• The Disappearance of Alice Creed

    The Disappearance of Alice Creed

    ★★★½

    Do yourself a favor and go into this movie knowing nothing. I read the description for the film on a streaming service and had one of the key reveals spoiled for me. Even so, "The Disappearance Of Alice Creed" is still an impressively taut thriller, sparing the audience of the chills and bombast in favor of some good ol' fashioned narrative intrigue. With each twist lopped on to this plot, you're constantly learning more and more about each character and,…

  • Notting Hill

    Notting Hill

    ★★★★

    Never thought I'd ever fall this hard for a rom-com, but there's just something about the honest and off-beat awkwardness on display all throughout "Notting Hill" that really resonated with me. I've been exposed to the rom-com stylings of Richard Curtis prior to now and, while I've never really been blown away ("Yesterday" is pretty good, "Love, Actually" is okay) I've always seen his appeal. The wit, the thorough nature to his stories, the emotionality; all of it resonated as…

  • Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

    Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

    ★★★½

    Easily ranking amongst the top three most underrated directorial debuts I've seen from a working actor thus far, George Clooney's "Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind" doesn't just rest on the merits of Charlie Kaufman's compellingly structured and executed narrative. Echoes of Soderbergh and the Coen brothers are absolutely apparent, but on top of those elements you're also presented with a lot of experimental framing, editing camerawork and set dressing. Whether those were born out of the wackiness of Kaufman's screenplay…

  • The Kid

    The Kid

    ★★½

    Never thought I'd be in the minority crowd on a Chaplin film, especially considering how much I've truly enjoyed so many of his other works. However, "The Kid," while not a flagrantly ineffective or even bad film by any stretch, just didn't have the same effect on me that other Chaplin films have had. Perhaps it's the stage within Chaplin's career that this movie resides in. Later films of his (i.e. "City Lights," "Modern Times" or even "The Gold Rush"…

  • Star Trek

    Star Trek

    ★★★½

    Taking a brief detour into contrarian territory, I actually prefer the latter two Kelvin Timeline "Star Trek" films to this one. That's not to say 2009's "Star Trek" isn't damn entertaining, featuring solid action, effects and emotionality (I dare anybody to try getting and through that opening scene with Chris Hemsworth and Jennifer Morrison without feeling anything). There's something about the established character relationships and circumstances of "Into Darkness" and "Beyond" that really feel a lot more tight. Obviously, the…

  • Lucky Number Slevin

    Lucky Number Slevin

    ★★½

    Pro tip: when it takes the last half-hour of your movie to explain the first 80 minutes of your movie, you're trying too hard. You see this kind of mistake in other Tarantino copycat films like "Smokin' Aces," "Suicide Kings" and even "The Boondock Saints" to some extent. Screenwriters trying to not only outsmart the audience, but themselves. It really doesn't impress. You see the twists and turns coming from a mile away and when they eventually land, you lament…

  • Carlito's Way

    Carlito's Way

    ★★★

    "Carlito's Way" finds "Scarface" collaborators Al Pacino and Brian De Palma reteaming within the realms of the crime epic. This time around, though, the wear and tear is evident, particularly in Pacino. From the misplaced accent, to the hammy voice-over work, his performance didn't really pass the smell test for me. Seemed like he was kind of phoning it in here. That being said, he's still watchable, with his innate charm and likability carrying you through the watch just so.…

  • Ruby Sparks

    Ruby Sparks

    ★★★½

    Definitely more of a fascinating thought experiment than it is a satisfying romantic comedy, "Ruby Sparks" finds Zoe Kazan at her most metaphysically flexible, filling both the role of screenwriter and titular performer in a movie about an author whose creation literally blinks off the page and into corporeality. Add in the fact that Kazan's real life partner, Paul Dano, occupies the role of the aforementioned writer and you've got yourself the potential for a real mind-bender. In reality, though,…

  • Mildred Pierce

    Mildred Pierce

    ★★½

    Every now and then, you encounter a film from the studio era that perfectly encapsulates the ins and outs of its source material. Films like "The Maltese Falcon" and "Double Indemnity" may change names or condense scenes, but the overall feel of the original project resounds clearly, regardless of the adaptation process. With this film, however, it seems as though something may have gotten lost in the translation from page to screen. Struggling mightily in its attempts to balance the…

  • The Equalizer 2

    The Equalizer 2

    ★★★½

    There are scrub leading men, there are average leading men, there are A-list leading men and then there's Denzel Washington. Regardless of the director, screenplay or supporting cast, the guy simply elevates every project he's associated with to — at the very least — par. I've yet to see a truly unenjoyable movie with him at the forefront. "The Equalizer 2" is no different. As an admitted fan of the first film, I can't say I wasn't excited to see…

  • Altered States

    Altered States

    ★★★

    Wild, weird and impossible to get through without thinking about if/how many times Joe Rogan's watched it, Ken Russell's "Altered States" hurls the classic "mad scientist" horror formula down the rabbit hole of psychedelic drugs, churning it all together with some truly impressive visual effects, evocative imagery and appropriately frenetic editing. There's another genre element in play here that I won't spoil, but once you realize the filmmakers at hand are serious about its implementation, it makes for quite the…

  • Like Stars on Earth

    Like Stars on Earth

    ★★★

    As syrupy and indulgent as it may be, it's impossible to watch Aamir Khan's "Taare Zameen Par" without running into frequent deluges of passion from the filmmaker, overflowing onto you like blood rushing out of the elevators of the Overlook Hotel. Some of it does feel as though Aamir Khan really, really, really wants you to know how much this story means to him, but I can't blame him. The subject matter at hand is undoubtedly important, with numerous scenes…