May 26, 2017

'Morgan' Review: Technological Nightmare

Do not see this movie whatever you do

Barf Major Hollywood movies about robots and AI have generally fallen pretty flat, but that doesn’t change how they’re potentially rich areas for storytelling and the paradoxical notion of what it is to be alive.

Sept. 07, 2016 by Alex De Vore

The Secret Life of Pets Review

Barf One begins to wonder how many “this is what the toys/pets/cars/planes/appliances do when you aren’t watching” films we’re expected to suffer through at this point, and The Secret Life of Pets isn’t helping.

July 13, 2016 by Alex De Vore

Sunset song?

More like Sunset WRONG

Barf Based on the 1932 book of the same name by Scottish author Lewis Grassic Gibbon, the film has the makings of an epic, yet it’s a fair bet that his plot and character development is a lot richer than in this big-screen adaptation.

June 15, 2016 by Julie Ann Grimm

Paralyzed by Awfulness

Me Before You sucks so, so hard

Barf Emilia Clarke joins Sam Claflin in Me Before You, an emotionally manipulative pile of dreck that tries so hard to make us feel anything, but winds up feeling like the longest hour and 50 minutes of your life.

June 08, 2016 by Alex De Vore

What is this movie about?

Art-Doc run amok

Barf Aleksandr Sokurov’s newest film, Francofonia, is a schizophrenic misadventure in filmmaking. The lackluster attempt at weaving its several elements into a cohesive union is a failed effort.

May 04, 2016 by Ben Kendall

Who’s the Boss?

Not Melissa McCarthy

Barf Oh boy, here comes The Boss, yet another pointless outing in a long line of movies wherein Melissa McCarthy says a bunch of awkward things, acts like a childish asshole to everyone and falls down all the time.

April 13, 2016 by Alex De Vore

Uneven Bars

I used to be a gymnast like you, then I took an arrow to the knee.

Barf There’s a general guideline in screenwriting that’s known as the “save the cat” moment. It’s a scene where the audience gets to somehow connect with the main character (or villain, if you’re being creative) on a personal level.

March 23, 2016 by Ben Kendall

North African Pantheon

Inappropriately a bunch of white guys

Barf Poor Geoffrey Rush. Poor, poor, poor Geoffrey Rush. Even an accomplished, Academy Award-winning thespian of his caliber (who somehow made a role in the absurd Pirates of the Caribbean seem excellent) could not save the abysmal Gods of Egypt.

March 02, 2016 by Alex De Vore

Let Him Die!

Dirty Grandpa is just so very awful

Barf It’s hard to say for whom Dirty Grandpa is more embarrassing: Aubrey Plaza or Robert DeNiro. 

Jan. 25, 2016 by Alex De Vore

Fervor on the Red Carpet

Documentary looks at cult of celebrity and awards shows

Barf What do the gritty details of the OJ Simpson trial and the splendor of the red carpet have in common? Aside from being studded with celebrities and paparazzi, it might not seem like much.  Howe

Jan. 25, 2016 by Anna Mae Kersey

'Don’t Call Me Son' Review: Here Comes the Son

At best, we’re getting half a story

Meh A moody teenage boy is thrust into a labyrinth of overwhelming heartache and confusion when he learns that the woman he believed was his mother kidnapped him as a baby some 17 years ago.

Nov. 30, 2016 by Alex De Vore

'Being 17' Review

Meh With a father abroad in the military and a pregnant mother bedridden with a pulmonary infection, what are two 17-year-old boys to do when their lives are compromised and their sexualities begin to manifest?

Nov. 02, 2016 by Kim Jones

'Uncle Howard' Review: Howard’s End

Documentary probably appeals only to the extremely cinematically literate

Meh In 1978, a New York University film student named Howard Brookner was allowed unprecedented access to Naked Lunch author William S Burroughs.

Oct. 19, 2016 by Alex De Vore

'Max Rose' Review

Meh When the legendary Robin Williams went dramatic (like in 1982’s The World According to Garp or 1989’s Dead Poets Society), the results wound up stunning.

Sept. 21, 2016 by Alex De Vore

'Complete Unknown' Review

Meh Toward the end of Complete Unknown, one character tells the other, “That’s crazy and fucked up and kind of amazing.” In what could be the slowest movie ever made about New York City, at least those first two are right.

Aug. 31, 2016 by Julie Ann Grimm

Suicide Squad Review: Comically Bad

DC continues to struggle when it comes to handling the world of film

Meh Despite the utter nonsense that was Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and reportedly frantic last-minute reshoots, fan hopes for Suicide Squad, the newest effort from the DC Comics expanded universe, remained high. It looked soooo cool, right? Right.

Aug. 10, 2016 by Alex De Vore

Jason Bourne Review: Stillbourne

A needless return to the Bourne series

Meh Hard to believe it’s been 14 years since The Bourne Identity rolled into theaters and completely changed Matt Damon’s persona from “ho-hum” to “oh damn!”

Aug. 02, 2016 by Alex De Vore

Star Trek Beyond Review: Space Sadness

A thoroughly disappointing enterprise

Meh Space: the final frontier. An infinite vacuum of darkness wherein a film series can come out strong and full of promise but then eventually devolves into a by-the-numbers affair that repeatedly follows the same plotlines apparently forever and ever.

July 27, 2016 by Alex De Vore

Free State of Jones Review: Civil Bore

Meh There’s just something about war movies that draw us in as audiences. Oh sure, there’s the history and the shaping of nations and all that, but there’s also much to be said for the stark realism of a well-done battle scene.

June 29, 2016 by Alex De Vore

Clooney's been taken hostage!

Jodie Foster directs Clooney and Roberts in one of the most "just OK" movies ever.

Meh It’s definitely exciting that movies like this or The Big Short are beginning to look at the straight thievery of Wall Street, but whatever moral they may have been attempting to get across in this particular film is lost in the shuffle.

May 18, 2016 by Alex De Vore

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Review

Damn, it feels good to be a pirate

Movie Reviews Johnny Depp and crew are back as Captain Jack Sparrow and a bunch of bafflingly yet inextricably linked seafaring types.

May 25, 2017 by Alex De Vore

'The Commune' Review

Movie Reviews The fragility of aging relationships takes center stage in The Commune, a tense vision of 1970’s Denmark that manages to tell an honestly painful love story through unconventional yet believable means.

May 24, 2017 by Alex De Vore

'Alien: Covenant' Review

The Fassbender principle

Movie Reviews It doesn’t take much to get me to suspend disbelief in sci-fi—I want to be on that new planet or in that ship—but you’ve gotta try. 

May 19, 2017 by Matt Grubs

'Norman' Review

Movie Reviews Norman Oppenheimer might have the same last name as SantaFamous philanthropists and the guy who gets the credit for facilitating the atomic bomb up there in Los Alamos, but his life apparently had fewer headline accomplishments.

May 17, 2017 by Julie Ann Grimm

'Dead Awake' Review

Don’t move a muscle

Movie Reviews Final Destination scribe Jeffrey Reddick returns to his horror roots with 2016’s Dead Awake, a wildly mediocre look at laughably archaic explanations surrounding sleep paralysis played out in the modern day.

May 17, 2017 by Alex De Vore

Hounds of Love Review

Movie Reviews Whispered horror stories about what happens when angsty teen girls get into cars with strangers become harrowing, vivid screams in this Australian work of fiction.

May 10, 2017 by Julie Ann Grimm

'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2' Review

The perfect summer movie

Movie Reviews In a sea of ultra-serious films based on comic books, melodrama fatigue becomes a serious concern. Thank goodness then for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

May 04, 2017 by Alex De Vore

'Risk' Review

A challenging glimpse at a flawed modern icon

Movie Reviews Wikileaks founder Julian Assange remains a calculated mystery, even after filmmaker Laura Poitras’ eye-opening documentary Risk, a grim look at the man himself covering Wikileaks’ rise to prominence before Assange’s descent.

May 03, 2017 by Alex De Vore

'The War at Home' Review

Movie Reviews Though it’s been nearly 40 years since the initial release of The War at Home in 1979, this close look at the domestic protest efforts waged during the Vietnam War rings as relevant as ever.

May 03, 2017 by Alex De Vore

'My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea' Review

Movie Reviews With no shortage of memoir-esque graphic novels on the circuit, comic artist/animator Dash Shaw brings the gestalt to the big screen, albeit in a wildly exaggerated fashion.

April 26, 2017 by Alex De Vore

'Seasons' Review

Ok SEASONS From the directors of 2009’s Oceans, Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud, comes an alternative approach to documentary filmmaking with Seasons.

Dec. 14, 2016 by Kim Jones

'Fire at Sea' Review

Ok Though Fire at Sea does well at establishing its message, it fails to evolve into a full-fledged narrative.

Nov. 30, 2016 by Kim Jones

'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them' Review: Half Magic

Good news for Potter-heads, really only OK news for everyone else

Ok Say you’re JK Rowling and find yourself sitting on a property that practically prints cash. It would only make sense that you’d find it somewhat difficult to leave all that behind. Probably.

Nov. 23, 2016 by Alex De Vore

'Looking Through a Glass Onion: Deconstructing The White Album' Review

Ok Composer Scott Freiman’s love for The Beatles runs so deep, he’s considered one of the world’s foremost Fab Four scholars (yes, scholar). Thus, with his new filmed lecture, Looking Through a Glass Onion: Deconstructing The White Album, Freiman

Nov. 16, 2016 by Alex De Vore

'Christine' Review

Ok If you were around in the 1970s, you may remember when newscaster Christine Chubbuck shot herself live on the air during a broadcast.

Nov. 09, 2016 by Kim Jones

'Keeping up with the Joneses' Review

Ok Holding up undercover identities was easy for the Joneses in 30 foreign countries. But less than a week in the suburbs in the USA, and they’re blown in a big way.

Oct. 26, 2016 by Julie Ann Grimm

'No Light and No Land Anywhere' Review

Ok Her eyelids lay heavy, struggling not to shutter completely over her hazel-spotted pale blue eyes. Tears crystallize, balancing upon the bottom lids, grasping to defy gravity.

Oct. 19, 2016 by Jonny Leather

'Author: The JT LeRoy Story' Review

Ok When a young man penetrates the literary scene in the early years of the century, he’s compared to William Faulkner and Flannery O’Connor.

Oct. 05, 2016 by Julie Ann Grimm

'The Magnificent Seven' Review

Ok Hold onto your hats, because here comes another remake—this time in the form of legendary Western The Magnificent Seven (which was itself a retelling of Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai).

Sept. 28, 2016 by Alex De Vore

'Harry and Avis' Review

Ok Billed as an indie rom-com, this simple story leaves a lot to the imagination. Although the title suggests otherwise, and despite how Avis takes up her share of the screen, it’s more of a story about Harry.

Sept. 07, 2016 by Julie Ann Grimm

What Did You Do in the War on Terrorism, Daddy?

The Interview debacle isn’t over, and it’s pretty bizarre

See By the time you read this piece, it will be a week since Sony canceled the release of James Franco and Seth Rogen’s comedy The Interview. And then news broke Tuesday that the The Interview will screen on Christmas after all, just in limited release.

Dec. 23, 2014 by David Riedel

Killing Hollywood-Style for Real

‘The Act of Killing’ is a bizarre must-see

See The Act of Killing is such a surreal movie it’s almost hard to believe that all the killings in it took place. 

Feb. 25, 2014 by David Riedel

'Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened' Review

Yay Director Lonny Price (Company and 2001’s Sweeney Todd in concert) explores the complexities of the 1981 Broadway musical Merrily We Roll Along.

Dec. 21, 2016 by Kim Jones

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Review: Side Quests

Good news everyone—it rules!

Yay Now that we’re apparently going to get our Star Wars movies in annualized form, it’s only natural to question the validity of Rogue One

Dec. 16, 2016 by Alex De Vore

'The Eagle Huntress' Review: Fly, You Fools!

Documentary is breaking the ice, hunting the fox, sneaking into the boys’ club

Yay Forget Frozen. Just let it go. And ditch your heartbreak-turned-fury over the role sexism likely played in the recent presidential election.

Dec. 14, 2016 by Julie Ann Grimm

'Stronger Than Bullets' Review: Songs of Revolution

The role of music during Gaddafi’s fall

Yay Filmmaker Matthew Millan explores Gaddafi's ban on music parallel to the Libyan revolution.

Dec. 07, 2016 by Alex De Vore

'The Lost City of Cecil B DeMille' Review

Yay Who wouldn’t love a film about a dismantled film set turned archaeological dig?

Dec. 07, 2016 by Kim Jones

'Arrival' Review

Yay Half the country is celebrating the arrival of an iconoclastic new leader, while the other half is gripped with despondency and even fear.

Nov. 30, 2016 by Neil Morris

'Moonlight' Review

Yay In a new work based on the previously unproduced screenplay In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue by Tarell Alvin McCraney, director Barry Jenkins (Medicine for Melancholy) brings us a romantic drama fueled by self-discovery.

Nov. 23, 2016 by Kim Jones

'SEED: The Untold Story' Review: Beauty, Mystery, Danger

All part of the unfolding story of seeds

Yay “The diversity in our seed stock is as endangered as a panda or golden eagle or a polar bear right now.”

Nov. 16, 2016 by Julie Ann Grimm

'The Handmaiden' Review: A New Kind of Handjob

Oldboy director weirds us out all over again

Yay Korean director Chan-wook Park takes another twisted trip down the rabbit hole of bizarre familial relations and erotic intrigue with The Handmaiden.

Nov. 09, 2016 by Alex De Vore

Gimme Danger Review: Lust For Life

Jim Jarmusch tackles Iggy Pop and The Stooges

Yay Gimme Danger begins at the end. One ending, anyway, as Jim Osterberg—now much older but still in damn good shape—explains the events of 1973 from what appears to be his laundry room.

Nov. 02, 2016 by Alex De Vore
 
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