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

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