Weathering With You is an Astonishing Anime Film That’s Powerful in its Poignancy (Review)

Weathering With You is an Astonishing Anime Film That’s Powerful in its Poignancy (Review)

Feature length Japanese anime continues to fly under the radar among the several mediums of animation, and one filmmaker that’s become prolific within the niche in recent years is Makoto Shinkai, who has made a name for himself by combining young romance narratives with concepts rooted in science fiction. His first film to breakthrough with an American audience was Children Who Chase Lost Voices, which came out in 2011 to critical acclaim, but he would gain all that and more in 2017, when his body-swapping and time-jumping romance, Your Name, would become the highest grossing Japanese film of all time.  Read more

Uncut Gems is a Chaotic & Compelling Career-Best for the Safdies and Adam Sandler (Review)

Uncut Gems is a Chaotic & Compelling Career-Best for the Safdies and Adam Sandler (Review)

Adam Sandler is a comedian whose film slate has been often ranked near the bottom of the barrel when it comes to cinematic entertainment in recent years, but when he branches out into dramatic territory, he turns in an unforgettable performance. Sandler turns in what’s arguably his career-best work as an actor in Uncut Gems, which is also a career-best film from Josh and Benny Safdie thanks to the evolution of their filmmaking craft, strong performances from Sandler and the entire ensemble, and a realistic portrayal of New York City nightlife. Read more

Curiosity Kills All Who See The Catastrophe That is ‘Cats’ (Review)

Curiosity Kills All Who See The Catastrophe That is ‘Cats’ (Review)

Andrew Lloyd Webber has made such a prolific name for himself as an impresario in the world of musical theater, that there have been select attempts at bringing his work from the stage to the silver screen; first with Evita in the mid-90s, and the 2004 adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera. Now, after becoming one of the longest running shows on Broadway since its debut in 1981, his arguably most famous musical, Cats, finally gets the big-screen treatment courtesy of Universal Pictures and co-writer/director Tom Hooper.  Read more

The Tides of Waves Are Messy, But Always Powerful And Compelling (Review)

The Tides of Waves Are Messy, But Always Powerful And Compelling (Review)

Writer-director Trey Edward Shults first found a filmmaking home for himself with A24 after the Sundance success of his debut feature Krisha, and both parties continued their working relationship together through the psychological drama It Comes At Night. Now, Shults has crafted a new film with the niche studio in Waves, a family drama centered around the trials and tribulations of an African-American family living in Miami, Florida.  Read more

The Holidays Are Off To A Hilarious and Heartfelt Start With Last Christmas (Review)

The Holidays Are Off To A Hilarious and Heartfelt Start With Last Christmas (Review)

After surprising audiences with A Simple Favor, a self-aware parody of the romantic thriller genre, director Paul Feig collaborates with actress-screenwriter Emma Thompson on Last Christmas, a romantic comedy based on the iconic song from singer-songwriter George Michael and his band Wham!. Feig blended an intriguing mystery and his trademark comedy to perfection with the former film, and in Last Christmas, merges his sense of humor with a heartfelt and humanist drama about overcoming personal dysfunction and becoming a better person with enjoyable, if at times sugary results. Read more

The Lighthouse is a Magnetic & Mind-bending Horror Film With Artistic Flair (Review)

The Lighthouse is a Magnetic & Mind-bending Horror Film With Artistic Flair (Review)

A24 has gained a solid reputation for distributing unique arthouse horror films, from the psychological drama It Comes At Night and Krisha from Trey Edward Shults and Ari Aster’s two features Hereditary and Midsommar to Robert Eggers’s 2015 Sundance smash, The Witch. This weekend brings their release of Eggers’ followup feature, The Lighthouse, which delivers in every facet of its status as an excellent exercise in arthouse genre film, from its haunting, surreal imagery and black-and-white cinematography to stellar performances from Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe, and open-ended ideas about masculinity and companionship. Read more

Dolemite Is My Name is a Hilarious & Triumphant Return To Form For Eddie Murphy (Review)

Dolemite Is My Name is a Hilarious & Triumphant Return To Form For Eddie Murphy (Review)

Following a string of box office bombs, Eddie Murphy has mostly been absent from the silver screen, with his last two starring feature films being the mediocre comedies Mr. Church and A Thousand Words. However, this weekend, he returns to cinema with a powerhouse comeback performance and a strong hand in producing Dolemite Is My Name, a biopic about “The Godfather of Rap” Rudy Ray Moore’s rise to stardom upon the creation of the blaxploitation icon Dolemite, and it stands as one of the best movies of the year thanks to strong performances from its ensemble cast, a sharp script rife with hilarious dialogue as well as intimate character moments, and a soundtrack authentic to the funky sounds of the 1970s. Read more

Official Secrets is a Timely, Suspenseful Thriller With Stellar Storytelling (Review)

Official Secrets is a Timely, Suspenseful Thriller With Stellar Storytelling (Review)

Ever since receiving critical and awards-season accolades for Tsotsi in 2006, writer/director Gavin Hood has carved a niche for himself in making suspenseful political thrillers, and his latest film, Official Secrets, is another solid entry into the genre. Based on the actual events surrounding real-life whistleblower Katharine Gun, her story has been adapted into a gripping, suspenseful film worth your time and attention for its ominous visuals, engaging performances from its cast led by Keira Knightley, and an eye-opening look at the lengths to which everyone involved went on all sides of Katharine’s case to stand up for what’s right. Read more

Adult Interference is a Sharp, Hilarious Comedy Rife With Irreverence (Review)

Adult Interference is a Sharp, Hilarious Comedy Rife With Irreverence (Review)

From the west coast of Los Angeles to the Hollywood of the South in Atlanta, Georgia, film communities come in all shapes and sizes across the metropolitan cities in the United States, and California-based female filmmakers Jacquie Phillips and Stefanie Black converged with actor/writer Ted Welch in the city of Nashville to make their debut feature film Adult Interference, a comedy about a washed-up actor whose unlikely bond with a middle school boy helps him learn important lessons about manhood. Read more

Angel Has Fallen is a Flat & Forgettable Entry in a Franchise That Exists (Review)

Angel Has Fallen is a Flat & Forgettable Entry in a Franchise That Exists (Review)

Gerard Butler has been an action star since leading the box-office smash 300, but his career has seen him lead low-budget action fare from the ridiculous likes of Geostorm and Gods of Egypt to the political action thrillers White House Down and the first two films in the Fallen franchise. The third film, Angel Has Fallen, sadly does not reverse his trajectory onto an upturn, because it’s devoid of entertainment and suspense thanks to a lack of engaging character work and lazy, uninspired action sequences, despite great chemistry between Butler and franchise newcomer Nick Nolte. Read more

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