• Spider-Man: No Way Home

    Spider-Man: No Way Home

    ★★½

    A movie more about Spider-Man™ than Spider-Man the character. The biggest movie of the year is just a series of references and commentaries (not even meta-textual, literally in the text) on previous iterations of a franchise with a story that is not compelling because it features an unnecessary amount of magic mumbo jumbo. Everyone has chosen to love this for reasons that make me feel dead inside. The sole purpose of movies now is just to set up more sequels…

  • Tenet

    Tenet

    ★★

    I try to restrain myself from the ultra-negative fanboy trolling that comes with Christopher Nolan movies, but I haven't loathed something quite like this in, possibly, my entire life. It isn't just Nolan's "schtick" that bothers me; it's his complete abandonment of anything but that "schtick" in a movie that becomes so overwrought with this unnecessary indulgence and, ultimately, disappointment. As a filmmaker, Nolan's highs are high-- executing excellent action sequences, creating blockbuster movies without IP attached, and thrilling uses…

  • The Trial of the Chicago 7

    The Trial of the Chicago 7

    ★★

    Aaron Sorkin is his own worst enemy. Aaron Sorkin the writer cannot help but be hindered by Aaron Sorkin the director. The Trial of the Chicago 7 fails as a movie, but successfully illuminates Sorkin's identity as a filmmaker.

    But, before I divulge into my prolonged, Sorkin character-esque rant, I need to shout out Yahya Abdul Mateen II. Abdul-Mateen absolutely crushes it as Bobby Seale and perfectly grasps on to every moment he has with the gravity it deserves. The…

  • Boys State

    Boys State

    ★★★★½

    The front runner of the year has arrived. A fantastic documentary that just dominates at every level- production, subject, storytelling, just an enthralling two hours. It is Lord of the Flies genuinely portrayed through the lens of 2020 politics. The movie subjects to a world of teenage masculinity, identity politics, and the ideologies of a misguided generation of navel-gazing soon-to-be politicians. In the documentation of the week-long mock Texas state government election cycle, the film captures a brilliantly perfect snapshot…

  • An American Pickle

    An American Pickle

    ★½

    New releases get me excited now in ways they obviously wouldn't under normal circumstances, and this so far has left me with some probably avoidable disappointment. An American Pickle is no different. My hopes were set probably a little too high with this one, but that still doesn't excuse the overly stuffed story, riddled with too many plot divergences, and an utter lack of laughs. The story could've been so clean and simple as it revolved around this high concept…

  • Palm Springs

    Palm Springs

    ★★★★

    No one has executed the Groundhog Day formula with such charm as Palm Springs starring Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti. For the everlasting repetition of the same day to work, you have to be willing to spend eternity with these characters. Samberg and Milioti not only deliver on this, but even leave you wanting more. The film provides a well-executed intertwining of comedy and romance all while staying true to the concept along the way. It's a joyful, brisk watch…

  • Straight Up

    Straight Up

    ★★★½

    A truly unique movie that I'm still processing, mostly because it operates at a sprint-like pace of dialogue that would put Sorkin's motormouths to shame. A sweet and confusing sort-of-rom sort-of-com abstract pairing of James Sweeney and Katie Findlay, who deliver audacious performances. It's got the tenacious referential dialogue of Gilmore Girls, but if Rory and Loreli did speed before heading to Luke's Diner. There are witty, hilarious moments laid throughout the movie, at times almost too fervent, but Findlay…

  • Babyteeth

    Babyteeth

    ★★★

    Fish Tank meets Me and Earl and the Dying Girl meets The Souvenier. A very emotional indie drama that struggles at times, but delivers by the end. Hopefully, this can be a stepping stone in Eliza Scanlon's career as she's already shown a lot of promise with a decent track record in her still young career. Overall the film has four really solid lead performances that carry a not so straight forward story with bits of ambiguity. The characters feel…

  • The Vast of Night

    The Vast of Night

    ★★★½

    An under the radar ode to the Twilight Zone sci-fi horror serials of the 50s that shows off some impressive flourishes from first-time writer/director Andrew Patterson. A quick 90-minutes with long intricate takes throughout the film that set the mood and builds the eerie tension. It's a genuinely creepy watch with an impressive use of sound and cinematography to really evoke skin-crawling, heart-pounding moments. The movie's main limitations are some questionable filmmaking choices that feel purposeless and more a symptom…

  • The King of Staten Island

    The King of Staten Island

    ★★½

    I was excited for this as a new release, but that faded quickly. The movie falls flat on multiple accounts- it's not well written, isn't very funny, tells me nothing about Staten Island, Pete Davidson is pretty uninteresting, and in classic Apatow fashion, it's just blatantly too long. It sounds harsh, but for a movie with some promise it simply doesn't deliver. Apatow just needs to learn to edit- not just length, but story. There are parts of this movie…

  • Driveways

    Driveways

    ★★★

    Give me that raw, uncut old man Dennehy. Old man Dennehy all damn day.

    But actually this movie is really sweet and covers a fair amount of emotional ground in a brisk 90 minute run time. For a year still void of many new releases this was a quaint yet pleasant surprise. Hong Chau and Brian Dennehy deliver great performances without ever going over the top. I'd put it up there with Never Rarely Sometimes Always as a modest, heartfelt…

  • The Lovebirds

    The Lovebirds

    ★★½

    A worthwhile watch that doesn't exceed any expectations, but certainly functions better than your basic Netflix content filler. Michael Showalter has one of the better recent track records for the "movies they don't make enough of anymore." Between Hello, My Name Is Doris and The Big Sick he's landed some sentimental hits. Unfortunately, Lovebirds falls short of its predecessors with a bland premise (reminiscent of both Date Night and Game Night) and the comedy remains at a sitcom level with…