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

Film Review: Apollo 11

It was the height of the Cold War and every time the United States tried to pull ahead in space, the Russians got there first. Americans were afraid, and Sputnik was to blame. Sputnik, the first orbiting satellite, meant that the Russians could spy on America and there wasn’t a darn thing the USA could do about it. We raced to get an American in orbit but the USSR beat us there too when cosmonaut…Read More

Film Review: Alita: Battle Angel

It’s hundreds of years in the future and society has collapsed. The new world is populated by a mix of humans, robots and half-robot cyborgs. Iron City, the center of the film, is awash in dangerous cyborg bounty hunters who roam with official approval, they’re “Hunter-Warriors”. Floating high above the impoverished city is the tech utopia of Zalem, a mysterious place where none has visited but everyone is rumored to live a life of comfortable…Read More

Movie Review: The Wandering Earth

Just when we thought we’d figured out how to address global warming, it turns out that the sun has gone rogue and in less than a century it’s going to destroy Earth and eventually expand to the size of our solar system. We can’t build enough space stations to save mankind and we can’t colonize another planet since that’s going to be destroyed all too soon. Instead, what if we built thousands of massive rocket…Read More

Movie Review: “2001: A Space Odyssey”, The 4K Ultra HD Release

Every film fan has their favorites, a list of movies they can watch endlessly. The film might be a comedy, a drama or an action film, but they’ve become “feel good” movies where you have positive associations with both the film and your previous viewings. More serious film fans, however, also have films that they enjoy because of how profound they are or because they’re just so masterfully assembled, true examples of visual storytelling. The…Read More

Film Review: Mortal Engines

It’s a thousand years in the future and the Earth has been decimated. The few people that are left mostly live in mobile cities; resources are so scarce that cities have become mobile behemoths that zip around consuming smaller cities for both metal, mechanical and human resources. The apocalypse happened after a super-weapon called Medusa was created and annihilated most global population centers. But that’s ancient news. Now “historians” scrape through the ceaseless rubble hoping…Read More

Quality Father/Son Time with Our Pal “Venom”

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias #ManCaveMovieNight #Venom #TheEqualizer2 My son’s in his first year of college. Dorm life, a completely unstructured lifestyle, girls, an occasional class to attend, lots of cafeteria food (fortunately Pitzer College has an excellent dining hall) and all the socializing a young man could desire. Underlying all of it, however, is a subtle current of loneliness; it’s…Read More

Film Review: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

So there’s this guy Kingpin (voice of Liev Schreiber) who really wants to be reunited with his family so he creates a supercollider that causes the multiverse to fracture and overlap: If he can do it just right, he can jump into an alternative reality where they’re still alive. Consequences? He’s a gangster and collateral damage to the rest of Brooklyn and the world are irrelevant when compared to his quest. Meanwhile, a likeable teen…Read More

Film Review: Robin Hood

The latest cinematic retelling of the Robin Hood myth from English history starts with a portentous voice warning you to “forget everything you know about Robin Hood. Forget history.” Perhaps a more apt warning has never appeared at the beginning of a movie, because this retelling of Robin Hood has nothing to do with the outlaw living in the forest with his band of merry men. It’s an abomination all its own. The era is…Read More

Film Review: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Author J.K.Rowling has deserved all of her tremendous success with the extraordinarily successful Harry Potter franchise. Seven books. Eight movies. A stage production. Countless toys. And then there’s Fantastic Beasts, a related franchise that takes place in the “Potterverse” as a set of prequels to the famous story of The Boy Who Lived. The first film in the franchise, 2016’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, started as a short book by Rowling that was…Read More

Film Review: Ralph Breaks the Internet

This Internet thing we all use seems pretty durable but is apparently a pretty fragile thing, susceptible to viruses and all sorts of problems. At least, that’s true in the strange but visually lush world of Ralph Breaks the Internet. Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly) is a lovable lunk of a guy, the antagonist from an old school video game who we first met in the 2012 animated Wreck-It Ralph. This newer installment opens…Read More

Film Review: Overlord

The gorgeous and gory new horror movie Overlord neatly ties together two facets of World War II history: Operation Overlord and Hitler’s obsession with the occult. Operation Overlord was the codename for the Battle of Normandy and the Allied troops really did land behind enemy lines to clear the way for the massive beach invasion of D-Day, as suggested in the film. But what if the Allied troops encountered more than just determined German soldiers?…Read More

Film Review: The Elf

I can totally imagine how this went down in some Brentwood living room, or maybe an apartment in West Hollywood: Writer/Director Justin Price is shooting the breeze with his buddies and someone asks “Hey man, did your folks ever do that Elf On The Shelf thing when you were a kid?” After the laughter and one-upmanship of weird Elf on the Shelf stories dies down, Justin gets moody and thoughtful. “What if,” he finally says,…Read More

Does “City Slickers” Still Hold Up? Some Kids Just Yawn…

[[ A guest post by film critic and father Christian Toto ]] This so-called film expert got Family Movie Night wrong. Again. I thought my boys (ages 7, 9) would love Billy Crystal’s cowboy antics in the 1991 comedy City Slickers, just re-released on Blu-ray. Slapstick comedy is right in their wheelhouse, the broader, the better. Or maybe I was too curious about my own reaction to the movie all these years later, given its…Read More