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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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shin godzilla review

What is Shin Godzilla?

Known as Godzilla: Resurgence in Japan, it is the 29th Godzilla movie produced by the legendary production company Toho. It is directed by Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi and no connection whatsoever to Gareth Edwards’ 2014 film or the giant monster universe Warner Bros. is currently building.

But that doesn’t really answer the question, because Shin Godzilla isn’t what many viewers think it will be. So, what is Shin Godzilla? That’s a difficult question to answer because Anno and Higuchi have really made four movies in one package and each one is fascinating and frustrating and genuinely revealing about what this iconic, and wholly Japanese, series actually represents in the year 2016.

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raw review

It’s going to be easy to label Raw as a cannibal horror movie. It’s simple. It gets the point across. It’s a hook to get people in the door. However, director Julia Ducournau‘s feature debut is about so much more than the consumption of human flesh. It’s a coming-of-age drama that truly understands the loneliness of being away from home for the first time. It’s a pitch-perfect portrait of the awkward transition into college life. It’s a sad and lovely portrait of how siblings are never that far apart, even when there appears to be a great distance between them. Raw is a movie about changes and transitions and settling into being the person you will be for the rest of your life.

And yes, it is also a cannibal horror movie.

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Sadako vs Kayako review

“Who would win in a fight?” is the great conversation starter. You yell about it on the playground. You debate the finer points in the bar. Who you back in a match-up between two fictional characters can sometimes say a lot about you and your tastes. Batman or Superman? Freddy Krueger or Jason Voorhees? Alien or predator?

And now we’ve reached peak versus with the arrival of Sadako vs Kayako, which pits the evil spirits from The Ring and The Grudge against each other in an absurd supernatural throwdown. In one corner, you have a longhaired young woman with a penchant for possessing outdated physical media. In the other, you have a broken-bodied, frog-throated demoness who really doesn’t like visitors. And when they do fight, will anyone care?

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