Assassination Nation (2018) Movie Review

Fear of shattered privacy. Aggression and bigotry stemming from deep-seated insecurities. The fetishization of the female figure, leading to the suppression of the artistic expression of the naked female form. The potential outcome of arming oneself, literally, against the patriarchy. The depiction of the inability for modern punitive powers from preventing internet trolls. And, more or less, a The Purge scenario.

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This is only a handful of the disparate ideas tackled in Sam Levinson’s Assassination Nation, a film about four teenage girls (Odessa Young, Hari Nef, Suki Waterhouse, and Abra) stuck in Continue reading Assassination Nation (2018) Movie Review

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Lizzie (2018) Movie Review

Lizzie Borden was a notorious figure. She was a news sensation long before the 24-hour news cycle was a germ in Ted Turner’s head. In 1892, Borden’s parents were murdered with an ax, and she was the prime suspect. It was a big deal. I mean, you know you’ve struck a cultural nerve when children skip rope to rhymes of your homicidal exploits.

Congratulations, Lizzie. You made it. They even made a movie dramatizing your life. Again.

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Craig William Macneill’s version of events in Lizzie is intended as a pot-boiler, tension simmering amid a terse domestic drama that boils over rapidly in the climax. On both accounts—simmering and boiling—things feel Continue reading Lizzie (2018) Movie Review

The House with a Clock in Its Walls (2018) Movie Review

In The House with a Clock in Its Walls, poor man’s Jacob Tremblay, Lewis Barnavelt (Owen Vaccaro) moves into his Uncle Jonathan’s (Jack Black) house in Michigan following the untimely death of his parents. The house, decorated at the gate with year-round pumpkins, is filled with clocks. One of these clocks resides within the walls.

Get it?

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Jonathan is a bearded man who wears kimonos and top hats, aka a warlock. He eats enough cookies (and nothing else) that he is, optimistically, pre-diabetic. His platonic roommate Florence Zimmerman (Cate Blanchett) is defined by her love of purple. And his nephew, Young Sheldon, is precocious beyond what is healthy for a child. He quotes dictionary entries for fun. That’s what we’re working with here.

Just as Lewis gets settled into his new living environment, he realizes everything inside his house is Continue reading The House with a Clock in Its Walls (2018) Movie Review

The Predator (2018) Movie Review

The Predator is proof that 1980s action movies cannot be made today. Cult favorite Shane Black and his writing partner Fred Dekker have concocted a sequel-reboot stuffed to the ears with the worst of ’80s action tropes. But at least there’s an alien in it, right?

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The Predator makes abundantly clear the premise of its franchise. Characters repeatedly Continue reading The Predator (2018) Movie Review

White Boy Rick (2018) Movie Review

“In 1980s Detroit, Ricky Wershe Jr. was a Street Hustler, FBI Informant and Drug Kingpin—all before he turned 16,” boasts the poster for White Boy Rick, the true-crime drama courtesy of director Yann Demange and Matthew McConaughey’s hair. Because if any actor could use a mullet for its full creative potential…

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The eponymous white boy is portrayed by Richie Merritt, a newcomer to the screen. Merritt is a high school student, unlike Ricky, who has dropped out of school to Continue reading White Boy Rick (2018) Movie Review

The Party (2018) Movie Review

A political nomination, triplets on the way, a terminal diagnosis, a constantly chiming cell phone, and a pistol. These are the nodes determining the tizzy that is The Party, a black-and-white dark comedy from Sally Potter.

Janet (Kristin Scott Thomas) has just received a new position within the opposition party. To celebrate, she hosts a small get together with friends.

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At least, they appear as friends.

Husband Bill (Timothy Spall) sits dour in a chair, only stirring to move the needle on his turn table. College friend April (Patricia Clarkson) is quick to Continue reading The Party (2018) Movie Review

Peppermint (2018) Movie Review

Peppermint is essentially the same film as Eli Roth’s remake of Death Wish from earlier this year, only slightly less visually flat and generally more interesting. But don’t misunderstand. Peppermint is not a great movie. It is merely better than one of the most lackluster action films of the year.

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Jennifer Garner stars as Riley North, whose life takes a drastic turn after the gang members who killed her husband and daughter Continue reading Peppermint (2018) Movie Review

One man. Millions of movies.