• Vengeance

    Vengeance

    ★★★★

    Barry Jenkins once stated, "art is inherently political. Even trying to make a film that has nothing to do with politics is, in and of itself, a political act." The idea that all creators implement some form of political perspective into their work (consciously or subconsciously) is a fascinating concept, but it is undeniable that many films wanting to convey certain ideas lose the meaning that their creators originally intended. B.J Novak's Vengeance is a prime example of a writer/director…

  • Bullet Train

    Bullet Train

    ★★★

    David Leitch has been steadily cementing himself as one of the most exciting action directors of the decade, and while his films have been hit-or-miss after co-directing John Wick with Chad Stahelski (arguably the greatest action film of the 2010's, and the best work of their respective filmographies), his eye for beautifully realized stunts and kinetic fight choreography is abundantly clear. Bullet Train has been compared to films by Ritchie and Tarantino for its absurd, R-rated violence paired with a…

  • Bodies Bodies Bodies

    Bodies Bodies Bodies

    ★★★½

    As a Gen-Z who happens to be the same age as the characters in Bodies Bodies Bodies, I couldn't help but be deeply curious as to how this film would tackle the defining characteristics of my age group. Having seen the film debut at SXSW in March, it gave me the unique perspective of judging how well the trailers would depict the satirical nature of the film. The advertising for this film was incredibly disappointing given that it made the…

  • Thor: Love and Thunder

    Thor: Love and Thunder

    I've come to despise the term "fun" whenever it is used to describe a film. It has become such an overused, weightless buzzword on social media that many films evoking even the mildest excitement will be labeled as such. Regardless of this specific hatred, I can't find a better word to describe Thor: Ragnarok. Taika Waititi infused a unique, heartfelt sensibility into the colder, Shakespearean world created by Kenneth Branagh in 2011. His work has consistently impressed me, but Hunt…

  • The Black Phone

    The Black Phone

    ★★★½

    If you've never seen a Scott Derrickson film, you would be forgiven if you looked at his filmography and wondered how his work stands out from disposable thrillers reliant on jump scares and gore. When I was eleven years old and just starting to get into the horror genre with films like Insidious and Child's Play, I remember renting Sinister, thinking it would be another shallow slasher film involving a haunted house. The film was nothing what I expected it…

  • Where the Crawdads Sing

    Where the Crawdads Sing

    Where the Crawdads Sing is one of the few small-scale dramas to be released during the 2022 summer season, the type of film that feels like a throwback to romantic drama films of the early 2000's, but has become self-aware enough to avoid the clichés and archetypes that came from that decade. It was exciting to see Daisy Edgar-Jones in a theatrical release after her performance in Fresh, while Lucy Alibar (co-writer of Beasts of the Southern Wild) worked on…

  • The King's Daughter

    The King's Daughter

    Seeing big-budget disasters with troubled production histories usually stand out as some of my most memorable theater experiences, and although I can't give any justification to why I watched The King's Daughter in a completely empty auditorium, the idea of slowly losing my mind to Pierce Bronsan's ludicrously long hair and a grotesquely rendered CGI mermaid seemed fun at the time. The behind-the-scenes of The King's Daughter is ironically more fascinating than the film itself, shot all the way back…

  • Brazil

    Brazil

    ★★★★

    Terry Gillam's Brazil is one of the closest films to accurately depict a lucid dream and one of the best sci-fi films to come out of the 1980's. Equal parts horrific and hilarious, this is a film defined by pure, unfiltered imagination, presenting one of the most unique dystopian worlds through Norman Garwood's legendary production design, as well as a deeply relatable and charismatic protagonist in Jonathan Pryce's Lowry.

    Gillam infuses the story with quirky disturbing scenes of bureaucratic corruption…

  • Spiderhead

    Spiderhead

    ★★½

    Joseph Kosinski, Rhett Reese, and Paul Wernick seem like the perfect trio to helm a high-concept sci-fi film based on George Saunder's "Escape from Spiderhead", a very short yet incredibly fascinating story that balances disturbing, relevant themes of free will with playful satire regarding dystopian corporations. While I have always thought Saunder's writing could work as a small-scale film akin to an A24 production, the material (as expected) does not translate to a big-budget thriller, interjecting uninspired bursts of action…

  • Lightyear

    Lightyear

    ★★★

    Buzz Lightyear is arguably one of, if not the most iconic character to come out of Pixar's filmography. When I heard that a film was being developed solely around the character, I was skeptical, given that the production company is at its best when creating stories that have no attachment to another I.P.

    While films like Incredibles 2 and Toy Story 4 did manage to justify their existence, Lightyear seemed like a step in the wrong direction after the success…

  • Jurassic World Dominion

    Jurassic World Dominion

    It's not a unique thing to say that Jurassic Park was one of the most important films from my childhood and that its influence massively shaped my passion for cinema from a young age. The original film evolved sci-fi as a genre, asking surprisingly complex questions for a studio blockbuster and hosting some of the most incredible action sequences of all time. Yet, the iconic characters have sustained the franchise for almost thirty years, regardless of how many CGI set-pieces…

  • Men

    Men

    ★★★

    Alex Garland has established himself as one of the best high-concept horror directors in the last decade (alongside Robert Eggers and Ari Aster, or as I call them, the A24 trinity), creating grounded and unsettling environments that act as primary characters in each of his films. Men is not a film that I expected to perform well with general audiences, and from the sigh of relief I heard at last night's screening, I could tell that my prediction was accurate.…