movie review


MOVIE REVIEW: ’99 Homes’ Is A Thrilling Tale Of Foreclosure

Film: 99 Homes
Starring: Michael Shannon, Andrew Garfield
Directed by: Ramin Bahrani

Combining award-worthy performances with taut, thrilling narrative, 99 Homes is a chilling economic parable that speaks to the deepest fears of every man and woman hoping to provide for their family.

Rick Carver (Michael Shannon) is not an evil man, though many believe him to be the devil. Rick is a real estate broker who happened to be assigned the undesirable task of evicting many families in the greater Orlando area from their home at the height of a 2010 housing crisis. As Rick sees it, if he …


MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Drunk, Stoned, Brilliant, Dead’ Is Funny & Important

Film: Drunk, Stoned, Brilliant, Dead: The Story Of National Lampoon
Starring: Henry Beard, Chevy Chase
Directed by: Douglas Tirola

In a world of remakes, reboots, and prequels the idea of tracing the roots of something funny all the way back to their point of origin can be risky business. People like what they like, but that doesn’t mean they necessarily care where the things they like come from, and if they do they probably understand they may be better off not knowing. So much great comedy is the result of pain and the attempt to deal with it, which is …


MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Pay The Ghost’ Finds Nic Cage In Peak Form

Film: Pay The Ghost
Starring: Nicolas Cage
Directed by: Uli Edel

Twenty-six years after first exploring the world of horror with Vampire’s Kiss, Nicolas Cage has returned to battle a child-stealing witch in Uli Edel’s Pay The Ghost.

On the eve of Halloween in New York City, Mike Lawford (Nicolas Cage) makes a deal with his wife to take their young son, Charlie, to a nearby street fair celebrating All Hollow’s Eve. The event is busy and filled with all people from all walks of life, each decked out in their very best costume. Lawford and his son …


MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Everest’ Offers More Heart Than Suspense

Film: Everest
Starring: Jason Clarke, Sam Worthington, Kiera Knightley
Directed by: Baltasar Kormákur

Not since Vertical Limit has a film reached the heights of mountain climbing entertainment achieved by Baltasar Kormákur’s Everest. It’s far from the perfect thriller, but in a time where Hollywood is turning out forgettable films at an incredible rate it’s definitely a title worthy of recommendation.

The year is 1996, and for a select group of individuals from across the United States the time has come to push themselves to the absolute limit as they work together to climb the summit of Mount Everest. It’s …


MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Black Mass’ Does Not Celebrate Whitey Bulger

Film: Black Mass
Starring: Johnny Depp, Joel Edgerton
Directed by: Scott Cooper

My faith in Johnny Depp has been restored.

At its best, Black Mass is a platform for Depp to showcase every ounce of acting talent his recent works have denied him the opportunity to use. The smirking oddball actor who bounced around Pirates Of The Caribbean, Alice In Wonderland, and even last year’s Tusk has completely disappeared into a quiet, yet menacing figure. James ‘Whitey’ Bulger terrorized the city of Boston for well over a decade, and Depp embodies his twisted spirit to the fullest extent.…


MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Blind’ Is A Striking And Haunting Debut

Film: Blind
Starring: Ellen Dorrit Petersen, Henrik Rafaelsen, Vera Vitali
Directed by: Eskil Vogt

The human mind recedes to some dark places when things important to us are taken away abruptly. In Blind, a middle-aged woman from Oslo loses her sight. The power to see is lost and her power to visualize the world she can’t see is underdeveloped. Norwegian filmmaker Eskil Vogt, who wrote the emotional devastation called Oslo, August 31st, makes his directorial debut with a clever, haunting and emotionally resonant film about what happens when we lose all control.

Ingrid (Ellen Dorit Petersen) recently lost …


MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Contracted: Phase II’ Is Another Bad Horror Sequel

Film: Contracted: Phase II
Starring: Matt Mercer
Directed by: Josh Forbes

Two years after Eric England’s Contracted took the world of body horror by storm, IFC Midnight has released a clunky sequel with no input from England that struggles to find a single original beat.

Opening with the same sequence that ended the first film, Contracted: Phase II bills itself as a continuation of Eric England’s original idea. The story follows Riley (Matt Mercer), who viewers will remember as the guy who pined for and ultimately slept with Samantha (Najarra Townsend) before her death, as he realizes he too has …


MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Addicted To Fresno’ Is One Of 2015’s Best Comedies

Film: Addicted To Fresno
Starring: Judy Greer, Natasha Lyonne
Directed by: Jamie Babbit

Addicted To Fresno is the bold and unflinchingly hilarious comedy you never knew you needed to see. It’s the perfect response to anyone who claims women can’t be funny, as well as anyone who believes every movie needs romance or a male lead.

Shannon and Martha are two sisters who share an unshakeable bond. The eldest, Shannon, was recently released from sex rehab after landing herself on the national sex offender registry. The baby of the family, Martha, was able to secure her big sister a position …


MOVIE REVIEW: ‘We Are Your Friends’ Isn’t That Fresh New Track You Wanted

Film: We Are Your Friends
Starring: Zac Efron, Wes Bentley, Emily Ratajkowski
Directed by: Max Joseph

Electronic dance music culture (EDM, in shorthand), the craze sucking in millenials left and right, has become the subject of many recent films directed at the younger moviegoing demographics. In Mia Hansen-Løve’s Eden (read my review here), an aspiring DJ from Paris is followed from selling out local clubs to playing at birthday parties for children. The EDM zeitgeist is tapped into by way of someone who started the “French Touch” subgenre, showing off why this kind of music connects with people …


MOVIE REVIEW: ‘American Ultra’ Is Stoner Action Comedy Gold

Film: American Ultra
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristin Stewart
Directed By: Nima Nourizadeh

There is something beautiful about two stoners in love, especially when they’re running for their lives from the CIA.

Part action-comedy, part romance on the rocks, American Ultra is a late summer treat that features a little bit of everything that makes movies fun. Jesse Eisenberg stars as Mike Howell, an assuming pot head who can never seem to leave the quiet West Virginia town he calls home. The only thing he cares about in the entire world is his girlfriend, Phoebe (Kristin Stewart), who lives to be …


MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Hitman: Agent 47’ Is One Of 2015’s Worst

Film: Hitman: Agent 47
Starring: Rupert Friend, Angelababy
Directed By: Alexander Bach

Big, dumb, loud and long, Hitman: Agent 47 is one of the worst video game adaptations ever made. This is not an opinion, but rather a matter of fact. In a world where we have seen Super Mario Bros turned into real-life plumbers who travel to a town called ‘DinoHattan,’ Aleksander Bach’s directorial debut has found a way to make gaming culture seem stupider than ever before. If I weren’t so disgusted I might actually be half impressed, but I’m not. I’m just disappointed.

One would think a …


MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Cop Car’ Delights Then Runs Off The Rails

Film: Cop Car
Starring: Kevin Bacon, Shea Whigham, Hays Welford, James Freedson-Jackson
Directed by: James Watts

I fondly look back on all of the dangerous things my brother and I did as a kid, whether it was jumping off the roof of our childhood home onto a trampoline or trespassing on the local cranberry bog. For context, we had this dreamlike machination that somewhere in that bog was some rifle-toting landowner who hated little kids. Cop Car is the kind of film that changes gears in the last act; perfectly capturing the adventurous nature of childhood in the beginning and …