Deep Water (2022) Movie Review

Deep Water, following a rocky release schedule hampered by the Covid-19 pandemic, finally landed on Hulu this weekend. It is a less-than steamy erotic thriller from Adrian Lyne, a director known for his work in the genre (most notably the 1987 film Fatal Attraction). The film is Lyne’s first crack at directing in 20 years, and it stars former couple Ana de Armas and Ben Affleck as spouses whose marriage is on the rocks.

Vic (Affleck), a retired microchip engineer, has tolerated a tacit agreement with Melinda (de Armas) in which she escapes their passionless marriage by making “friends” with a few local bachelors. Her flirtations and flings are Continue reading Deep Water (2022) Movie Review

2022 Academy Awards Predictions

Never before have I been less tuned-in to the Academy Awards. For many years, I have written in-depth coverage of the Oscars, including predictions for nominees and winners in every category. This year, I have been more invested in what teams will make the NCAA March Madness Tournament than what movies will be nominated for Oscars.

With that in mind, IĀ do have some thoughts about the movies involved in this year’s contest. I have thoughts about who is in the races, I have some opinions on who didn’t make the cut, and I even have some (half-researched) predictions.

Here are my picks as of today (which may or may not end up on my final ballot come Oscar Sunday).

Best Picture

  • Belfast
  • CODA
  • Don’t Look Up
  • Drive My Car
  • Dune
  • King Richard
  • Licorice Pizza
  • Nightmare Pizza
  • The Power of the Dog
  • West Side Story

We have a full slate of Best Picture nominees this year (most of which are pretty solid flicks). The Power of the Dog is the Continue reading 2022 Academy Awards Predictions

The Batman (2022) Movie Review

With many iterations of DC Comic’s caped crusader littering the last 40 years of blockbuster cinema, Matt Reeves’ The Batman may seem at first blush simply another go around the same old song and dance. It is certainly not without its comparisons. Most clear among them is this film’s affinity with Christopher Nolan’s trilogy, which DC has taken noticeable steps to visually and tonally distance itself from in recent years. Perhaps that is why this critic—more a fan of Nolan’s Batman than Zack Snyder’s—was immediately more engaged by Reeves’ take on the character.

But The Batman is no carbon copy of The Dark Knight. It comes with its own style. Nolan’s sleek and wide vision of Gotham City is replaced here with a decidedly more Continue reading The Batman (2022) Movie Review

Kimi (2022) Movie Review

As we are now two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, it only stands to reason that the entertainment industries are beginning to react to it with films and television which occur, diegetically, during the pandemic. Kimi is not the first, of course. Rob Savage’s Host, the Zoom-call horror movie, received quite a bit of attention on its release for its ultra-low-budget pandemic conditions. A fine, if not thin, riff on the found footage setup.

I bring up that Kimi features an in-fiction COVID pandemic only because its existence has impacted the agoraphobic protagonist, Angela Childs (Zoe Kravitz), at a fundamental level. While most people around her have moved on with their lives, returning to office life, riding public transit, most not wearing masks, the thought of leaving her flat sends Angela into a panic attack.

Luckily, Angela works as a tech troubleshooter for the Kimi AI, an Alexa clone whose success is leading its company to Continue reading Kimi (2022) Movie Review

Death on the Nile (2022) Movie Review

Kenneth Branagh’s sleek Agatha Christie adaptation, his second after 2017’s underwhelming and overly staid Murder on the Orient Express, is a delight, just so long as you are patient with it.

For a murder mystery, Death on the Nile takes its sweet time getting to the murder. The script almost teases you with this delay. The characters are introduced (or reintroduced in some cases) with a coy monologue which lays out the backstories which establish each person’s potential motives. Establishing shots are occasionally interrupted by sudden acts of animal violence, as if to say, murder is in the nature of this world — just give it time. One poorly staged false start nearly takes the head off of the love-struck heiress Linnet Ridgeway-Doyle (Gal Gadot).

This heiress has jilted her childhood friend Jackie (Emma Mackey) by stealing Continue reading Death on the Nile (2022) Movie Review

After Yang (2022) Movie Review

After Yang premiered as part of the 2022 Sundance Film Festival.

Kogonada’s After Yang is a magic trick of a film. The title refers to a “techno-sapien” sibling (Justin H. Min), an android who serves as a caretaker and mentor for Mika (Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja), the adopted child of Jake (Colin Farrell) and Kyra (Jodie Turner-Smith). While Jake and Kyra are too busy in their working lives, Mika has Yang, and she has grown very attached to him. The film takes place, largely, “after” Yang, in that he malfunctions early on and Jake spends most of the film attempting to get him repaired.

The magic trick comes to fruition roughly 45 minutes in, when Jake is able to watch a series of “memories” Yang stored in a small hard drive chip. They are all-too-brief snapshots of Continue reading After Yang (2022) Movie Review

2nd Chance (2022) Movie Review

2nd Chance premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival

Ramin Bahrani is a director known primarily for fiction filmmaking. He made the Fahrenheit 451 adaptation for HBO. Last year, his script for The White Tiger was nominated for an Academy Award and a BAFTA. It perhaps does not come as a surprise then that Bahrani was initially approached by producers to make the story of Richard Davis, the Michigan man who developed the modern bulletproof vest, into a fiction film. And Davis’ tale could potentially make for an engaging fiction, given how outlandish aspects of it are.

This film could focus on Continue reading 2nd Chance (2022) Movie Review

Resurrection (2022) Movie Review

Resurrection premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival.

Films which hinge on a central revelation are difficult to talk about. The experience of a film like this can be significantly altered if one already knows the revelation ahead of time. I won’t go into much detail about the plot of Andrew Semans’ Resurrection, for this reason. Just suffice it to say that your curiosity and subsequent shock at the revelation in Resurrection are required components to enjoying the film. And I think the film thoroughly fumbles its central conceit.

Which is not to say that the mystery surrounding the strange situation unfolding in front of us is not compelling, nor that the reveal itself is not Continue reading Resurrection (2022) Movie Review

Watcher (2022) Movie Review

Watcher premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival and is competing in its U.S. Dramatic competition.

Chloe Okuno’s feature debutĀ Watcher is a thriller in the Rear Window tradition. Americans Julia (Maika Monroe) and Francis (Karl Glusman) move to Bucharest after Francis receives a promotion. Julia does not have a job here and does not speak Romanian, two facts which isolate her in her new environment, leaving her on edge as she goes about her days largely alone. And it does not help that Continue reading Watcher (2022) Movie Review

Emergency (2022) Movie Review

Emergency premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival and is competing in the festival’s U.S Dramatic competition.

Carey Williams’ 2018 film Emergency won Sundance’s Special Jury Prize for short-form filmmaking. He adapted this short, with KD Davila serving as screenwriter, into a feature film of the same name. The film is one part buddy comedy, one part coming-of-age movie, and one part drama reflecting on multiple tensions present in the American conscious. If this sounds like three things which do not go together, you aren’t wrong. The extent to which one buys into the tonal tightrope walk Emergency is attempting is crucial to the enjoyment of the film.

I bought in. Perhaps not hook, line, and sinker. But taking this film on its own terms, following it through its kinks and lumps, I was met with a Continue reading Emergency (2022) Movie Review

One man. Millions of movies.