Category Archives: Movie Reviews

Living – Movie Review

Living

  • Director: Oliver Hermanus
  • Writers: Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Starring: Bill Nighy, Aimee Lou Wood, Alex Sharpe, Tom Burke

Grade: B

Akira Kurosawa’s Ikiru is one of the celebrated director’s greatest films, a towering, humanistic achievement in a filmography that’s full of them. So why give yourself the tall task of remaking that film in an English context? To the credit of Living, Kurosawa’s film can be easily translated into virtually any time period or culture. And proper British society in the 1950s shares many of the work-first mentality that was reflected in the 1952 version.

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When You Finish Saving the World – Movie Review

When You Finish Saving the World

  • Director: Jesse Eisenberg
  • Writers: Jesse Eisenberg
  • Starring: Finn Wolfhard, Julianne Moore, Alisha Boe, Billy Bryk, Jay O. Sanders

Grade: B-

Jesse Eisenberg’s first step behind the camera debuted almost exactly a year ago at the last Sundance Film Festival to an online audience after the festival went completely virtual due to the pandemic. There are films that manage to transcend the indie festival’s stereotypical quirks – films like Whiplash or Judas and the Black Messiah – and there are those that seem almost designed with the idea of airing there. Ultimately, When You Finish Saving the World feels more like the latter. It’s a decent dual character study that could have been better, more nuanced, than the final product.

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M3GAN – Movie Review

M3GAN

  • Director: Gerard Johnstone
  • Writers: Akela Cooper
  • Starring: Allison Williams, Violet McGraw, Jenna Davis, Amie Donald, Ronny Chieng

Grade: B

Sometimes it’s refreshing to sit down for a movie and know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. Watch any of the trailers for M3GAN and you’ll get a pretty good idea of what kind of film it is. A synthetic blend of Child’s Play and Ex Machina (yes, really), M3GAN will provide enough laughs and chills to get you through the doldrums of January releases but doesn’t deviate from that predetermined algorithm.

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EO – Movie Review

EO

  • Director: Jerzy Skolimowski
  • Writers: Jerzy Skolimowski, Ewa Piaskowska
  • Starring: Sandra Drzymalska, Lorenzo Zurzolo, Mateusz Kościukiewicz, Isabelle Huppert

Grade: B

Robert Bresson’s Au Hasard Balthazar remains one of the French New Wave’s signature films, a unique achievement of storytelling and one of his best works. The film was a sort of character study, but from the perspective of a lowly donkey as it experiences its caretakers’ various quirks and dramas. While Balthazar the donkey was that film’s main character, he was simply an observer to witness human action, and as a vessel for Bresson’s statement about humanity. So why would director and co-writer (along with Ewa Piaskowska) Jerzy Skolimowski attempt to remake a classic, beloved film?

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Avatar: The Way of Water – Movie Review

Avatar: The Way of Water

  • Director: James Cameron
  • Writers: James Cameron, Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver
  • Starring: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldaña, Sigourney Weaver, Kate Winslet, Jack Champion, Jamie Flatters, Britain Dalton, Trinity Jo-Li Bliss,

Grade: B

Thirteen years ago, James Cameron did what he always does and redefined the modern blockbuster with Avatar, a global phenomenon that would go on to become the highest grossing movie ever made. While that film’s story was never much to brag about – it was almost beat for beat the plot of Pocahontas in space – the visuals and the experience from Cameron’s pioneering 3D technology is mostly what got butts in the seats. Cameron has made some of the greatest sequels of all-time (Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Aliens), so how will he tackle the first of many planned sequels for his passion project?

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White Noise – Movie Review

White Noise

  • Director: Noah Baumbach
  • Writers: Noah Baumbach
  • Starring: Adam Driver, Greta Gerwig, Raffey Cassidy, Andre Benjamin, Jodie Turner-Smith, Don Cheadle, Lars Eidinger

Grade: B+

Many films have been made throughout the years about the American Dream, but what about the American Nightmare? Noah Baumbach’s latest, White Noise, is a film that’s obsessed with impending doom at nearly every minute, filtered through the lens of the American condition. It’s the first time he’s working from previously-available material, adapted from Don DeLillo’s novel – long thought to be unadaptable – and it’s Baumbach’s most ambitious project to date. It’s also a thrilling, often messy film that exists on its own wavelength, and is liable to lose casual viewers because of it, but is no less enticing.

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The Eternal Daughter – Movie Review

The Eternal Daughter

  • Director: Joanna Hogg
  • Writers: Joanna Hogg
  • Starring: Tilda Swinton, Joseph Mydell, Carly-Sophia Davies

Grade: B+

Joanna Hogg made an international splash with her two semi-autobiographical Souvenir films, as she reevaluated her days in film school and a formative romantic relationship. Those films felt like a faithful collection of memories, not unlike this year’s cinematic memoirs from auteurs like James Gray and Steven Spielberg. Hogg’s latest, The Eternal Daughter, similarly pulls from her own experiences, but takes a much more experimental route. While the results may not be as groundbreaking or profound as her previous works, the film continues to establish Hogg as a creative force that knows how to craft an engaging story.

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Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery – Movie Review

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

  • Director: Rian Johnson
  • Writers: Rian Johnson
  • Starring: Daniel Craig, Kate Hudson, Edward Norton, Dave Bautista, Janelle Monáe, Leslie Odom, Jr., Kathryn Hahn, Madelyn Cline

Grade: A-

Rian Johnson knows you’ve done your homework. He knows you’re familiar with the murder-mystery genre and he knows what you will and will not be expecting. He also knows you’ve seen his last film, Knives Out, and knows that you’ll be keyed into what tricks he has up his sleeves for its sequel, Glass Onion. But rather than change the game entirely and do something bigger and more outlandish, he mostly hews closer to what worked so well the first time around. You can only reinvent the wheel once, after all.

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Aftersun – Movie Review

Aftersun

  • Director: Charlotte Wells
  • Writers: Charlotte Wells
  • Starring: Paul Mescal, Frankie Corio, Celia Rowlson-Hall, Brooklyn Toulson, Sally Messham

Grade: A-

Take yourself back to a treasured memory from when you were younger. Better yet, take yourself back to a memory from a pivotal time in your life. What comes flooding back to mind first probably aren’t the bigger moments like the actual events that happened, but how those moments made you feel. How they impacted you and changed your worldview, even though you may not have fully realized it at the time.

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Causeway – Movie Review

Causeway

  • Director: Lila Neugebauer
  • Writers: Elizabeth Sanders, Luke Goebel, and Ottessa Moshfegh
  • Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Brian Tyree Henry, Linda Emond, Jayne Houdyshell, Stephen McKinley Henderson

Grade: B-

The recovering soldier genre is one that’s produced plenty of memorable films, and likely just as many – if not more – flops. It’s hard to say exactly where Causeway will ultimately land; much as it strays from the genre’s formula, it doesn’t contain enough drama to make it an instant classic. 

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