The Cloverfield Paradox Review

Warning: This Cloverfield Paradox review contains spoilers.

The curious, accidental Cloverfield franchise gets a new addition with the long-delayed The Cloverfield Paradox. After lengthy reshoots, and shuffling through various possible release dates, this latest entry in the Cloverfield series made history with a surprise trailer dropped during the Super Bowl, and a surprise release on Netflix immediately following the game. But is it a step in the right direction for the series, or a major misfire? 

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Braven

Jason Momoa stars in Braven, a film with a dumb name and a whole lot of heart. Braven feels like an anomaly – it’s the type of action movie that was more prevalent in the late ’80s and early ’90s; the type of action movie that used to star Jean-Claude Van Damme. They don’t really make ’em like Braven anymore, and that makes this a film that has to be seen to be believed.

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Damsel Review

One of the earliest images we’re given in Damsel, the latest from filmmakers David & Nathan Zellner (Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter), is of our presumed protagonists sharing a dance. Samuel (Robert Pattinson in full good-guy mode) and Penelope (Mia Wasikowska) are smiling and skipping along in a kind of line dance and just generally giving the appearance of young love. Considering some of the darker images we see throughout the film, the dancing is a welcome relief. Read More »

Summer of 84 Review

While nostalgia for the 1980s has run rampant for years now, in a post-Stranger Things world, movies looking to capture the spirit of the decade and still deliver some thrills and chills need to try a little bit harder to stand out. With the intriguing plot involving the possibility of a serial killer living next door to a teen boy, Summer of ’84 looked like it could be a more mature, bloodier and satisfying piece of genre filmmaking. Unfortunately, it mostly coasts by on nostalgia alone and doesn’t bring much of anything new to the table. Read More »

Hal Review

Anyone who knows the films of the late Hal Ashby often finds it difficult to put into words exactly what it was that separated his work from that of other directors that rose to success in the 1970s. In many ways, his significance and influence as a filmmaker is best understood in the works of more contemporary directors who were deeply inspired and empowered by Ashby’s maverick nature and refusal to allow his work to be altered or influenced by anyone but those around him that he trusted and with whom he worked closely—and uncompromising nature that eventually came back to haunt him as the 1980s brought about an era where profits and accountants ruled the studios, while art took a back seat. Read More »

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Piercing Review

It’s clear from the very beginning of director Nicolas Pesce’s Piercing that he wants us on edge. He opens with a shot of a new father Reed (Christopher Abbott) standing over his infant son with an ice pick just inches from the child’s face. Reed snaps himself out of what seems like a trance and finishes packing for what he tells his wife (Laia Costa) is a business trip but is, in fact, a carefully planned and well-rehearsed killing of a total stranger, complete with a murder kit that we get to know well over the course of the film. Read More »

I Think We're Alone Now review

Is there anyone better at playing soulfully sad than Peter Dinklage? The Game of Thrones star is front and center in I Think We’re Alone Now, a post-apocalyptic drama in which he plays the last man on Earth who discovers he’s not as alone as he thinks when a young woman (Elle Fanning) enters his life. Characters in similar stories might celebrate this miraculous opportunity for human connection, but Del (Dinklage) resents it – he actually prefers being by himself, even in such extreme circumstances. Like an episode of The Twilight Zone extended to feature length, I Think We’re Alone Now wraps emotional exploration in a high concept premise. And like Rod Serling’s seminal sci-fi anthology series, this movie features a third-act twist – but this one almost torpedoes the entire story. Read More »

Maze Runner: The Death Cure review

There’s a lot to like in the final installment of the Maze Runner series. Maze Runner: The Death Cure is not a perfect movie — no movie that tries to have its cake and eat it too truly can be — but as far as franchise blockbusters go, it’s not too bad.

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Tyrel review

As a flurry of white snowflakes fall on a pitch-black sky, the word TYREL is superimposed over them in bold black font. It’s writer/director Sebastian Silva’s first attempt of many to underline the differences between this film’s black protagonist, played by Jason Mitchell (Mudbound, Straight Outta Compton), and the group of all-white bros he’s staying with during a weekend trip to the Catskills to celebrate one of their birthdays. The thing is, Mitchell’s character’s name isn’t even Tyrel, it’s Tyler – the title comes from a misunderstanding from one of the white guys, just one of the endless micro-aggressions (and physical aggressions) Tyler endures during this trip. But while Silva’s exploration of cultural isolation sounds like it could be the heir apparent to last year’s Get Out, Silva doesn’t do enough with the premise to give this movie the same lasting impact. Read More »

A Futile and Stupid Gesture Review

The rise and fall of the subversive comedians at National Lampoon was already extensively covered in the Sundance selected documentary Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of National Lampoon. But director David Wain (They Came Together, Role Models) has taken a completely different approach in his dramatization of the creation of the humor magazine turned radio show and movie production house.

A Futile and Stupid Gesture is based on Josh Karp’s book of the same name, and it follows the founding of the wildly successful National Lampoon as it unfolds in the biographical story of co-creator and comedian Doug Kenney. However, David Wain doesn’t simply use this as an opportunity to craft a traditional biopic. Instead, the movie is a meta, self-aware retelling of Doug Kenney’s story in the same comedic style of National Lampoon, with a vibe that’s a lot like Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy meets Man on the Moon. Read More »