bloodshot review

It takes Vin Diesel exactly 8 minutes to put on a white tank-top in Bloodshot. I’m tempted to end this review right here, since that’s probably all you need to know about the film. It’s designed to play to Diesel’s strengths, which are: Looking constipated and/or sleepy, punching things, and wearing tank-tops. By those standards, Bloodshot is a smashing success. By all other standards, though, Bloodshot misses the mark.

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the hunt review

How can a film this violent be so toothless? All bark and no bite, The Hunt rides a wave of faux-outrage into theaters, having been pulled from its original release in the wake of bad buzz and endless public shootings. And now that it’s here we can all see how utterly limp it really is. It’s a film that feels like it was designed to rile everyone up, but it ultimately has nothing to say about anything.

Had the movie opened during its original release date, we likely would’ve all forgotten about it by now. That’s not to say the rumors about the movie were untrue. Yes, it really is about liberal elites hunting MAGA-loving deplorables for sport. But rather than risk offending either side, The Hunt instead chooses to hang back and offer no real commentary. It’s a pulpy gore-fest that wants to shock, but ultimately fizzles.

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the boy 2 review

No one walks into a movie called Brahms: The Boy 2 expecting a masterpiece, but for the love of Brahms, why is this thing so boringWilliam Brent Bell‘s follow-up to his mostly okay The Boy has a new group of people being plagued by a tiny antique doll, and expands the mythology, taking it to increasingly silly places. But silly would be fine if The Boy 2 was at least a little bit entertaining. It’s not.

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gretel and hansel review

A brooding, beautiful, mystical bedtime story, Gretel and Hansel has been delegated to a release in the dead days of January, but deserves better. Oz Perkins‘s mystical, occult-heavy take on the classic folktale from the Brothers Grimm has so much style, and so many bold ideas, that it seems destined to become a cult classic someday – the type of film people find years from now and ask, “Why the hell haven’t I heard of this before?”

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wendy review

Filmmakers just can’t stop returning to the world of Peter Pan. The story of the boy who never grew up holds sway over seemingly everyone, from Walt Disney, to Steven Spielberg, to Joe Wright, and beyond. The latest to tackle to the tale is Benh Zeitlin, director of Beasts of the Southern Wild. That 2012 indie was once acclaimed, but has since fallen out of favor. Zeitlin’s return, Wendy, is more of the same, for better or worse. If you enjoyed and still enjoy Beasts, you’ll probably find something to love about Zeitlin’s Peter Pan riff. But the filmmaker’s sophomore effort is also messier, and save for a handful of choices, ultimately brings nothing new to a familiar story.

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amulet review

Amulet is the type of film where you spend more time noticing the production design than you do giving a shit about the story. A painfully slow slog, this horror film from Romola Garai has plenty of good ideas and a few neat creature effects, but that’s not enough to salvage things. Some may come away thrilled with Amulet‘s big finish, which sends a message folks can get behind – especially in this day and age. But that doesn’t excuse the rest of the movie.

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mcmillions review

McDonald’s made a killing with their Monopoly games – simply peel a card off a box of fries or a sweating cup of soda and you could be a winner! But there was a catch – a catch that McDonald’s wasn’t even aware of. While everyday ordinary people were able to win themselves free burgers, the higher prizes – fancy cars and bundles of money – had a weird way of going towards a group of interconnected people. Because someone on the inside had found a way to game the system, and pull off one a super-sized swindle. HBO’s new six-part series McMillions tells this story with all the energy of a Hollywood comedy – before it starts going to darker places.

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horse girl review

How do you even begin to talk about Horse Girl? The new Netflix film from director Jeff Baena, co-written by Baena and star Alison Brie, dares you to classify it. It exists in its own little world, blending genres with surprisingly strong results. What starts off seeming like a quirky rom-com quickly morphs into something far more disturbing, and strange.

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the nowhere inn review

On stage, St. Vincent is sexy, mysterious, and seemingly all-powerful. Offstage, though, she’s Annie Clark – and Annie Clark is a bit of a boring nerd. Or so says The Nowhere Inn, a surreal meta-comedy about fame – and what we demand from the famous people we idolize. Framed as both a faux documentary and a narrative film, The Nowhere Inn finds Clark’s best friend Carrie Brownstein, of Sleater-Kinney and Portlandia fame, setting out to make a documentary about St. Vincent on tour. But as Clark tells us right from the start, in a Blair Witch Project-style warning, things don’t go according to plan, and the documentary was never finished.

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downhill review

If you watched Ruben Östlund’s uncomfortable dark comedy Force Majeure and thought, “This is good, but it would be better if it was nicer and more watered-down,” you’re in luck. Downhill is exactly that – a remake that is more or less the same movie as its original – with most of what made the original so special tactfully removed.

That’s not to say Downhill is bad – it’s not. It’s perfectly fine. And anyone watching it who hasn’t seen Force Majeure beforehand might find even more to love. But even removing Force Majeure from the equation, Downhill harkens back to the era of forgettable ’90s rom-coms, where any semblance of conflict is tidily wrapped up by the time the credits roll.

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