As crazy as it sounds, ‘Joker’ is exactly what it appears to be, to both its success and detriment. This is yet another standout, bugged-out performance by Joaquin Phoenix, but it’s also an exercise in IP manipulation so blatant it ultimately doesn’t work on multiple levels. It’s hard to say what was the intent of… Continue reading ‘Joker’ – What’s It All For, Really?
Writer/director James Gray (‘The Lost City of Z’) has been quietly making solid films in various genres since his breakout indie ‘Little Odessa’ in 1994. While none have had the Brad Pitt star power of his latest near future, space-set ‘Ad Astra’, it would be remiss not to point out that they also have had… Continue reading ‘Ad Astra’ – Spacepocalypse Now – A Father/Son Odyssey?
Two years ago, Andy Muschietti’s feature film version of Stephen King’s classic doorstop novel, ‘It’, blew past expectations to become the highest grossing horror film of all time. ‘It’ also became a solid representation of what has been a historically inconsistent genre – the Stephen King adaption (his works have been adapted over 80 times… Continue reading ‘It: Chapter Two’ – Simultaneously Too Much and Not Enough?
Marked as writer/director Quentin Tarantino’s 9th film, ‘Once Upon A Time In . . . Hollywood,’ powerfully sneaks up on an audience primed by some of his past films to expect bombast and energy. A filmmaker so obviously deeply in love with cinema, who has flexed his vast knowledge and ear for dialogue in the… Continue reading ‘Once Upon A Time In . . . Hollywood’ – A Sentimental Tarantino Delivers a Nostalgic Tour-De-Force?
Ari Aster makes films that fuck you up. After only two films, ‘Hereditary’ and now ‘Midsommar’, he has proven to be an auteur of abject terror, writing and directing pieces of art that work on multiple levels to deeply unsettle. If ‘Hereditary’ showed audiences the potential for a film to worm its way into the… Continue reading ‘Midsommar’ – A Deeply Unsettling, Sun-Bleached, & Somehow Beautiful Nightmare?
The sequel to Tom Holland’s first full outing as Spider-Man, subtitled ‘Far From Home’ to represent its European vacation setting, addresses the ramifications of ‘Avengers: Endgame’ head-on in both cheeky and emotional ways. By doing so, it deftly weaves the winning characters and friendly, neighborhood stakes of 2017’s ‘Homecoming’ with Peter Parker’s new status in… Continue reading “Spider-Man: Far From Home” – Having the Most Fun in the MCU?
The above question is a very valid one after the wistful, emotional conclusion to Pixar’s original (and rightfully beloved) ‘Toy Story’ trilogy. ‘Toy Story 3′ was a masterful capper to a franchise that basically unfolded in real time, tackling heady themes of relevance and aging, under the auspices of a hilarious and ingenious prison break… Continue reading ‘Toy Story 4’ – Was This Sequel Necessary?