Movie Review: The Shape of Water

Rarely does a film grab me from the very first frame, pulling me into a world of imagination and wonder, offering up a compelling, fascinating and peculiar story, but that’s exactly the experience of watching the brilliant film The Shape of Water. It’s best described as “phantasmagorical” and is a love story between a lonely cleaner at a creepy Cold War research facility and a creature from the Amazonian jungles. But there are so many…Read More

Movie Review: Blade Runner 2049

The original 1982 film Blade Runner is one of the darkest, most existential and most profound movies in the entire science fiction genre, a landmark that has influenced all science fiction since. Set in the future, it takes place in a perpetually dark, urban world where off-planet work is so hazardous that replicants, synthetic, genetically engineered humans, have been created to help humanity spread to the stars. Until the most advanced of them, Nexus 6 units,…Read More

Movie Review: Flatliners

What happens when you die? Is there a bright light, a tunnel and you travel to your heavenly or hellacious destination? Or do you have your entire life flash before your eyes cinematically as you head towards the eternal judge St. Peter? There are few more profound questions in all of philosophy and religion than the mystery of life after death. No surprise, lots of films have been made that touch on this theme, including…Read More

Movie Review: Infinity Chamber

Film critics end up on a lot of movie distribution lists and some days it can be overwhelming how many invitations we receive to watch indie, direct to video, or even direct to streaming movies. There are plenty of movie festivals too, so that even the most banal of films can get some big screen time and garnered a few positive reviews. But are they all good? Do they all break new ground or offer…Read More

Movie Review: Rememory

Are we simply the sum of our memories? That’s a problem, if so, because our memories are inevitably tainted and altered by events that happen subsequent to any given point in our lives. Which leads to the question: can you trust your memories? Those are the key questions underlying the indie sci-fi thriller Rememory, and they’re darn interesting to consider. More provocative, however, is a device that lets you relive memories, an invention that also…Read More

Movie Review: The Dark Tower

Based on a popular sci-fi / western / horror / fantasy series by uber-author Stephen King, the film The Dark Tower is as much of a sprawling incoherent mess as you’d expect with a series that doesn’t neatly fit into a single category. It’s also good entertainment and worth watching, with lots of Easter eggs referencing other King properties, some hidden, some on flashing neon signs. King treads familiar ground with the basic story: Jake…Read More

Movie Review: 1944

There’s an inherent level of absurdity to any war, decisions made and tactics created that make sense back at HQ but are horribly out of kilter with the reality of the man in the trenches. Films like Catch-22 have captured this in a comic way, but the darker, gritty Estonian war drama 1944 shows another side of World War II that few people know: Estonia was first seized by Russia early in the war, then…Read More

Movie Review: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is one of those movies you’re going to appreciate a lot more the second time you see it. With a hefty running time of almost 140 minutes, there’s a lot to the narrative that makes no sense until you finally arrive at the last reel and things come together. Before that, however, it’s a master class in computer graphics and visual effects that might veer into video…Read More

Movie Review: Dunkirk

If you’re only going to watch one war movie, this is the one to see. Focused on the evacuation of over 330,000 soldiers from the Dunkirk beaches in World War II, the movie Dunkirk brilliantly tells the story of what Winston Churchill aptly called “the miracle of Dunkirk”. From the opening scene, Dunkirk is relentless, with a pounding soundtrack and both audio and visual effects that will leave viewers wide-eyed and caught up in the…Read More

Movie Review: War for the Planet of the Apes

The original Planet of the Apes movie series started with one of the very best science fiction films of the late 1960’s, starring Charlton Heston as an astronaut who has mysteriously travelled hundreds of years into a future Earth where simians are ascendant and mankind are chattel. The sequels became increasingly awful, however, and by the fifth installment, Battle for the Planet of the Apes, the story had become truly excruciating. The box office numbers…Read More

Why Does Hollywood Produce So Many Sequels?

Every time I talk about movies with friends or even acquaintances the question comes up of why there are so many reboots and sequels coming out of Hollywood. Well, “question” isn’t the right word, because it’s more of a criticism and complaint. You’ve probably felt it too: Why can’t Hollywood make original movies with new, contemporary characters? There are a number of reasons for this phenomenon, but the best way to understand the thinking of the…Read More

Film Review: Wonder Woman

Let’s start right out with the good news, film fans and comic book geeks: Wonder Woman is good. Really good. Possibly one of the best and most exciting films of the summer. As already shown in the otherwise dull and tedious Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Gal Gadot brings a great energy and strength to an iconic character and she’s terrific in this new movie. Yes, this also means that DC has finally figured…Read More

Film Review: Alien: Covenant

The formula is easy to figure out: a bunch of rough-and-ready spacers trapped in an enclosed space with a big, scary alien creature that’s only interested in one thing: eating them. This formula has not only worked for five previous Alien movies with small variations, but for countless other horror/sci-fi films too. Though much debated, it’s the original 1979 film Alien that offers the purest vision of this storyline and it not only set the…Read More

Film Review: King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

There are some film directors who have such a strong imprint on their films that regardless of the story, you know what kind of cinematic experience you’re in for when you walk in the theater. Michael Bay loves his explosions. Quentin Tarantino loves his ultra-violence (yes, with a nod to A Clockwork Orange). And Guy Ritchie? He loves his style. His oeuvre encompasses some of the coolest, most visually striking films in the last decade, including…Read More

Film Review: The Circle

There’s a really great film to be made about the journey we as a society are taking from private lives to a more digital, more public life where “information wants to be free” and we laud people like Julian Assange as cultural heroes for exposing the secrets of government agencies. Unfortunately, The Circle is not that film. Ostensibly based on the hero’s journey of Mae (Emma Watson), a young, blue collar Northern Californian worker, the…Read More