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  • Star Trek Beyond

    Star Trek Beyond

    ★★★★

    Special Review: Star Trek Beyond and My Views on the Current State of the Franchise

    Star Trek has always been very special to me growing up, and with this week's premiere of the animated series Lower Decks I felt it was time to revisit Beyond, which in my mind found the perfect balance between the action-heavy spectacle of the J.J. Abrams films and the more methodical nature of the classic series.

    I recently read a professional critic review for Lower…

  • The Handmaiden

    The Handmaiden

    ★★★★★

    It hasn't been since September of last year since I have watched something new that has impressed me on every singular level, but one thing that I will maintain is that the Korean film industry has been producing some absolute gold between this and the recent Parasite.

    It is no surprise in me saying from that intro that Park Chan-wook's The Handmaiden is excellent, with a precise and deeply compelling storyline, amazing performances, with stunning cinematography and music that puts…

  • Melancholia

    Melancholia

    ★★★★

    Although Melancholia is my introduction to director Lars von Trier, I found this film to be a great example of how a film can create heavily debated discourse regardless of how obvious the themes and messages are presented. From the mesmerizing opening scene, I could immediately identify the sense of hopelessness (or in this case depression) that would present itself through Kirsten Dunst's Justine, and how it would manifest itself throughout the narrative.

    This was a very intentional choice, however,…

  • National Treasure

    National Treasure

    ★★★

    In terms of 2000's nostalgia, action-adventure films for the whole family seemed to thrive and die in the same decade. This is most likely why the National Treasure series is looked back upon so fondly, never passing its expiration dates like Pirates of the Caribbean or Spy Kids, but also finding success where Prince of Persia or Sorcerer's Apprentice didn't.

    Although I was incredibly aware of the love for National Treasure both as a kid and adult, I actually had…

  • The Conjuring

    The Conjuring

    ★★★½

    The Conjuring franchise turned seven years old this past month, and I thought it would be a good idea to revisit the one that started it all, also that it is still considered the best installment by the general consensus. What makes the film work as well as it does can be attributed solely to James Wan, who directs the hell out of an incredibly formulaic and undeveloped screenplay with some clever scare sequences and a mostly interesting third act…

  • Archive

    Archive

    ★★½

    Archive is a (New!) indie Sci-fi drama from first-time feature director Gavin Rothery headed by actor Theo James, a fine performer who had unfortunately been squandered in the awful Divergent series. From the opening scene, I could feel the passion for the story and environment on display, Rothery using sweeping camerawork and a wide color-palette to enrich the world. James does his best with the weightless character of a struggling scientist who finds more friendship in robots than people, however,…

  • The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans

    The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans

    ★★★

    Werner Herzog has mostly been known for his documentaries, bringing perspective to some of the most out worldly real-life stories. Bad Lieutenant brings the same tone with a more forward approach, delving deep into the horrible, darkly hilarious actions of a deeply immoral police sergeant played by Nicolas Cage in a top-tier performance.

    The story here is decent enough to get by, but Cage's ability to mimic the audaciousness of the writing created an unnerving atmosphere that elevated the film to an impressive level. It is a simple but effective character study, although would feel completely unmemorable without Cage's incredible portrayal as the titular lieutenant. B-

  • VFW

    VFW

    ★★★½

    VFW is a surprisingly energetic and competently made grindhouse thriller, aided by the always charismatic Stephen Lang and a host of other enjoyable supporting characters. The film's feels like a tribute to 70's exploitation films while still keeping a modern tone, and the story actually contained quite a bit of depth regarding PTSD and how it effects different generations. Best of all, the extended battle sequences are incredibly violent and entertaining, directed with care from Joe Begos who never let the carnage get repetitive or lowbrow. B

  • Mandy

    Mandy

    ★★★★

    Panos Cosmato's Mandy is a beautifully colored thriller that is unlike anything I have ever seen, and won't be replicated in all of it's flawed, but individualistic brilliance. Nicolas Cage is one of my all-time favorite actors, and although he has stumbled to find the right material to match his personality recently, he gives arguably his best performance ever as Red, who is so driven entirely by emotion and revenge that he acts a perfect vessel for the audience to…

  • Persona

    Persona

    ★★★★½

    Persona is my first foray into Ingmar Bergman's filmography, and found this experimental and truly unique film to be a great start. From the very beginning, Bergman immediately puts you on edge through a fantastically edited sequence of surrealism and four-wall breaking. The main actresses, Bibi Andersson and Liv Ullman, both give powerhouse performances and brought with it an intensely raw and emotional chemistry. The film is purposely ambiguous, much more so than modern movies of the same token, and…

  • Relic

    Relic

    ★★½

    Relic was one of my most anticipated films for the year, finding the concept of portraying psychological horror through the theme of inherited mental illness both inventive and clever. The best (and most unfortunate) way to describe Relic is its desperate want to have all the qualities of an A24 film without ever committing to the concept presented. A prime example of this is it's commitment to being a "slow burn", and while I had no problem with this initially…

  • Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich

    Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich

    I've never been really familiar with the Puppet Master series even as a horror fan, only acknowledging them as throwaway slashers riffing off the Child's Play franchise. I had not seen any Puppetmaster films prior to The Littlest Reich, but if this is any indication to the franchise's quality, I am going to stay far, far away. The best thing I can say is that some of the kills were entertaining in an over-the-top kind of way, but it became…