Category Archives: Long Reviews (>400 Words)

The Kid Who Would Be King (2019) Movie Review

Joe Cornish’s follow-up to his 2011 critical darling Attack the Block is something completely different. Both Block and The Kid Who Would Be King focus on the plight of British youth, but Block is a hoodie horror deconstruction mixed with a shlock homage to B-movie creature features. The Kid Who Would Be King, on the other hand, is a family friendly action adventure in the style of Arthurian legend.

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That is, rather, that Arthurian legend drops itself into the life of a modern day boy named Alex (Louis Ashbourne Serkis). After fleeing from a pair of schoolyard bullies (Tom Taylor and Rhianna Dorris), Alex finds himself Continue reading The Kid Who Would Be King (2019) Movie Review

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Glass (2019) Movie Review

M. Night Shyamalan has created a comic book world completely divorced from real-world comic books, yet all he wants to do in Glass is fit into the canon of superhero comics. The exposition often harps on, among many other things, comics—their origins, their narrative formulae, their character construction.

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Glass is a superhero film, in that it recenters Shyamalan’s Split into a superhero versus arch-villain plotline, in which James McAvoy’s multiple personality super villain “The Horde” is Continue reading Glass (2019) Movie Review

The Upside (2019) Movie Review

The Upside is a remake of the 2011 French film Intouchables, a facile yet hugely crowd-pleasing story about a white wealthy quadriplegic who hires a black ex-con to be his live-in caregiver. In the American iteration, the two roles are fulfilled by Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart, with the role of Philip Lacasse’s (Cranston) uptight executive Yvonne being played by Nicole Kidman.

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Neil Burger’s film is just as facile, and likely just as crowd-pleasing, as Intouchables.

Dell Scott (Hart) is on the hunt for a job—something he does not want, but something required to Continue reading The Upside (2019) Movie Review

Escape Room (2019) Movie Review

“Try doing one thing that scares you over break,” says a college professor to Zoey (Taylor Russell) after completing one of those let’s-open-our-movie-with-a-class-scene lectures. You know the ones I’m talking about. The ones where the teacher is somehow talking about the exact thing the movie is about, or otherwise is planting a piece of crucial information in the student’s head. The ones that never actually feel like they are real classroom discussions.

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This is the start of Escape Room, a film about the trendy entertainment exhibits where groups of people are trapped inside a room and must find clues and solve puzzles to get out. But the danger of Continue reading Escape Room (2019) Movie Review

Skin (2018) Movie Review – 2019 Oscar Shortlisted Short Film

Skin, directed by Guy Nattiv from a story by Sharon Maymon, is a story of white supremacy with a twist. Film Threat equated the twist with those of The Twilight Zone, and perhaps that is accurate. But the final moments of Skin do not Continue reading Skin (2018) Movie Review – 2019 Oscar Shortlisted Short Film

Vice (2018) Movie Review

Adam McKay likes to show. And show. And show.

As he moves further from straight comedy and more toward a dark comedy examination of political America, McKay’s showy style becomes more apparent. In a way, it is more permissible to have a broad comedy film be brash and in-your-face. While such a style is not destined to fail in a more dramatic setting, it is harder to grapple with tone in that setting.

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McKay’s The Big Short shows some signs of this tonal problem. Largely a depressing subject, the comedy flourishes in that retelling of the housing crisis don’t translate well. The non sequitur cutaways to celebrities are jarring and ineffective. What shines in that film are the performances, showing that the director understands the import of Continue reading Vice (2018) Movie Review

The Favourite (2018) Movie Review

Lady Sarah: Love has limits

Queen Anne: It should not

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Those unfamiliar with the work of Yorgos Lanthimos may be surprised to hear that The Favourite is the man’s most accessible film to date. A court drama about the shifting power dynamics between three women—Queen Anne (Olivia Colman), her long-time confidant Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz), and new arrival Abigail (Emma Stone)—this feverish portrayal of high society at its lowest states of depravity is Continue reading The Favourite (2018) Movie Review