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

Best New Films to Netflix, May 2017

I haven’t written about what’s leaving and what’s coming to Netflix in a while, but let’s be honest: Netflix has so much content, it can be hard to realize that the catalog changes on any given month anyway. Particularly now that it’s so aggressively producing its own unique content, both movies and engrossing TV series. Still, let’s have a look at May, 2017’s big list. Leaving Netflix There are some really good movies leaving Netflix…Read More

Best Movies on Netflix, November 2016

Another month, another list of movies that are coming out of the Netflix catalog and a list of movies that are being added for our viewing pleasure. But, as always, what’s really worth your time? That’s where I come in! First off, here are a few movies you should have watched before they vanished: Deliverance (somewhat hard to watch, but a brilliantly assembled buddy film that invented some of our modern “city guys in the…Read More

Review: Spy

With the phenomenal success of the James Bond franchise – 23 films and counting – it’s no surprise that suave, debonair spies are fruitful ground for satire and parody. Starting almost with the first 007 movie, filmmakers have found cheap laughs and wry social commentary an easy mix, whether it’s James Coburn as Derek Flint, Dean Martin as Matt Helm, Mike Myers as Austin Powers or the 70’s TV series Get Smart and its entertaining 2008 cinematic film…Read More

Review: Black Sea

The British indie film Black Sea is just as much about class relationships, corporations versus individuals and language and cultural barriers as it is a gripping, claustrophobic submarine drama. It’s also really good, with splendid performances and engaging visuals. Robinson (Jude Law) has been a submarine captain for the last thirty years, and when his most recent employer, an underwater salvage company, lets him go with a paltry severance and no prospects, it’s a hard blow…Read More

Review: Side Effects

A miracle drug to help manage anxiety prescribed by a psychiatrist who might be just a bit more interested in receiving payment for helping test it out than in the welfare of their patient. What could go wrong? In Side Effects, turns out that quite a bit goes wrong, and then unravels in layers with a complex “ah, you didn’t see that coming!” sequence of twists that reminded me of the brilliant Inception. Except it…Read More

Review: Anna Karenina

Tolstoy’s classic novel of love and infidelity, Anna Karenina has been brought to stage and screen many times, often with mediocre results. It’s a complicated story, so pay attention: It’s mid-1800’s Russia and Anna (Keira Knightly) is married to Karenin (Jude Law), a dull but faithful St. Petersburg public servant. When her brother Oblonsky (Matthew Macfadyen) has an affair, Anna travels to Moscow to try and prevent her sister-in-law Dolly (Kelly Macdonald) from divorcing Oblonsky….Read More

Review: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

While I quite enjoyed the 2009 Guy Ritchie reinvention of the fabled observant detective in Sherlock Holmes, applying the same formula in this newer film Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows proved more a boring, tedious exercise in special effects and self-conscious film making and less an engaging and narratively ingenious film. In the original books by Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes is a fastidious, rather odd bird with extraordinary knowledge and powers of observation….Read More

Review: Hugo

Once in a while, a film comes along that defies simple explanation. The story proves complex, the characters unexpectedly nuanced, and the entire narrative experience is beyond anything you expect. Hugo is just such a movie, a story that succeeds as a children’s fable in the spirit of childhood fantasies like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and City of Ember, and simultaneously offers a surprisingly deep and profound exploration of love, family and what it means to be…Read More

Review: Contagion

There are specific genres of films, certain themes, that I find highly appealing, and one of those is apocolyptic events. From the daft The Happening to the cheesy The Day After Tomorrow, if the world’s ending, if we’re all facing extinction as a species, if something really terrible is going to happen, I’m interested. I think this started with classic old sci-fi like The Day of the Triffids and The Day the Earth Caught Fire,…Read More

Review: Repo Men

Let me just start my review by saying that Repo Men was awful. Graphic, bloody, and with a staggering body count, this is all that’s wrong with Hollywood action films, a glossy sheen on a completely vapid, empty story that works against itself in scene after scene. Then, the worst of all is the surprise ending, a twist that’s always frustrated me. I won’t reveal it, but if you do suffer through this dreck, you’ll…Read More

Review: The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

If you’ve never seen a Terry Gilliam film before, you’ll be baffled and likely frustrated by the storytelling style and visual exaggeration that are trademarks of his weird and wonderful movies.  A former member of the comedy team Monty Python, a peculiarly English sense of humor suffuses his films too, from Time Bandits to The Adventures of Baron Munchausen to Brazil. In the spirit of disclosure, I am a big fan of Gilliam’s work and have looked…Read More

Review: Sherlock Holmes

I’ve been a fan of Arthur Conan Doyle’s legendary detail-oriented detective Sherlock Holmes for as long as I can remember. As a young child I devoured the stories and as recently as last week was watching a classic 1944 Holmes movie, The Scarlet Claw, starring Basil Rathbone as the eponymous detective and Nigel Bruce as his bumbling medical sidekick John Watson. I also greatly enjoyed the BBC series of Holmes stories that starred Jeremy Brett…Read More