The Belko Experiment Review

James Gunn has been tied up with Marvel movies for the past couple of years, but somewhere in there, he found the time to write and produce The Belko Experiment. Greg McLean, the Aussie filmmaker behind the nasty Wolf Creek films, takes the helm, and the result is a simple, entertaining horror-thriller that doesn’t take itself too seriously.  Read More »

Sing Review

Since Despicable Me, Illumination Entertainment has established itself as a go-to source for sturdy family entertainment. Their films may not reach the artistic heights of Pixar or Disney, but you can generally count on them to be perfectly pleasant and inoffensive, able to entertain the kids without annoying the parents.

Sing is Illumination’s first musical, but otherwise it’s cut from the same cloth as the company’s other films. While not especially deep, the combination of a star-studded cast and an equally star-studded music catalogue make for a fun time. It’s light and sweet and pretty as cotton candy, and it dissolves from memory just as quickly.  Read More »

Headshot review

Iko Uwais may not be a household name in the U.S. just yet, but among fans of a certain type of action movie he’s a superstar. The Indonesian actor and martial artist burst onto the scene with Merantau and had an even bigger breakthrough in The Raid. Headshot, from directors Timo Tjahjanto and Kimo Stamboel (collectively known as the Mo brothers, though they are not actual brothers), has Uwais doing what he does best — kicking ass and taking names — with spectacularly entertaining results.  Read More »

Anne Hathaway in Colosssal review

Movies about giant monsters descending upon cities are a common sight, as are movies about chronic screwups trying to get their lives back on track. But if a movie has ever combined those premises before, I haven’t seen it.

Written and directed by Nacho Vigalondo, Colossal stars Anne Hathaway as a hard-drinking, unemployed thirty-something who hits rock bottom when she gets dumped. But her messy life takes an even crazier turn when she realizes that she’s somehow connected to an enormous creature that’s begun terrorizing Seoul. It’s a bizarre conceit that works against all odds, anchored by strong performances from Hathaway as Gloria and Jason Sudeikis as Oscar, Gloria’s childhood friend.  Read More »


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Arrival Review

Denis Villeneuve‘s Arrival begins with a premise we’ve seen in a hundred summer blockbusters. One day, aliens arrive on Earth, in the form of twelve mysterious ships scattered around the globe. Their purpose is unclear, and humanity is naturally both intrigued and terrified. Where it goes next, though, is a welcome return to grown-up sci-fi, more Contact or Interstellar than Independence Day.

For starters, the aliens don’t open with an attack. And we Earthlings don’t, either. Instead, the U.S. military calls upon Louise (Amy Adams), a linguistics professor, to try and make contact with the alien spaceship in Montana. From there, Villeneuve carefully unspools a story that’s equal parts heart and intellect, encompassing memory, language, loss, love, grief, and the passage of time.

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A Monster Calls review

J.A. Bayona‘s adaptation of Patrick NessA Monster Calls is a five-hankie sobfest, a ruthlessly effective tearjerker even by cancer drama standards. The sniffles start with the premise. A boy (Lewis MacDougall) struggles with his mother’s terminal illness, and calls upon a giant tree monster for help. The monster (voiced by Liam Neeson) forces a deal upon the boy: he’ll tell three stories, after which the boy will have to reveal his own deepest, darkest secret.

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Free Fire review

The third-act shootout is a staple of a certain kind of film, but in Ben Wheatley‘s Free Fire it’s essentially the entire movie. Against all odds, it works. Wheatley stages a never-ending knock-down-drag-out fight, trapping one woman and about a dozen men in an abandoned warehouse and then inviting us to sit back and watch as the bullets and the jokes ricochet off one another. The result is a furiously entertaining exercise that left me buzzing with energy long after I’d left the theater.  Read More »

The Bad Batch

Two years ago, Ana Lily Amirpour came seemingly out of nowhere with her singular first feature, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. The black-and-white feminist Iranian vampire Western felt like nothing we’d seen before — heck, just the description “black-and-white feminist Iranian vampire Western” sounds like nothing we’ve seen before. Now all eyes are on her as she debuts her second film, The Bad Batch.

In concept and style, The Bad Batch is every bit as dazzlingly unique as Amirpour’s last film. It’s set in a dusty dystopian landscape that looks like Venice Beach by way of Mad Max, with some Burning Man and Electric Daisy Carnival thrown in for good measure. Our main characters are Miami Man, a hulking cannibal played by Jason Momoa, and Arlen, a tough bit of prey played by Suki Waterhouse, and the story follows their unexpected collision. But despite a promising start, The Bad Batch runs out of gas about halfway through, and spends the rest of its time meandering through a halfhearted narrative.  Read More »

Loving review

Jeff Nichols has never been one for outsized drama. It’s not that dramatic things don’t happen in his movies — on the contrary, his films are full of superpowered kids and apocalyptic dreams and the like. But he often seems less interested in big events than in all the moments in between, the everyday bonds and minute details that make up the textures of everyday life.

In Loving, Nichols applies that same approach to the 1967 Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia, which struck down anti-miscegenation laws across the country. Aided by awards-worthy performances from Joel Edgerton and especially Ruth Negga, Nichols delivers an intimate drama that feels all the bigger for keeping its scope so resolutely small.  Read More »

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Headshot Trailer - Iko Uwais

Two of the very best action films of the past decade are undoubtedly The Raid and The Raid 2: Berandal. The films deliver some of the most fast-paced, hard-hitting, perfectly choreographed action in recent memory, and while director Gareth Evans is responsible for bringing it all together, leading man Iko Uwais deserves plenty of credit for pulling off his own fight scenes and stunts. And now he’s back in what promises to be another brutal action flick, albeit with a derivative story.

Headshot is premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival this week, and the first trailer for the Indonesian action flick has just arrived online. If you loved the action in The Raid franchise, then you’ll definitely want to check this one out. Watch the Headshot trailer after the jump. Read More »