He works the Chicago comedy club scene despite his parents’ wishes for him to become a lawyer or a doctor. Kumail has his own path to follow, differing with his parents’ Pakistani cultural beliefs on arranged marriages and Muslim prayer practices.

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However, he still lies to them in order to keep them happy, knowing that the possibility of being disowned from the family is all too real if he chooses to Continue reading The Big Sick (2017) Movie Review

Alien (1979) Movie Review

In preparation for the May 19 release of Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant, CineFiles is taking a retrospective look at all of the Alien films. To begin, we look at the 1979 original, Alien. The film is largely heralded as a classic, and for good reason. Let’s get into it.

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Ridley Scott’s Alien is, perhaps, the perfect horror movie. The best? Now that is up for debate. But it is inarguably Continue reading Alien (1979) Movie Review

I Am Not Your Negro (2017) Movie Review

In archive footage, we see at the beginning of I Am Not Your Negro an interview with the subject of the documentary: writer James Baldwin. The interviewer, when addressing with Baldwin the plight of the black man in American during the height of the Civil Rights Movement, he says “Is it at once getting better and still hopeless?” To which Baldwin responds, quite simply, that there is no hope to it.

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I Am Not Your Negro is a literary chronicle set to motion through photographs, film clips, and sweeping landscape shots. The raw power of Baldwin’s words is something Continue reading I Am Not Your Negro (2017) Movie Review