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9:00 AM on 12.17.2014

Review: The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies

When Peter Jackson announced that he'd be stretching The Hobbit into three movies I was a bit wary, but excited. While the book itself could have easily been put into one, maybe two, films there's enough lore in the worl...

Matthew Razak

9:00 AM on 12.12.2014

Review: Exodus: Gods and Kings

Folks don't know this about me, but I have a soft spot for biblical stories. Having been raised half Roman Catholic, half who gives a hooey, I have an abundant knowledge of Christian bible quotes and intricacies. Regardless o...

Nick Valdez

11:00 AM on 11.26.2014

Review: Horrible Bosses 2

You know when something is funny you just have to do it again, right? That's the logic with Horrible Bosses 2. The original film actually had an appealing cast that worked well together pulling the film out of cliche and into...

Matthew Razak

9:00 AM on 11.25.2014

Review: A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

 Every once in a while, a film comes along that takes a stale genre and makes it completely new and cool again. Ana Lily Amirpour's debut film, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, is the vampire film that makes the creatur...

Megan Porch

12:30 PM on 11.23.2014

SAIFF Review: Killa (The Fort)

I never moved when I was growing up. I knew people who moved once or twice, and then I knew others in military families and the like who would come and go almost annually. In a small town with a small school, that made a diff...

Alec Kubas-Meyer

4:00 PM on 11.21.2014

SAIFF Review: Dukhtar

Most of the modern foreign films that I watch are from countries that are reasonably similar to the United States. People live in apartments and drive sleek cars. They use smartphones and credit cards. They have the internet....

Alec Kubas-Meyer

8:00 AM on 11.21.2014

Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1

The Hunger Games has come a long way. From humble meh-ish beginnings, to a sequel that, well, caught fire in theaters, the films have gotten increasingly better the more comfortable everyone gets with the material. Going into...

Nick Valdez

2:00 PM on 11.20.2014

NYKFF Review: A Hard Day

Every so often, I see a film and think that the title is a perfect encapsulation of its very existence. If I were to name the film, those are exactly the words I would have chosen. A Hard Day is that exactly, in par...

Alec Kubas-Meyer

4:00 PM on 11.19.2014

NYKFF Review: The Attorney

If you look up stills from The Attorney, you're going to have a wildly inaccurate perception of what the film is supposed to be. Look at the poster. They're happy, right? Below you'll find another image of people being h...

Alec Kubas-Meyer

12:00 PM on 11.14.2014

Review: The Homesman

Life in the early days of pioneer life was harsh and unforgiving. The loneliness and desperation to make things work was enough to drive people to either do anything they could, or go mad trying. The glimpses of frontier life...

Megan Porch

8:00 AM on 11.14.2014

Review: Dumb and Dumber To

Twenty years is a long, long time. I was five years old when Dumb and Dumber first hit theaters in 1994, so the madcap antics of Harry and Lloyd appealed to me. Fart jokes, sex jokes I was not yet old enough to comprehend com...

Nick Valdez

12:00 PM on 11.13.2014

Review: Rosewater

I remember distinctly when Jon Stewart left The Daily Show for three months to head to Jordan to shoot his directorial debut. It was an interesting time both because John Oliver took his spot (and did an excellent job there) ...

Alec Kubas-Meyer

11:00 AM on 11.10.2014

Review: The Theory of Everything

Every year, there is at least one biographic film about someone who accomplished great things in his or her life, whether it's something artistic, scientific, or otherwise. This year's biopic of note is The Theory of Everythi...

Megan Porch

4:00 PM on 11.07.2014

Review: Interstellar

In SCREENWRITING 101, Film Crit Hulk devotes an entire chapter to plot holes. A subsection of that chapter specifically discusses the works of Christopher Nolan, using The Dark Knight as the primary example. Christopher Nolan...

Alec Kubas-Meyer

2:00 PM on 11.07.2014

Review: Open Windows

Open Windows was the first film I saw during SXSW 2014. I've never covered the festival before, so I had no idea what kind of features I'd end up exposing myself to. Going in I was awkward, tense, but mostly curious. As the f...

Nick Valdez

12:00 PM on 11.07.2014

Review: Laggies

I'm at a point in my life where I have absolutely no idea what to do next. I graduated from college two years ago and, even with all I think I've accomplished over that time, I sometimes feel like I'm walking in circles. Like...

Nick Valdez

10:00 AM on 11.07.2014

Review: Big Hero 6

When Disney scooped up Marvel they picked up a ton of comic book history and properties. You had to guess they wouldn't use them all in the same way (i.e. massive blockbusters), and Big Hero 6 is the first Marvel film to...

Matthew Razak

10:10 AM on 11.05.2014

Review: Why Don't You Play in Hell?

Last year, Japan Cuts played Sion Sono's Bad Film, a project filmed back in 1995 but not finished until 2012. In my non-review of the film, I unequivocally called it a masterpiece, and I stand by every word. It is a labo...

Alec Kubas-Meyer

3:00 PM on 10.31.2014

Review: Nightcrawler

Nightcrawler has come out of nowhere to become one of my favorite films of 2014. As of right now, I'd even go as far to say that it is my favorite overall. I didn't even know it existed until a few months ago where a brief te...

Nick Valdez



Review: Ouija photo
Review: Ouija
by Nick Valdez

Ouija, read as "wee jah" and not "wee gee," is the latest in a line of films I can't believe exist. Movies are pretty much made from anything with a recognizable name now. I mean, we're in a post-Battleship world here people, so sky's the limit for potential money makers. What's next? An ultra dramatic adaptation of Operation? A super depressing Life? What about a science fiction take on Mouse Trap? 

But Ouija wants to avoid all of this by attempting to be a horror movie that just so happens to involve a certain toy...sort of like the million other films that feature the game. But the main question here is: Can Ouija mine horror tropes and go beyond its namesake to become a film capable of standing on its on two feet?

Not really, no. 

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Review: The Book of Life photo
Review: The Book of Life
by Nick Valdez

Although advertisements for The Book of Life really didn't kick in until a few months before its release, I've been eagerly anticipating the film for a bevy of reasons. It's produced by Guillermo Del Toro (thus giving it a pedigree), it's directed by Jorge Gutierrez (who once created one of my favorite Nickelodeon cartoons, El Tigre), and it's one of the few mainstream accepted films celebrating Mexican culture. In fact, I'm having a hard time picturing a Latino animated film in recent years (The Road to El Dorado is the only one I can think of, really). 

So with all of that on the line, how does The Book of Life handle the pressure? It's got to deliver an entertaining children's film, it's got to educate folks on the Mesoamerican holiday Dia de Muertos, and it has to do all of this while making sure it has a competent story of its own. Thankfully, The Book of Life maintains some of its balance during this trapeze act of remarkable proportions.  

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Review: Fury photo
Review: Fury
by Nick Valdez

I've been anticipating Fury for quite some time. Writer/Director David Ayer is one of my favorite folks in the industry, and I'm always eager to find out what he's churning out next. From Training Day to The Fast and The Furious, Ayer's writing is always top notch. Though recently he's taken up the directing duties himself (resulting in one of 2012's best films, End of Watch) I was a bit worried after his most recent effort, Sabotage, released to middling reviews earlier this year. 

Looks like Fury drew all of his real focus. Fury debuted its first trailer with a bang, and has never let go. Tragic, hilarious, and full of more acting chops than you can shake a stick at, Fury is f**king fierce. 

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