Film Review: Domino

Jamie Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) as a tough cop in Denmark? With Melisandre (Carice van Houten) as his partner? If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones this sounds like a great pairing and a really interesting setting for a cop thriller. And, to some extent, that’s just what Domino is, and while this direct to video release doesn’t stint on talent or production, the fundamental story is pretty darn weak. Don’t be confused by the 2005 film…Read More

Film Review: Leo Da Vinci: Mission Mona Lisa

We all know Leonardo da Vinci as one of the great inventors of the Renaissance, a creative genius who was probably one of the smartest individuals to ever grace our planet. But what about when he was just a kid? Was he a fun-loving adventurer constantly fiddling with new ideas as he explored the hills of Vinci, his beloved Italian hometown? The family film Leo Da Vinci: Mission Mona Lisa offers a vision of how…Read More

Film Review: Apollo: Missions to the Moon

It’s hard to imagine that it was way back in 1969 that man first stepped foot on the moon and that our last mission to our lunar companion was in 1972. Since then the moon has just sat in the sky, untouched. Imagine how much technology has changed and improved in the intervening 47 years, and yet the most recent footprints on the lunar regolith are from NASA astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt. The…Read More

Film Review: Child’s Play

I’ve written before about how scary dolls can be – most notably my review of Dolls a week ago – and I’ll reiterate that there’s something inherently terrifying about animated an otherwise inanimate object. It can be played in a touching and amusing way, as the Toy Story franchise reminds us with the splendid 4th installment out this summer, but it can also be scary as heck, as Annabelle keeps trying to demonstrate. That gets…Read More

Film Review: Toy Story 4

By any measure Toy Story 4 is a splendid movie, full of heart, humor and with a strong and engaging story. In a summer of mostly bleh, predictable sequels it’s also that rare film that improves on its predecessors, delivering one of the best and most touching cinematic experiences of the year. But Toy Story 4 is a lot more, because it serves as a reminder to film makers – especially in our modern, visual…Read More

Film Review: Dolls

There’s something deep seated and primitive about the belief in the supernatural power of dolls. From voodoo dolls to the golem of Jewish mysticism to more recent evil dolls like William Goldman’s terrifying ventriloquist dummy in Magic to Chucky from Child’s Play and creepy Annabelle from the horror series of the same name. Evil dolls with malicious intent have become somewhat of a horror trope they’re so darn popular. Which is why the indie horror…Read More

Film Review: Men In Black: International

There’s a certain amount of whimsy that runs throughout the Men In Black series. The story posits that aliens have always lived among us and that humans long ago created a secret organization to keep things from descending into chaos. The “Men In Black” manage aliens who visit or move here to Earth. They all dress identically, with narrow black ties, white dress shirts and black suits. As part of their standard kit, they also…Read More

Film Review: Project Ithaca

They’re among us. In fact, aliens have been abducting humans for decades, without us noticing much of anything. Except for one brave group of government agents who know that the truth is out there. But defeating the aliens is complicated and requires some pretty out-of-the-box thinking. I’m not talking about a core storyline from The X Files, however, but the new indie sci-fi horror film Project Ithaca. Told mostly as a locked room mystery, six…Read More

Film Review: Dark Phoenix

There are few film franchises with a more convoluted storyline than the fabled X-Men of comic book lore. The films don’t really work chronologically, there are movies that people argue are – or aren’t – part of the franchise (Deadpool), and there are literally multiple storylines and timelines that never quite seem to converge into a coherent whole. But here’s the thing: That’s exactly how the comic book universe has always worked. There are characters…Read More

Film Review: Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Even though he’s a 350-foot radioactive fire-breathing throwback to the Jurassic era, Godzilla has always had an ambiguous role in human society; is he the savior of humanity when other monsters menace, when aliens come from outer space or when huge robots run amok, or is he just as dangerous when he yet again rampages through Tokyo? The newest chapter in Godzilla’s colorful history, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, has a clear vision: He’s a…Read More

Film Review: Brightburn

It’s one of the great nerd questions: What if Superman wasn’t such a darn Boy Scout? The question has been explored before in the graphic novel Superman: Red Son by Mark Millar and Dave Johnson (in which Superman grows up in the USSR and helps defend their way of life), but the surprisingly engaging new horror film Brightburn offers a very different take on the story. What if our young hero doesn’t have a moral…Read More

Film Review: Shadow (Ying)

I watch a lot of foreign movies. Mexican, Spanish, Indian, Japanese or Chinese, there are great filmmakers and wonderful stories to be told from every culture on our planet. If you’re just limiting yourself to Hollywood, well, you’re missing out on some real mind-benders. Like Shadow (Ying), the latest epic Chinese “wuxia” historical drama from award winning director Zhang Yimou. His name should be familiar: he’s the creative force behind both the popular House of…Read More

Film Review: Scotch: A Golden Dream

I’m pretty sure humans have been fermenting sugars and producing alcohol since the beginning of time. Whether you start with grapes, potatoes, rice or barley, there’s something magical about the alchemy of converting starches into sugars, and then sugars into a drinkable and enjoyable concoction. Few alcohols are as wrapped in culture and place as Scotch Whisky, however, and that’s what the delightful documentary Scotch: A Golden Dream celebrates. Indeed, is there anything that’s more…Read More

Film Review: Peterloo

It’s easy to underestimate the massive economic impact that the introduction of the mechanical power loom had on the working town of Manchester and adjacent communities in early 1800’s England. Hundreds of families that relied on bare, subsistence pay for long hours of toil were supplanted by these mechanical marvels, leaving factory owners delighted and workers severely underemployed. Throwing fuel on the growing unrest was the inspiration of the worker-lead French Revolution, only recently quelled…Read More

Film Review: Captain Marvel

Even casual Marvel Cinematic Universe fans remember how the latest Avengers movie ended. Thanos snapped his fingers, something not so good happened and all looked quite dire. Until a 90’s era pager from Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) connected with a mysterious hero called Captain Marvel who, we hope, can save the day. Zoom forward and we finally get to meet the mysterious Captain in the new film Captain Marvel. Opening with a bang, we…Read More