Recent Reviews

 

Best Films of 2017

My compiled year-end round-ups come late, but that’s only because I want to fairly track down every essential title before I complete it. It’s the closest thing I have to composing a sacred writ […]

 
 

Brawl in Cell Block 99

Vince Vaughn is for once tightly wound, with an unseen but suggested id that promises the potential for something livid, primal and very likely dangerous. That’s the opposite of the comical Vaughn we always get. Vaughn, dropping the jittery mannerisms when he played Norman Bates in “Psycho,” creates for once a truly dangerous and formidable antihero (with a moral compass) as bald-headed Bradley Thomas in Brawl in Cell Block 99 […]

 
 

Phantom Thread

For forty-five minutes I believed I was seeing an incomparable masterpiece. But it wasn’t meant to be. Phantom Thread just isn’t a film that completely comes together logically, but damn if it also shows the kind of flair by director Paul Thomas Anderson […]

 
 

Downsizing

Of all the bad movies I’ve ever seen, at least this one has kernels of mesmerizing tidbits. Downsizing comes from exactly the kind of brain factory as I could have wanted. That of writer/director Alexander Payne […]

 
 

The Post

This 1971 historical drama shines a light on today. Steven Spielberg’s The Post gains a suspenseful amount of traction by the time it gets halfway through. Richard Nixon, former disgraced President, tried to shut up the New York Times […]

 
 

Molly’s Game

It has been a great season for actresses, and the distinguishably smart biopic Molly’s Game in particular features Jessica Chastain at the top of her career. It’s a sexy, power-hungry performance about a woman deeply compelled to control rich men under her […]

 
 

The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio (2005)

Up until now, “The Tree of Life” and “Far From Heaven” have long been for me the two best films about 1950’s life. The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio (2005), a completely overlooked gem with Julianne Moore as a stay at home mother who feeds her family of ten by winning contests […]

 
 

I, Tonya

The movie that we’ve been waiting for to show the full tilt range of Margot Robbie has finally come, and it’s the terrific docudrama I, Tonya about the life and scandal of ice skating pro Tonya Harding. We’ve always associated professional ice skaters as graceful swans of the ice […]

 
 

The Shape of Water

Drama, Romance, Dark Fantasy. The Shape of Water has earmarks for creativity, for sure. I think people make way too much of Guillermo del Toro’s directing talent however, who to me, creates an atmosphere here that is akin to a tomato splat factory coated in mildew. It’s slavish and over-the-top […]

 
 

The Disaster Artist

I was worried it would be too goofy and irreverent, but I was surprised by the depth of what was told. The Disaster Artist is an offbeat biopic on Tommy Wiseau, an infamous director […]

 
 

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Instantly grabbing. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri opens with a legitimately angry mother in Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand) whose daughter was raped and murdered seven months earlier, renting out three billboards that will question the failure […]

 
 

The Pledge (2001)

Of the detective movies of solving the grisly crime of a young girl’s murder, there are few that are distinguishable in attempting to do more than the obvious. The Pledge (2001) was also one of the last times Jack Nicholson delivered a method performance […]