Michael Moore in TrumpLand

Last night brought the surprise premiere of Michael Moore in TrumpLand, a film that was put together in seven weeks after staging a one-man-show about the 2016 election at a theater in Wilmington, Ohio, a town known for being on the right side of the aisle. At only 73 minutes, it turns out that this project (which Moore had just finished cutting yesteray morning) isn’t a documentary about Donald Trump, but rather a one-man show that feels more like a commencement speech or stand-up routine featuring Michael Moore explaining why you should vote for Hillary Clinton rather than why you shouldn’t vote for Donald Trump.

So how did it turn out? Find out what the first Michael Moore in TrumpLand reviews have to say. Read More »

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk Reviews

Last night brought the world premiere of Ang Lee’s latest film, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. Yesterday we happened to run a featurette exploring director Ang Lee‘s use of new technology that allowed the film to be shot at 120 frames per second (FPS). That’s a significantly higher frame rate than Peter Jackson’s experimental use of 48 FPS for The Hobbit trilogy, and it sounds like the reaction to this format from the first reviews of the movie is even more resistant than to that previous effort.

Most of the criticism from the first Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk reviews are with regards to the distracting presentation (which will end up not matter for general audiences, as we’ll explain at the end). But beyond that, it sounds like the film doesn’t bring anything else potentially groundbreaking to the table, offering another metaphor for our society to deal with in relation to war with some decent performances and occasionally beautiful visuals scattered throughout.

Read More »

The Accountant Reviews - Ben Affleck

This weekend brings Gavin O’Connor‘s action thriller The Accountant to theaters, giving us a second round of Ben Affleck action following his debut as the Dark Knight in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The trailer promised an engaging thriller following an assassin under the guise of an accountant who also happens to fall on the autism spectrum. So how did the movie turn out? The consensus seems to be that the movie’s concept and plot are rather ridiculous, but that doesn’t stop the movie from being enjoyable while also garnering comparisons to Batman.

Find out what the first batch of The Accountant reviews have to say after the jump. Read More »

The Birth of a Nation

Nate Parker’s Birth of a Nation was one of my most anticipated films this year, due to the rapturous response people had to it at Sundance. Just from reading the plot summary and seeing the trailer, the film’s plot seemed to speak to many aspects of race and racial violence that we desperately need to have in our national conversation today.

Unfortunately, since Sundance, the film has been embroiled in controversy around its director and star. Moreover, the way the film depicts women, whose sexual violation is used as a way to motivate its men to take action, is deeply problematic at best.

I’m trying something a little different this week. Rather than a quick 3-4 minute video review, I filmed my friend Wendi and me having a lengthy, 30-minute conversation about the film, its depiction of women, and the real-life controversy surrounding it. I hope you find it interesting.

Read More »

Adam Driver in Paterson review

In the past five years, Adam Driver has gone from total obscurity to total ubiquity. Girls was the show that launched him to fame, but his work since then has proven that his breakout role was no fluke. There’s a reason he’s being courted by everyone from the blockbuster magicians at Disney (for Star Wars: The Force Awakens) to top-level directors like Noah Baumbach, the Coens, and Jeff Nichols. With Paterson, he checks another acclaimed auteur off his to-do list, Jim Jarmusch, and the results of their meeting prove as wonderfully idiosyncratic as they are.  Read More »

Everything We Saw at Fantastic Fest 2016

fantastic-fest-2016

When the smoke cleared, I ended up seeing 27 movies over eight days at Fantastic Fest 2016. The Austin-based genre film festival always has a strong line-up of odd, unusual, and unique movies from around the world, but this year was truly exceptional – I saw very few movies I wouldn’t recommend in some capacity. I even saw a handful of movies that are in serious contention for my end-of-the-year top 10.

For the sake of completeness, I have compiled all of my Fantastic Fest coverage into one place, with links to my reviews and smaller capsule reviews for everything that didn’t get their own post. If you’re looking for a something terrifying or unique or action-packed or tear-jerking or just plain unusual, there is something here for you.

Read More »

RedLetterMedia's Force Awakens Review

RedLetterMedia has finally posted their epic feature-length takedown of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. You might remember that independent filmmaker Mike Stoklasa’s 70-minute video review of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace went viral in 2009. The review was posted in seven parts on YouTube, and presented from the point of view of his character “Harry S. Plinkett.” Mr. Plinkett followed up those reviews with take-downs of the other George Lucas Star Wars films and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

And now he has returned with a one hour and forty-five-minute video essay on the current and future of the Star Wars franchise, and oh yeah, a review of JJ Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Hit the jump to watch RedLetterMedia’s Force Awakens review.

Read More »

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children Review

On paper, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children sounds like a perfect combination of talent, material, and timing. It’s essentially an X-Men movie, in keeping with the current craze for superhero films, but one with a fanciful gothic vibe. It is directed by the master of fanciful gothic vibes, Tim Burton — who knows a thing or two about superheroes and big-budget blockbusters already. It’s led by the living Tim Burton drawings Eva Green and Asa Butterfield. Oh, and it’s based on a bestselling novel by Ransom Riggs.

In short, it has all the makings of a big hit that brings some much-needed quirkiness back to the multiplex. So why, then, does it all feel so… uninspired? So familiar? So not-very-peculiar?  Read More »

down under review

It’s a shame that Down Under exists in the first place, but because we live in this particular world at this particular time, it can’t help but feel necessary. It’s not a movie we want as much as it is a movie we need, an angry howl of pain and confusion that goes down like a bitter pill. But a spoonful of comedy helps the medicine go down, because writer/director Abe Forsythe‘s pitch-black comedy is one of the funniest movies of the year, tempering so much rage and pain with stoner jokes, slapstick, and a cast of characters who earn your affection despite themselves.

Read More »

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

a dark song review

If your average horror movie is an indication, the occult is a piece of cake. Grab a dusty old tome from your local library, pick up a Ouija board, light a candle or two and voila! You’re ready to open a portal, summon a demon, or cleanse a house of a vengeful spirit. Genre movies have a habit of making magic look easy and convenient. Either anyone can do it, or an exposition-spouting expert is just a quick phone call away.

A Dark Song isn’t that kind of movie. Writer/director Liam Gavin has made a movie where black magic isn’t just dangerous and a good way endanger your soul – it’s also really, really difficult and it takes a long time. Here is a movie about a single dark ritual that takes place over the course of six months.

Read More »