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NYFF Review: Roma

Thinking about the opening shot of Roma brings tears to my eyes. The centerpiece film at the 2018 New York Film Festival is a masterful display of Alfonso Cuaron’s craft, and how the magic of filmmaking can situate the mind in a speci...

 
 
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Review: Bad Times at the El Royale

Genre deconstruction is awesome when done right. When it's done wrong it comes across as trite, like the filmmaker doesn't actually understand the very genre they want to take apart. However, when it's done right you get films that help def...

 
 
 
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Review: Mandy

With a trailer that promised surreal, neon-lit landscapes as a backdrop to an unhinged spree of violent revenge, I marked Mandy as the one movie I needed to experience no matter what this year. I had seen Beyond the Black Rainbow almost a d...

 
 
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Review: The Meg

What makes a good bad movie? It's a question I've been pondering over the years as I sit through more and more bad bad movies trying to be good bad movies. Take Skyscraper as a recent example. It's a bad movie, but it's not a good...

 
 
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Review: Tag

I'm going to say this right up front because I know most of you don't even read past this first paragraph. Tag is easily one of the funniest movies I've seen in years. I was not expecting that going in, but coming out I had laughe...

 
 
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Review: Avengers: Infinity War

Yes, I invoked The Last Jedi, and no that's not because I want to instantly guarantee 11 million comments on the post. It's because, like that film but to a lesser extent, Avengers: Infinity War is not the movie you're expect...

 
 
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Review: A Quiet Place

For the entire night after I saw A Quiet Place I thought every sound was too loud. I put something down and the noise it made stood out to me. Each footstep seemed to fall heavier than it should have. Opening a door was a cre...

 
 
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Review: Isle of Dogs

Do you like Wes Anderson? Then you'll like Isle of Dogs. It's got everything we've come to expect from the director, who has basically created a genre named after himself. The film is full of his signature symmetrical shots; his stunni...

 
 
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Review: November

Imagine if you will a rotating wheel formed of wood and axes with a steam-breathing cow skull filling its center. In stuttering animation, this contraption rolls across a hill to a shed where a cow is chained. The contraption uses its ax-le...

 
 
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Hubert Vigilla's Top 20 Films of 2017

2017 was a grim, crummy year for the world, but a pretty darn good one for film. So many of the movies I loved in 2017 tended toward strangeness or kindness, often a bit of both. I think we could all use a little bit more of each in our dai...

 
 
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Matthew Razak's personal picks for the best movies of 2017

2017 was a pretty good year for movies. Not so much for the industry as a whole, as sexual misconduct allegations tore Hollywood down (not a bad thing), but in terms of movies we landed some pretty amazing stuff. Personally, I didn't ...

 
 
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Review: The Post

The Post is one of those movies you go into just knowing it's going to be good. Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep and Stephen Spielberg? I mean, how could that possibly go wrong. In fact, you know it's going to be good so you kind of set your expecta...

 
 
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Review: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

I really thought I had gotten some Star Wars fatigue. In the build up to the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi I just wasn't feeling that usual excitement, but as the day of my screening got closer it started to swell....

 
 
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Review: Lady Bird

Greta Gerwig's Lady Bird reminded me of my own experiences growing up. When a coming-of-age movie works, I'm bound to say that, and Lady Bird is one that works so well. Or, as they say in Northern California, hella good. Given, Lady Bi...

 
 
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Review: The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)

All happy families are the same; each unhappy family is only sort of the same, and will eventually wind up in their own movie or book. Take the Meyerowitzes in Noah Baumbach's latest movie. This sophisticated clan of New Yorkers reminded of...

 
 
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NYFF Review: Zama

Zama is a novelistic film, but not because it's an adaptation of a 1956 Argentinian novel by Antonio di Benedetto. Watching Zama creates a feeling that's similar to reading. The shots are so carefully composed, the sound design so meti...

 
 
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NYFF Review: Thelma

Each critic has their own process. Some take notes while watching a film and others will rush home to type up their thoughts immediately after a showing. Others still don't write anything for a while, preferring to mull it all over in their...

 
 
Detroit Review photo

Review: Detroit

In the opening scene of Detroit, a large group of African Americans are rounded up and arrested en masse for having an indoor party; their crime: not having a liquor license, supposedly. They are put in the backs of paddy wagons u...

 
 
Review: The B-Side photo

Review: The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman's Portrait Photography

The B-Side is an atypical Errol Morris documentary. He doesn't use the Interrotron at all, his tool that allows interviewees to stare directly into the camera. Instead, the camera's just off to the side. The score is delicate rather than a ...

 
 
Review: Okja photo

Review: Okja

Bong Joon-Ho's Okja is a chimera of genre and tone. It's a lovable mutant like its titular super pig--the best super pig, we're told, the superlative like something out of Charlotte's Web. Which makes sense. As a director, Bong has avoided ...

 
 
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Review: Wonder Woman

DC Comics and Warner Bros have been, well, let's say misguided in their attempts at launching a series of films comparable to Marvel's success. Deciding to push through critical failure (thanks to overall box office success), the conglomera...

 
 
Review: LA 92 photo

Review: LA 92

It's been 25 years since the LA riots, and there are a number of films coming out that revisit this harrowing moment in the country's history. The most high-profile might be Let It Fall: LA from 1982-1992 from John Ridley, screenwriter of 1...

 
 
Review: Colossal photo

Review: Colossal

One of my least favorite movie cliches goes something like this: A person who lives in the city has an existential crisis. They reluctantly return to their hometown, where things are much simpler and quieter. The main character reconnects w...

 
 
Review: Raw photo

Review: Raw

While playing at film festivals last year, the hype over Raw was insane. Writer/director Julia Ducournau's coming-of-age horror/cannibal drama purportedly caused audience members to faint, to vomit, to leave screenings in distress. These ar...

 
 
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Review: Kong: Skull Island

The monster movie is making a comeback. No, not the still-odd-to-me Universal Monster Cinematic Universe. I'm talking giant, city-destroying monsters. And yes, they're getting their own universe. Unbeknownst to us the kick off for that univ...

 
 
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Review: My Life as a Zucchini

There's this pervasive idea that children are resilient, that they're able to cope well even in dire circumstances. In stories about forlorn kids, a combination of optimistic pluck and boundless imagination helps them through their troubled...

 
 
Before I Fall Review photo

Review: Before I Fall

If you read my Top 15 Movies of 2016 list, then you'll know that at the very top (number 0) was The Edge of Seventeen. Also worth noting: my favorite movie of ever continues to be Joseph Kahn's Detention. From that, we can deduce the follow...

 
 
Logan Review photo

Review: Logan

(This is a republishing of the original review, which posted two weeks ago.) Logan is a response to a litany of unprecedented events. Comic book films are more popular than ever, the X-Men series is still a viable franchise s...

 
 
Get Out Review photo

Review: Get Out

There's a story I heard but cannot verify about why Dave Chapelle ended The Chapelle Show when he did, with tens of millions of dollars on the line. So the story goes, he was working on a sketch that dealt prominently with race issues,...

 
 
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Review: John Wick: Chapter 2

In the John Wick cinematic universe, everyone who matters knows John Wick, by face, name, and reputation. They know the stories, they see the man, and they get a little concerned: “You working again, John?” asked the neighborhoo...

 
 
Review: We Are the Flesh photo

Review: We Are the Flesh

Reviewing We Are the Flesh from writer/director Emiliano Rocha Minter is tricky. On the one hand, it's a deeply flawed film aimed at a limited audience. It's transgressive in the extreme, sexually explicit bordering on pornographic, nonsens...

 
 
Review: Paterson photo

Review: Paterson

Jim Jarmusch's Paterson is work of subtle optimism. It's a gentle film, kind and generous, funny, too. Watching the movie, I sensed Jarmusch giving me a reassuring push, like a parent at a swing or a child casting off a toy boat. Paterson i...

 
 
Jane Doe Review photo

Review: The Autopsy of Jane Doe

Every year I wind up missing a good deal of films as their advertising end up swallowed by the huge hype machines of bigger studio releases. But the true gems make themselves known somehow. Usually it's through word of mouth, but The Autops...

 
 
Moana Review photo

Review: Moana

Disney Animation has had one critical success after another since they're in the middle of a new creative renaissance. Fully embracing CG animation, Disney has produced hits like Tangled, Wreck-It Ralph, Zootopia, and most importantly, Froz...

 
 
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Review: The Monster

As often as I can, I like to go into films relatively blind. In the case of The Monster, my Facebook feed had been full of friends talking about how stellar the leading performances were and how great it was that they had gone with practica...

 
 
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Review: Manchester by the Sea

Watching Manchester by the Sea, I was reminded of two lines from the musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch: "I cry, because I will laugh if I don't" and "I laugh, because I will cry if I don't". Kenneth Lonergan's latest film is filled with con...

 
 
Review: The 13th photo

DOC NYC Review: 13TH

13TH feels like a culmination of Ava DuVernay's career to this point. The documentary brings together the racial and social history of Selma, her years of work as a documentarian, her stint as a journalist, and even her undergraduate degree...

 
 
Review: Weiner photo

DOC NYC Review: Weiner

Weiner is an appropriate film to review on Election Day, and not just because it's one of the best political documentaries of the last 10 years. Former Congressman Anthony Weiner potentially put the 2016 election in jeopardy last week. Whil...

 
 
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Review: Pokemon: The First Movie

One weekend, too many years ago, I spent a night over at my aunt's place. She didn't have cable, but she had a VCR. Which meant I could watch any movie I brought with me when I was bored of doing dumb kid stuff. Not thinking ahead, the only...

 
 




Reviews   filter by...

Blessed Are the Children"Won't someone think of the children?"

 

Halloween"You can teach an old slasher new tricks"

 

Castlevania (Season 2)"Let us go out this night for exposition"

 

Wild Rose (London Film Festival)"Country music, without the Western"

 

Johnny Gruesome"A GWAR T-shirt come to life"

 

First Man"Spaceman says everybody look down"

 

Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween"It'll make you cry like an anime fan on prom night"

 

Apostle"This is not The Raid 3"

 

Daredevil (Season 3)"Angsty, but self-aware"

 

Titans (Season 1)"A show that wants to take your lunch money"

 

NYFF Roma"Alfonso Cuaron has made one of the best movies of the decade"

 

NYFF The Ballad of Buster Scruggs"Them Coen brothers made a buncha rootin' tootin' western subgenre homages, yessir, if that be yer tonic"

 

A Star is Born"That's how you get tinnitus"

 

Private Life"Netflix does indie drama"

 

Bad Times at the El Royale"Good times with bad people"

 

Venom"This is what it was like before the MCU"

 

Wobble Palace"A bit wobbly"

 

Death Kiss"Bronsonsploitation"

 

Molly"A shaky apocalypse"

 

Free Solo""I hope you have your sh*ttin pants on""

 

Smallfoot"There's a Freaks reference in this film"

 

The Old Man and the Gun"Wine, dine, holy crap he's 89"

 

Little Italy"As good as deep dish pizza"

 
 
 
 
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