The Farewell is A Revealing & Heartfelt Film About Finding Connection Amongst Disconnection (Review)

The Farewell is A Revealing & Heartfelt Film About Finding Connection Amongst Disconnection (Review)

If there are a couple things we all have in common, it’s that we’re all born into a family, and have all felt some form of disconnect at some point in our lives, and Lulu Wang intends to connect audiences of all backgrounds with The Farewell, an honest and heartfelt story about her family and experiences as an Asian American. Open-minded viewers are sure to enjoy her debut feature because it tells a compelling story about how a family remains connected despite their physical disconnection, and does so with inspired visuals, strong performances from its ensemble cast, a screenplay packed with ideas about the Chinese culture, and direction that leaves crowds laughing at one moment and wondering what secrets they’re keeping in the next. Read more

Spider-Man: Far From Home is a Captivating & Satisfying Conclusion to Phase 3 of the MCU (Review)

Spider-Man: Far From Home is a Captivating & Satisfying Conclusion to Phase 3 of the MCU (Review)

After a cameo role in Captain America: Civil War, your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man earned his first movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the form of Spider-Man: Homecoming, which succeeded in grounding the superhero in modern-day Queens, and great performances from Tom Holland and Michael Keaton as the villain, but lacked personal stakes for the boy behind the iconic mask, Peter Parker. But the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to reshape itself with every film, and the world-famous wall-crawler’s second film, Spider-Man: Far From Home, exceeds its predecessor through an engaging character arc, vibrant visual effects, and surprising turns that conclude Phase 3 of the MCU in a way that leaves possibilities wide open for the franchise’s future. Read more

Toy Story 4 is A Charming Character-Driven Story That’s Small in Stakes But Big At Heart (Review)

Toy Story 4 is A Charming Character-Driven Story That’s Small in Stakes But Big At Heart (Review)

This weekend marks the release of Toy Story 4, the latest computer animated film from Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar Animation Studios. The announcement of the project in 2015 was met with heavy skepticism after the initial trilogy was capped by a perfect ending to Toy Story 3, but thankfully, the fourth entry to the franchise keeps the Toy Story train going full speed ahead thanks to the addition of new characters, new ideas, and layered character arcs, along with the gorgeous animation and strong sense of humor that are Pixar staples. Read more

Late Night is a Hilarious Workplace Comedy With Sharp Social Commentary (Review)

Late Night is a Hilarious Workplace Comedy With Sharp Social Commentary (Review)

After over a decade of success writing and starring in The Office and The Mindy Project, actress and comedienne Mindy Kaling has ventured into writing for film, and the words of her debut feature screenplay are translated into the terrific workplace comedy Late Night. Kaling’s years of experience in writer’s rooms over the years infuse the engaging narrative set in the production of a late-night talk show with a dedication to realism, hilarious dialogue and optimistic social commentary. Read more

Booksmart is a Hilarious & Raunchy Comedy That’s Realistic & Heartfelt (Review)

Booksmart is a Hilarious & Raunchy Comedy That’s Realistic & Heartfelt (Review)

The coming-of-age genre has had its highs and lows in the past decade, in addition to several gems in the rough. One such gem comes out this weekend in the form of Booksmart, the directorial debut of Olivia Wilde, and it succeeds as a film that sets another standard for female filmmaking and mid-budget cinema thanks to creative direction, sharp writing and solid performances from its diverse ensemble cast. Read more

Missing Link is A Delightful, Solid Story Told Through Incredible Animation (Review)

Missing Link is A Delightful, Solid Story Told Through Incredible Animation (Review)

Ever since their debut with the feature film Coraline in 2009, Laika Studios has put out consistently strong films well-received by critics and audiences alike. Their newest film, Missing Link, continues the trend with a story about an explorer who helps the legendary beast Sasquatch find his homeland, and the result is another example of Laika doing what they do best, and that’s enthrall audiences with breathtaking stop-motion animation that tells a solid, endearing story for the whole family to enjoy. Read more

Climax is a Stylish, Terrifying Drug Trip Into The Horrors of Humanity (Review)

Climax is a Stylish, Terrifying Drug Trip Into The Horrors of Humanity (Review)

Whether you love or hate the filmmaking auteur Gaspar Noé, his films are never boring and never fail to generate conversation upon their theatrical release. His latest film, Climax, is no different, as it follows a company of dancers throwing a party turned nightmarish once they learn their sangria is spiked with a psychotropic drug, causing their sense of human decency to erode along with their inhibitions in horrific, existential fashion. Read more

Fighting With My Family is a Fun, Feel-Good Story About Wrestling & The Bonds of Family (Review)

Fighting With My Family is a Fun, Feel-Good Story About Wrestling & The Bonds of Family (Review)

Ever since its inception in 2002, WWE Studios hasn’t had the best track record when it comes to a theatrical output. But with WWE alumni Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson onboard to produce Fighting With My Family, a film from writer-director Stephen Merchant about the life of Paige, one of the promotion’s own professional wrestlers, the company finally takes a step in an upward direction in quality thanks to a strong script with funny banter, likable characters and strong performances from everyone involved. Read more

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