Everything’s Still Awesome, Because The LEGO Movie 2 is a Familiar But Fun Sequel (Review)

Everything’s Still Awesome, Because The LEGO Movie 2 is a Familiar But Fun Sequel (Review)

The LEGO Movie was arguably one of the biggest surprises of 2014, but what wasn’t a surprise after massive success at the box office is a sequel getting the green light to go into production from Warner Bros. Pictures and Warner Animation Group. It was always going to be a challenge to live up to the success of the original, but the direction from Mike Mitchell, and pens of writers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have crafted a solid sequel in The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, which retains the spirit, tone and sense of humor from the original, and remains entertaining despite an air of familiarity. Read more

Cold War is an Intimate, Powerful Romance That’s Beautiful in Black & White (Review)

Cold War is an Intimate, Powerful Romance That’s Beautiful in Black & White (Review)

Born and raised in Europe, Polish filmmaker Pawel Pawlikowski has become an auteur in his own right since venturing from documentary filmmaking to narrative features in the late 90s, and broke through to American audiences upon winning the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2014 with Ida. His new film, Cold War, is a period romance about two lovers who meet and drift apart only to reunite and leave each other over the course of several years, and it finally arrives in theaters outside of major markets to critical acclaim and awards season recognition that’s without question well-deserved. Read more

Stan and Ollie is a Delightful Celebration Of Two Comedy Icons (Review)

Stan and Ollie is a Delightful Celebration Of Two Comedy Icons (Review)

Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were a legendary comedy act in the early days of the cinematic medium’s existence, but like all the acts before and alongside them, they experienced a downturn in popularity in the twilight of their careers. But the retelling of their comeback tour as a traveling theater show through the whole of Europe in the early 1950s in the film Stan & Ollie is entertaining and endearing to watch thanks to great performances from Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly, an authentic attention to detail from the production design and costumes to the makeup that recreates the iconic looks of the pair, and the delightful tone to a story that celebrates Laurel and Hardy as comedians as well as comrades. Read more

Kevin’s Year-in-Review & The Best Movies of 2018 Including You Were Never Really Here

Kevin’s Year-in-Review & The Best Movies of 2018 Including You Were Never Really Here

2018 was another year of highs and lows on top of ups and downs thanks to the chaos of the daily news cycle, and the continued uncertainty about the future of cinema on the business side, as well as the magic of the theatrical experience that comes with the medium. But at the end of the day, the one constant positive was that in one way or the other, the movies were always there to make us laugh, give us catharsis, and escape the uncertain state of our current reality, regardless of genre, message or culture. And while Hollywood appeared to be moving in the direction toward rewarding films that connected with general audiences in this particular year, it was the genre films that stood out amongst the plethora of cinematic offerings through their thought-provoking messages about the current political climate, the state of society at this point in time, racial tensions, class struggles, mental illness and even how we connect to each other spiritually. From the films that had us gripping our armrests over existential terrors and the period pieces that went to 1970s New York and Victorian-era England, to heist films in contemporary America and stylish psychological thrillers, the cinema helped us ponder about the times we live in now, how we communicate with each other today, and who we are as people. So without further ado, this is a look back at the last year in movies, and the best films of 2018. Read more

Mirai is an Enthralling Achievement in Anime (Review)

Mirai is an Enthralling Achievement in Anime (Review)

Founded in 2008, GKIDS is an animation film distributor that prides itself on its dedication to independent animated cinema from nations all over the country, with the niche of Japanese anime being the most prominent. Now, for a select few dates only in the coming weeks, GKIDS has a new theatrical release in the form of Mirai, a film that succeeds in telling an emotional coming-of-age story with science fiction elements that should enrapture audiences of all ages. Read more

Wildlife is A Subtle & Strong Debut From Director Paul Dano (Review)

Wildlife is A Subtle & Strong Debut From Director Paul Dano (Review)

From musician Boots Riley’s Sorry To Bother You and comedian Bo Burnham’s Eighth Grade to actors Rupert Everett and Jonah Hill with The Happy Prince and Mid90s respectively, more entertainers than ever are testing the waters of the complex but artistic field of film direction. Now actor Paul Dano’s first feature film comes to theaters in the form of Wildlife, and he handles the 1960s family drama with an incredible restraint that begets incredible, understated performances from his ensemble, and crafts one of the most compelling narratives of the year. Read more

Your Story’s Still A Fun One, Mr. Grinch (Review)

Your Story’s Still A Fun One, Mr. Grinch (Review)

Dr. Seuss’s iconic children’s story How The Grinch Stole Christmas! was first adapted as a thirty-minute Christmas special narrated by Boris Karloff in 1966, and to this day, is still revered as a holiday classic, while Jim Carrey starred in a live-action feature-length adaptation of the same story in 2000 that came out to a divisive, but box-office record-breaking reaction. Now the creators of Despicable Me and The Secret Life of Pets have adapted the story into The Grinch, a feature-length animated film that thankfully stays true to the cartoonish nature of its source material with a unique depiction of the Grinch, entertaining slapstick and fast-paced fun for the whole family. Read more

No Happy Times Will Be Had With The Happy Prince (Review)

No Happy Times Will Be Had With The Happy Prince (Review)

Ten years of struggle come to an end for Rupert Everett, as his dream film about the closing moments in the life of Oscar Wilde finally graces theaters. However, the end result of The Happy Prince is one that’s not happy, but rather dreary, unfocused and amateurish, despite moments of potential as a filmmaker. Read more

Mid90s is a Strong & Thoughtful Directorial Debut From Jonah Hill (Review)

Mid90s is a Strong & Thoughtful Directorial Debut From Jonah Hill (Review)

For the majority of his career, Jonah Hill has been known for acting in comedies such as Knocked Up, Superbad and 21 Jump Street, but has made a turn in recent years with Academy Award-nominated performances in Moneyball and The Wolf of Wall Street. Now, Hill’s career has branched out to working behind the camera as the writer and director of Mid90s, and while his first feature isn’t without flaws, it asks compelling questions about the titular decade and uses intriguing methods to tell its coming-of-age story. Read more

Halloween is A Terrifying & Timely Return To Form (Review)

Halloween is A Terrifying & Timely Return To Form (Review)

In 1978, the horror genre was changed forever when John Carpenter came out with Halloween, but its legacy was followed by a series of sequels and remakes that ranged from watchable (Halloween II, Halloween: H20) to straight-up abysmal (Halloween: Resurrection). But with Carpenter returning as a producer, Jamie Lee Curtis reprising her role as Laurie Strode, and a team of writers including Danny McBride and director David Gordon Green, the Halloween franchise finally has a definitive follow-up that delivers with its suspenseful scares as strongly as it does with the story at its core. Read more

A Simple Favor is An Intriguing Mystery With a Comedic Twist (Review)

A Simple Favor is An Intriguing Mystery With a Comedic Twist (Review)

It’s surprising to see comedy veteran Paul Feig take a turn for the dark, more so lend his directing chops to the thriller genre. However, his latest, A Simple Favor, brings its own hilarious set of twists that pit Anna Kendrick as an innocent suburban mother on an entertaining missing-persons mystery. Read more

The Meg Has a Decent-Sized But Disappointing Bite (Review)

The Meg Has a Decent-Sized But Disappointing Bite (Review)

It’s been long overdue for director Jon Turteltaub to escape from National Treasure-purgatory, and he does so with The Meg, a deep sea horror picture pitting Jason Statham against a monstrous prehistoric shark. Through Warner Bros. Pictures and Chinese investors, Turteltaub succeeds in adapting the novel Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror to life with a film that could have been something more, but is ultimately entertaining for its run time.  Read more