• Ghostbusters: Afterlife

    Ghostbusters: Afterlife

    ★★½

    Cashing in on 80s nostalgia is a major business model in Hollywood these days, and in fairness, some of the attempts at resurrecting long dormant franchises have actually been surprisingly rewarding. “Blade Runner: 2049”, against all odds, expanded on the mythology of a groundbreaking science-fiction classic and with state-of-the-art visual effects pushed the envelope even further than Ridley Scott did, while going by the reviews, “Top Gun: Maverick” is another showcase for Tom Cruise to demonstrate that his age is…

  • Pocahontas

    Pocahontas

    ★★★

    In the 90s, Disney, with mixed results, tried to introduce both more diversity and maturity into its content. The animation and storytelling, not to mention the soundtracks, were so far above and beyond anything they had attempted previously that these years rightfully went down in history as the Disney Renaissance. Nevertheless, the effort to highlight a variety of cultures throughout history and the world, while well-intentioned, occasionally backfired by at best oversimplifying complex concepts and interactions and at worst directly…

  • The Nest

    The Nest

    ★★★½

    Whenever a family moves into an old, derelict manor in the countryside, they never live happily ever after. At best, they fall into a state of melancholy and can’t stand being around each other anymore. At worst, the family father goes nuts and hunts his wife and kid down with an axe. Maybe somebody should have told Rory O’Hara that, but it’s highly unlikely he would have bothered to pay attention. He always knows best. The best way to make…

  • Top Gun

    Top Gun

    ★★★½

    There is unequivocally a right and a wrong way to experience a movie for the first time, especially one this renowned. If you are introduced to “Top Gun” in a home theater in 4K and with the sound cranked up all the way, it’s still a damn impressive achievement. It takes the dog fights from “Star Wars”, transplants them into the skies of our world and swaps out the naïve farm boy with daddy issues and magical powers for a…

  • Marie Antoinette

    Marie Antoinette

    ★★★

    The more time I spend with Sofia Coppola’s work as a director, and this was her fifth film I have watched, the more frustrated I get with her worldview. I think it’s fair to point out that her father being who he is helped her career, even if I won’t go so far as to say that her success is mostly, let alone entirely, a product of nepotism. She is a talented creative mind with a strong visual signature and…

  • Pain & Gain

    Pain & Gain

    ★★★½

    On one hand, this is a decidedly odd fit for Michael Bay’s filmography. There are no major bona fide action set pieces. The world isn’t about to end. There are no bucketloads of CGI assaulting your senses. On the other, his handwriting is unambiguously all over this. It’s aesthetically ugly, spliced together like a music video for some wannabe Miami music sensation, and never entirely manages to bridge the disconnect between the horrible actions of its three protagonists and its…

  • Band of Brothers

    Band of Brothers

    ★★★★½

    “Band of Brothers”, a watershed triumph for HBO back in 2001, achieves much in its ten episodes. It’s a raw, gritty, and utterly merciless depiction of the realities of war, and yet a celebration of human perseverance and spirit. It tells the story of a group of men who parachuted into Normandy on D-Day, lived through incredible hardships for months and eventually uncovered the horrors that Nazi Germany had inflicted upon the members of its civilian population that it considered…

  • Unstoppable

    Unstoppable

    ★★★½

    Tony Scott’s final film is a blend of his career-defining strengths as a director and some of his most aggravating, self-sabotaging tendencies. Unlike in his two Denzel Washington vehicles directly preceding this one, “Déjà Vu” and “The Taking of Pelham 123”, neither of which are exactly peak accomplishments, here the enemy isn’t human. Admittedly, there are a bunch of incompetent corporate assholes, who have no idea how to properly deal with a crisis and prioritize the bottom line over saving…

  • Love and Monsters

    Love and Monsters

    ★★★½

    It's a shame how much damage COVID did to the exposure “Love and Monsters” may have gotten in normal times if it had received a theatrical release. The film is a skillfully executed, if awfully familiar blend of YA fiction and at times genuinely frightening monster lore in the vein of “Stranger Things” (Shawn Levy is credited as a producer here). Aesthetically, it also reminded me of “Horizon Forbidden West”, a video game I have been playing for the past…

  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

    Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

    ★★★½

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    There will come a day in the not too distant future on which the MCU will be in serious trouble. After Thanos erased half the population of the universe and then attempted a full reboot when that failed to address his concerns, there was a question of how the franchise could possibly keep raising the stakes. The answer was fairly simple. Now it’s not just one universe that’s in peril. It’s all of them. Various alternative realities, some of them…

  • Tombstone

    Tombstone

    ★★★★

    I’m continually surprised by how much I enjoy the brief resurrection of the Western genre from the early 1990s. Although I only have limited enthusiasm for the old-school works of John Ford and Sergio Leone, I find that I am rather partial to the modernized takes on this world by the Kevin Costners and Clint Eastwoods of the world, who won the Best Picture Oscar for “Dances with Wolves” and “Unforgiven” respectively. “Tombstone”, while it wasn’t showered with awards when…

  • Moon Knight

    Moon Knight

    ★★★

    “Moon Knight” disproves a handful of assumptions I made about the MCU. The first is that I have for years been advocating for the franchise to step out of its comfort zone more often and to embrace the inherent weirdness of a shared superhero universe. I figured that would make it more interesting than just rehashing the same general plotlines over and over again. Turns out that only goes so far. The other is that the canon, which now includes…