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

Screener Season 2018 Reviews – Burning, The Tale, Destroyer, The Sisters Brothers

It is the busiest time of year for the film world. With awards season on the horizon, studios are juicing voter ballots with For Your Consideration screeners. As I was recently granted membership into the Online Film Critics Society, this the first year where I myself have been given the honor of receiving these promotional screeners.

Unfortunately, this is also Continue reading Screener Season 2018 Reviews – Burning, The Tale, Destroyer, The Sisters Brothers

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Vox Lux (2018) Movie Review

Vox Lux appears to be a scathing commentary on the cynical pop music industry (and the cynical nature of fame in contemporary culture) while simultaneously being a sympathetic endorsement of the pop star as a burdening position of symbolic courage and confidence. These two narrative aims clash throughout Brady Corbet’s film, causing both tension and befuddlement.

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The immediate callousness is the toughest pill to swallow, and it is a callousness that follows through the remainder of the film. If you can stomach the Continue reading Vox Lux (2018) Movie Review

The Front Runner (2018) Movie Review

Jason Reitman’s The Front Runner is Altman without Altman. The opening scene mimics The Player, albeit it less impressively than the eight-minute long take Altman achieves in his 1992 film. The camera pans back and forth across a chaotic scene of media and politics in overlap. Characters talk over each other, their relative distances from the camera dictating how much we can discern of the conversations.

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Sonically, it is an impressive and immersive feat. We are drawn into the conversations we cannot hear, to the actors that are in the foreground but just out of focus. The sheer bustle of it all is Continue reading The Front Runner (2018) Movie Review

Widows (2018) Movie Review

Steve McQueen is achieving something rare in modern filmmaking: he is a known-name director who does not adhere to auteur theory. With four feature films under his belt, McQueen has ventured into multiple genres, engaging with them using different filmmaking styles.

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In Widows, his latest, he takes on the heist genre. With shades of Continue reading Widows (2018) Movie Review

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018) Movie Review

It is 1927. Imprisoned wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) is being transferred from New York to London to be tried for his crimes (in case you forgot Grindelwald was a criminal, see title). Known to be a silver tongue, conning others into doing his bidding Charles Manson-style, we are informed that the Magical Congress of America has removed his tongue (we learn later, inexplicably, that this is untrue). When Grindelwald is set out on flying carriage, it is revealed that he used his seductive trickery to coax a Congress employee into springing him free.

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Once free, Grindelwald has two goals: kill Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) and create a genocidal cult of wizard supremacists.

The Crimes of Grindelwald wants to be Continue reading Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018) Movie Review

Creed II (2018) Movie Review

Ryan Coogler’s 2015 Creed successfully revitalized the Rocky franchise in almost every way. It satisfied the modern industry requirements for a soft reboot, thereby being the most accessible to mainstream audiences and maximizing financial security. It pivoted Sylvester Stallone’s role from aging fighter to aging mentor, netting him a Golden Globe win and an Oscar nomination as a result. It harnessed the inherent swagger and star power of Michael B. Jordan. It zapped life into the visual display of two men boxing each other to a bloody pulp. It was an undeniable crowd-pleaser.

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Creed II loses Coogler, and it loses a portion of its energy as a result. Steven Caple Jr. was given a tough task filling those shoes, especially Continue reading Creed II (2018) Movie Review

Outlaw King (2018) Movie Review

David Mackenzie’s Outlaw King, dictating a semi-historical retelling of the leg of the Scottish War for Independence led by Robert the Bruce (Chris Pine), presents itself as a modern update of Braveheart. Picking up the thread where William Wallace’s uprising ends (we see a limb of Wallace’s quartered body hanging as an instigator for Robert the Bruce’s rebellion), Mackenzie commits to a similar level of visceral bloodshed that Gibson did in his 1995 film.

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Opening with an impressively-staged, swirling long take, we meet the composed yet quarrelsome Bruce, who immediately falls into a duel with the Prince of Wales (Billy Howle) after Continue reading Outlaw King (2018) Movie Review