Category Archives: Long Reviews (>400 Words)

Alita: Battle Angel (2019) Movie Review

Centuries in the future, Earth has been ravaged by a vague war known as “The Fall.” Most people live in squalor, while the elite live in a sky city named Zalem. A doctor who performs cyber-prosthetic surgery, Ido (Christoph Waltz), discovers in a junkyard of scrap metal the remains of a cyborg. He rebuilds her, calls her Alita (Rosa Salazar), and explains the world to her for our benefit.

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She doesn’t remember anything of her past, but soon enough everyone in the city’s underbelly (and a select few from the city above) want her dead. Funnily enough, Alita just happens to be Continue reading Alita: Battle Angel (2019) Movie Review

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Isn’t it Romantic (2019) Movie Review

At an early age, Natalie (Rebel Wilson) is taught from her mom that she is not the type of woman they make romantic comedies about. Those movies don’t fit into real life; at least, they don’t fit into what her real life will be. “We’re no Julia Roberts,” Natalie’s told. If they made a movie out of her life, they would have to “sprinkle Prozac on the popcorn.”

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Natalie has carried these values, perhaps subconsciously, into her adult life. She assumes she is blind to the world, and thus she allows herself to be pushed around at work. She is Continue reading Isn’t it Romantic (2019) Movie Review

High Flying Bird (2019) Movie Review

Steven Soderbergh’s last film, Unsane, was shot entirely on an iPhone. And the discomfort that came from such an isolating, wide-angle experience made sense in the setting of that film. All the same, the narrative of Unsane left something to be desired.

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Steven Soderbergh’s second film to be shot on iPhone, High Flying Bird, interrogates the business side of professional basketball. Its discomforting lenses make Continue reading High Flying Bird (2019) Movie Review

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (2019) Movie Review

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part is just what implies; it is a second helping, a rehash of the surprise hit that tries to recapture the magic but ultimately falls short.

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Following the events of The LEGO Movie, the world inhabited by sentient LEGO beings has fallen into chaos. It has become Continue reading The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (2019) Movie Review

Cold Pursuit (2019) Movie Review

There is a fundamental disconnect in Cold Pursuit that, while being the film’s largest flaw, is oddly charming. To say that the film does not know what it is would be false, but it does not know how to fully achieve what it wants to be.

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The film begins with a quote from Oscar Wilde: “Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.”

Frankly, I can’t figure out for the life of me why Continue reading Cold Pursuit (2019) Movie Review

Velvet Buzzsaw (2019) Movie Review

“Velvet Buzzsaw” refers to the former punk band of art manager Rhodora Haze (Rene Russo), a music group that became outmoded and slipped into what former street artist Damrish (Daveed Diggs) calls “self-parody.”

Velvet Buzzsaw, the latest from Dan Gilroy, has similar punk rock ambitions that bleed easily into self-parody. Or maybe it’s just parody.

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In its opening gambit, Buzzsaw sees a swirl of well-to-do art types at a Miami gallery exhibition. Manager Jon Dondon (Tom Sturridge) is trying to poach veteran artist Piers (John Malkovich) from Rhodora, while Rhodora courts Damrish. Critic Morf Vanderwalt (Jake Gyllenhaal) pauses from making passing critiques at pieces to stare agog at Continue reading Velvet Buzzsaw (2019) Movie Review

Miss Bala (2019) Movie Review

Miss Bala is a story of an innocent bystander caught between two sides of a war. Unwittingly working for both the drug kingpin (Ismael Cruz Cordova) and the DEA, Gloria (Gina Rodriguez), must take her fate into her own hands to save herself and her friend.

And it’s a fairly bland experience.

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Gloria travels to Tijuana to see her friend, Suzu (Cristina Rodlo), who is about to compete in the Miss Baja California pageant. After a night club shooting, Suzu disappears and Gloria is Continue reading Miss Bala (2019) Movie Review