Category Archives: Drama

Life is but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more

Knock at the Cabin (2023) Movie Review

I have never known what to do with M. Night Shyamalan’s career. You can’t fault the guy for trying to do unique things with the thriller genre. But there are recurring aspects of his filmmaking which have bothered me, and these problems came to a head with the one-two punch of Glass and Old. The writing, acting, and tone in those movies irk me.

On the other hand, Shyamalan has surprised me pleasantly on multiple occasions. Split is really well-shot and holds the tension. The Visit has a few memorable moments. Going back to the first act of his career, The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable both hold up well, I think. And Praying with Anger is Continue reading Knock at the Cabin (2023) Movie Review

A Man Called Otto (2022) Movie Review

Six years ago, almost to the day, I reviewed A Man Called Ove, the Oscar-nominated Swedish film from Hannes Holm. It’s a startling concept, that I reviewed this six years ago, because I can’t imagine my abilities as a writer were up to snuff in the first few years of this site’s existence. Not that they are exceptional now, but I make do. It is fitting, perhaps, that I began thinking about my review of this English-language remake by reconsidering my initial review, given how retrospection and time factor into the themes of the material here.

But time also functions in a different way here. As in the question, why has Sony decided to remake this 2015 film for 2022 release and angle it for a late awards season push? I suppose on paper it adds up. Celebrated actor Tom Hanks taking on the role of Continue reading A Man Called Otto (2022) Movie Review

The Pale Blue Eye (2022) Movie Review

The Pale Blue Eye, Scott Cooper’s latest, sees a homicide detective (Christian Bale) teaming up with a young Edgar Allen Poe (Harry Melling) to solve a series of murders at West Point in 1830. Based on a novel by Louis Bayard, the film is something of a fictionalized origin story for Poe’s writing career while also serving as a gothic murder mystery in its own right.

Bayard’s Poe believes himself to be haunted by his mother’s ghost, and his pedantic nature sets him in opposition to other cadets at the military academy. His alienation relative to his peers eventually puts him in suspicion as the body count around the academy stacks up.

Melling’s performance as Poe is Continue reading The Pale Blue Eye (2022) Movie Review

The Whale (2022) Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky is no stranger to provocative and difficult cinema. He has made a career of it. From the bleak downward spirals in Requiem for a Dram to the chaos of the frustratingly opaque mother!, the filmmaker likes to experiment with morbid, carnivalesque subject matter. Often, this experimentation involves the torment of the film’s characters.

With The Whale, it should be said, Aronofsky and writer Samuel D. Hunter aim to inflect Charlie’s (Brendan Fraser) torment with a profound empathy. But this is also where Continue reading The Whale (2022) Movie Review

Honk For Jesus. Save Your Soul. (2022) Movie Review

Adamma Ebo’s Honk For Jesus. Save Your Soul. places its viewer at the intersection of capital and religion. For pastor Lee-Curtis Childs (Sterling K. Brown) and Trinitie Childs (Regina Hall), this intersection has broken traffic lights. From the beginning, there is a fissure between the two forces, and a clear favoritism in this mega-church community toward capital. And at this broken traffic stop, problems are bound to occur.

Rather, a collision has already occurred at the point in which we meet the church owners. A scandal has rocked the church, which has caused Lee-Curtis to disappear from the public eye. But he sees Easter Sunday as the perfect time for his big comeback. With the church reopening set for that Sunday, Lee-Curtis commissions a documentary film crew to chart his return to prominence; his resurrection, if you will.

regina-hall-in-honk-for-jesus-save-your-soul

You could think about Honk For Jesus. Save Your Soul. in one sense as a tone piece. What is an occasionally humorous satire of commodified religion also carries a darker Continue reading Honk For Jesus. Save Your Soul. (2022) Movie Review

Review: Next Sohee — Fantasia Festival 2022

July Jung’s Next Sohee is a story told in two nearly equal halves. In the first half, high schooler Sohee (Kim Si-eun) is awarded an externship to work at a call center office. Conditions at the call center are tense and only get worse as Sohee tries to acclimate to a highly competitive environment and training which has her doing everything in her power to delay unhappy customers’ service cancellations.

As Sohee tries to weather the hostile work environment, she grows distant from her friends, suffers in school, and amplifies her alcohol consumption. When she hits the brink, the film fades to black and we switch perspectives to Continue reading Review: Next Sohee — Fantasia Festival 2022

2022 Fantasia Festival Movie Reviews — Megalomaniac, Incredible But True, The Fifth Thoracic Vertebra

Megalomaniac, The Fifth Thoracic Vertebra and Incredible But True are screening as part of the 2022 Fantasia International Film Festival, which runs from July 14 – August 3.

Megalomaniac

Megalomaniac is the bleakest film I’ve seen at this year’s Fantasia (and I also watched Speak No Evil, so that’s a high bar to clear). In the case of Speak No Evil, I could better stomach the Continue reading 2022 Fantasia Festival Movie Reviews — Megalomaniac, Incredible But True, The Fifth Thoracic Vertebra

2022 Fantasia Festival Movie Reviews — Shin Ultraman, Country Gold, Give Me Pity!

Shin Ultraman, Country Gold, and Give Me Pity! are screening as part of the 2022 Fantasia International Film Festival, which runs from July 14 – August 3.

Shin Ultraman

Shin Ultraman is the second Toho Pictures reboot of classic characters to be written by Neon Genesis Evangelion creator Hideaki Anno, with a third film planned. And Shin Ultraman immediately comes across as a sibling to the 2016 Shin Godzilla, with its Continue reading 2022 Fantasia Festival Movie Reviews — Shin Ultraman, Country Gold, Give Me Pity!

2022 Fantasia Festival Movie Reviews — Popran, The Roundup

The Roundup and Popran are screening as part of the 2022 Fantasia International Film Festival, which runs from July 14 – August 3.

The Roundup

The Roundup is the sequel to the fan favorite The Outlaws from 2017. Admittedly, I have not seen this first film, but one hardly needs to to get invested in Continue reading 2022 Fantasia Festival Movie Reviews — Popran, The Roundup

2022 Fantasia Festival Movie Reviews — Swallowed, Special Delivery, Employee of the Month

Swallowed, Special Delivery, and Employee of the Month are screening as part of the 2022 Fantasia International Film Festival, which runs July 14 – August 3.

Swallowed

Benjamin (Cooper Koch) is moving away to Los Angeles to pursue a career in the adult entertainment industry. During their final night together, he and his best friend Dom (Jose Colon) tie one on, culminating in a surprise Continue reading 2022 Fantasia Festival Movie Reviews — Swallowed, Special Delivery, Employee of the Month