The Summer movie season is over. As such, the obligatory Summer wrap-up list must come out. A lot of movies graced moviegoers’ popcorn-greased faces this Summer, making it hard to whittle a list down to an even and psychologically-pleasing 10.
So, let’s start with some honorable mentions.
Continue reading Top Ten Movies of Summer 2015
Director Jon Watt’s Cop Car opens on two boys (Hays Wellford and James Freedson-Jackson) walking through a field carrying walking sticks as big as their bodies. They alternate reciting swear words; one gleefully energetic and the other dourly reluctant. Both are confident in their juvenile assumptions.
The pair come across a police squad car parked in the woods with no one attending to it. They cautiously approach it as if it is some wild beast, throwing rocks at it and fearfully running up to touch it. Then, they realize that Continue reading Cop Car (2015) Movie Review
In the World War II drama Phoenix, Nelly (Nina Hoss) is liberated from the concentration camp Auschwitz, but she has been wounded to the point of facial disfigurement. Following reconstructive surgery that leaves her appearance slightly altered, Nelly spends her nights searching for her husband Johnny (Ronald Zehrfeld) at the night club Phoenix.
The street outside of Phoenix is a wash of red light that gives the bar a foreboding aura. Nelly, her face masked in a black veil that further conceals her identity, looks on in almost a surprised horror as she Continue reading Phoenix (2014) Movie Review
In the Hungarian film White God, young Lili’s (Zsofia Psotta) mixed-breed dog Hagen (Body and Luke) is abandoned by her overbearing father (Sandor Zsoter) and left for dead. Now a stray, Hagen wanders the streets fruitlessly searching for his owner, only to find himself among a group of other strays who run about the city avoiding the human world that has rejected them.
Large swathes of the first half of this film show Hagen walking through heavy-trafficked streets, moving in and out of the hands of various dog-hating lowlifes. At times, minutes go by without Continue reading White God (2014) Movie Review
Straight Outta Compton is a biopic centering around legendary rap group N.W.A. The film chronicles the rise of artists Dr. Dre (Corey Hawkins), Eazy-E (Jason Mitchell), and Ice Cube (O’Shea Jackson Jr.) from the unforgiving streets of Compton, California to super stardom as hip-hop pioneers. All the while, bitter racial tensions flood the streets and the nation as the characters encounter multiple run-ins with police and follow the Rodney King trial on television.
Director F. Gary Gray and writers Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff use this biopic as a platform to engage in topical social commentary. The tension in the film between police and African Americans takes Continue reading Straight Outta Compton (2015) Movie Review
In The Gift, married couple Simon (Jason Bateman) and Robyn (Rebecca Hall) move back into Simon’s California hometown after the unexpected loss of their unborn child. The first snaking shots of their new house are an immediate sign of their status. Simon is successful at a well-paying job and is on the verge of a promotion. Robyn is happy doing freelance work from home. Seemingly, life in the pair’s little world is picturesque.
Then there’s Gordo (Joel Edgerton). At first, we only see him from a distance, curiously looking in on the couple as they are shopping, just behind Simon’s shoulder. Eventually he approaches Simon, saying that Continue reading The Gift (2015) Movie Review
Billy “The Great” Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a mumbling undefeated light heavyweight boxing champion. Adopted into the world of boxing from a life of juvenile delinquency and living in an orphanage, fighting is his sole catharsis for his aggression. He hits hard and moves recklessly in the ring, refusing even to block a punch. He lumbers around, spitting blood and screaming intimidating exclamations. His career is one of pride and success, and he is well on the way to becoming one of the best in the sport.
Then, everything goes south. You can sense it in the Continue reading Southpaw (2015) Movie Review