In Theaters

A supremely strange and unnerving art installation outfitted with a colorful narrator guiding us through a sociopath's relationship with the rest of the world. It's undeniably sticky, oozing style and flare in its brutality and justice. The beauty is in constant contrasts causing conflicted consciences.


In Theaters

While subtle and poignant in its deliveries at times, Bottoms surrounds itself in a solid amount of pure silliness - highlighted best by the legend, Marshawn Lynch’s inclusion. It’s edgy without going so far in that direction that it loses itself, relying on tried and true story elements of high school comedies as the bones of the movie.

There are lots of laughs, but it’s never really knockout funny. There’s a bit of drama, but nothing truly interesting. It’s like a good frosting on just a decent cake.



You don't really get the raw character creativity that makes Co Bros. movies so enjoyable, but there are enough artistic liberties taken with the source material in this that I can't help but smile :)

It's the true story of how the U.S. Army tried to learn how they could weaponize psychic powers, resulting in George Clooney telling Ewan McGregor how to be a Jedi. This was released only 4 years removed from seeing McGregor telling Hayden Christensen he was "supposed to destroy the Sith, not join them." 

With a lovable cast as always, this film only really fails in trying to fill some of the space around the few moments that actually matter to the narrative.



This may not be the most intriguing mystery the Coen brothers have ever come up with, but we are instead gifted with some of the funniest characters they've ever created in a movie that plays like an episode of Arrested Development. Like Arrested, one of the greatest things about this movie is everyone's obsession with themselves, amplified by their personalities. The entire cast is in prime form, especially Mr.Pitt as one of my all-time favorite characters of his. Though it never really goes anywhere important, the journey is so fun that I kind of just wanted it to go on forever without a destination.



Leave it to Tarantino to make a movie all about shoes being on the other foot. 

The acclaimed director's ability to humanize infamously evil characters in order to tell a more intimate story is what sets this WWII film apart from other similar fan fiction. The charisma and humor in Christoph Waltz's performance turn a monster into a real person, resulting in more human moments. 

The story sort of loses itself at times due to the overlapping narratives, and some of the other characters get less room to breathe, but the central idea of poetically flipping the script on the Nazis bring everything back together for a satisfyingly violent experience.


In Theaters

A running series of sketches where not everything lands, but when it does, will have you laughing uncontrollably. The cast is one of the best ever in a comedy like this, due in large part to the fact that many of the featured stars had yet to reach their star status. If you've seen any other summer camp media before, WHAS finds as many ways as possible to make fun of those tropes. It's especially enjoyable as someone who used to be a camp counselor and knows that some of the moments we see aren't as far from reality as they might seem.


In Theaters

20 years on, Oldboy still proves to be a wholly unique visual and narrative experience (save for the Western world's attempt to remake this with Josh Brolin). It's a captivating ride that never relents in forcing you to ask questions about just what in the world is going on in the best way possible. Some small grievances in the casting aside, it's absolutely worth seeing what all the fuss is about if you haven't experienced it yet for yourself.



Scorcese beautifully and tragically recounts the lives of some of the biggest gamblers in history, showing that if you treat life like a casino, the house always wins. 

The insanity that was mob-run Vegas is almost so hard to believe, especially watching now, that it can sometimes feel like it's all completely made up. Still, the believability in the characters is shown in the moments that Scorcese chooses to focus on, and you come to see how easy it is to lose all your chips once you lose that first hand at the tables. The spectacle plays out as a solid allegory as to why sometimes you should just walk away.



You finally got your dream job, and find out Denzel Washington is your boss - incredible! However, on the first day, he tells you that you won't last until tomorrow unless you can smoke crack. Do you do it?

It's a uniquely told story, with great acting from my new boss, that makes you question what's real the whole time. It almost would have been better if I never got the answer.



Last year, the Philadelphia Union, Phillies, and Eagles all lost their respective championship games. Coincidentally, there were no Lawrence and Cooper movies last year either.


Paramount Plus

A distinctly uneasy progression of an all-consuming evil, captivatingly captured through a prime Daniel Day-Lewis performance and masterful direction by Paul Thomas Anderson. The slow inevitability of Daniel's corruption continues to declare its relevancy with each generation's new version of oil men. 


In Theaters

These days, it seems that if you want to get a hyped-up horror movie, it requires a certain level of depth (fake found footage be damned), which I think 'Talk to Me' has. You can't just put in some scary demons, nuns, ghosts, ghouls, etc., there needs to be some corresponding parallel to real life that anchors those scary things around a cohesive narrative. Once you have that, the pieces fit into place much better, as evidenced by this frightening story of depression and loss. So much of this movie's success can be chalked up to an understanding of the emotional impact experienced by the main character and how those feelings influence their decisions and perspective. It's a harsh world, and sometimes it can seem like there's an evil inside you with only one way to break free of its grip.


In Theaters

The tale of Oppenheimer in and of itself is highly poetic, and in the translation of his story into film, none of that poetry is lost. In fact, Nolan's epic biopic adds levels of expression befitting of a narrative about someone nicknamed the 'American Prometheus'. The amount of care and attention to detail across the board is overwhelming, highlighted by some of the greatest performances I've ever seen both on screen and in the editing room. There's so much life breathed into every moment through the direction of each scene as they're weaved together in a beautiful 70mm tapestry (I'm admittedly a huge sucker for analog, but I think it's undeniable the dimension that a bit of film grain adds). I had some questions after my first viewing, but upon seeing it again, I felt everything was answered more deeply (and explosively). 


In Theaters

Greta Gerwig's genius in telling a compelling Barbie story was using the full scope of the brand's history to tie together an honest message about who we are and how we see ourselves. The iconic doll has gone through many battles of identity against the patriarchy, a capitalistic corporation, and the different generations of people who have played with Barbie. Originally just tall blondes in heels, Barbies (and Kens) have grown to be more representative of us as people, and Gerwig masterfully dances through the toy's progressions into what it is today. 

And just about everything on screen is as iconic as the doll. The real and fantastical worlds are bridged beautifully, and there's never some unnecessary explanation of how everything works. Instead, watching Margot Robbie go through her transformation sparks the feelings of imagination core to the Barbie brand. The art direction is especially on point, as is needed with a boastfully pink movie, and Barbieland takes great inspiration from the wonderous, overly picturesque backdrops in classic 50s and 60s films. 

Adding Robbie's and Gosling's performances to the mix punches up the already stellar writing, making Barbie an undeniably enjoyable experience for all.

Sidenote: It's hilariously ironic that I love Matchbox Twenty because of my mom.

Side-sidenote: Michael Cera is the greatest actor of our generation.



If I’m ever a character in a 90’s movie in need of love and attention from a willing stranger to have a breakthrough, send in Robin Williams. His casting alongside Robert De Niro here is what sells this already interesting story. So much is being said about what makes us human that you need their very human performances. There’s an obviously touching story already by just writing out the real-life events, but there’s also a magic to it that feels brought to life from how it’s all put together on-screen.


In Theaters

Past Lives really nails the uncomfortable silences and moments where you just don't know what to say next. It covers all the feelings people have without necessarily speaking them out loud. It's really well acted in this sense, and you really get to know the characters on a bit of a deeper level. However.. this does sometimes get a bit boring. It's amazing how everything is conveyed in through a series of conversations between just three people, but it does get a bit old. I get what they want to go for here, but once you come to understand what the movie is saying, it seems to drag with a lot of these (well-acted!) silent moments in conversation. It's very beautiful, but it kinda takes a while for a movie that's under two hours.


In Theaters

Does looking outward actually just make us look more inward? Does trying to find the existence of other beings make us question the purpose of our own? Wes Anderson certainly thinks so and sets up multiple magnitudes of metaphors to show us.

I appreciate getting to go to a new Wes Anderson location, albeit a very small one. We do get to leave the little town occasionally to break the fourth wall, but we really don't travel as much as in many of Anderson's movies. In that way, it felt always like something was missing. Asteroid City ultimately doesn't stand out too much, and we spend a lot of time in the space between tiny duplicated living spaces.

There are a lot of great characters still, and there are plenty of moments for everyone to add their part to the story. Every bit of the Anderson charm is present in the dialogue, and the quirky deliveries of very thoughtful ideas keep your attention.

There's maybe just a bit too much mulling over lofty questions like, "what's the meaning of it all?" and "how do I know what to do?" It's a lot of pondering over the question for the movie to feel like it never reaches much of a resolution. That seems like it's kind of intended to be the takeaway in some respect, but I think that also leads to a somewhat unsatisfying movie. I enjoyed being in Asteroid City, I just wish we actually did get to see more of what's beyond.


In Theaters

From the outside, No Hard Feelings seems like it would be a movie with some basic one-liner sex jokes and a premise that can sustain repeating those jokes for a full film. That is indeed the case here, BUT there are enough pieces that amp Lawrence's first major comedy into something that feels unique despite also being your classic studio comedy.

For one, Lawrence's casting makes a lot of sense. It's rare that you get to see a female lead of her caliber even agree to a movie like this, and so seeing her presence in this light is already funny. Aside from a couple of weak performances and writing, the side characters are also well cast and given enough opportunities to have a moment before passing back the baton. What kept up the momentum of this movie was the setups the writing created for the jokes to flow through. The one-liner sex jokes are there, but they don't dominate so much that you get tired of them, and I would say that the lesser jokes came more from the weaker scenarios more than anything. 

There is a bit of riding the line on tone, however, and the film gets caught sometimes being sentimental and trying to go back for jokes in a way that doesn't always land. However, it does create enough of a story that I found entertaining that I can ultimately forgive it. Fun movie with a beach scene that's worth the price of admission.



While Borat is the most notable of Sacha Baron Cohen's characters, I think Bruno is the most on the nose as far as reflecting back at people what Cohen wants to point out. At the time in 2009, the USA is just starting to look at cleaning up their act (before turning right back the other way a few years later). People are starting to be more vocal about spreading love and acceptance, which is why Cohen decides to see how far he can push that. 

The gags, you can tell, are somewhere between Borat and what his later works would become. There's a focus on pranking everyday people so we can laugh at how uncomfortable everyone is, but also pokes fun at celebrities and politicians in a way that still feels relevant. It's a testament to Cohen's concept that even Bruno, a completely insane character, can still covertly interact with people well enough to share some comedic truth about ourselves.



In 2009, a pilot managed to save a plane full of passengers by landing in the Hudson River. The premise of Flight is essentially, "what if you found out that pilot was also drunk??"

Granted, Denzel + upside-down plane does make for a solid one-two punch, the surrounding movie comes through enough to make this a decent film. It's a solid take on how people would respond given the circumstances - the morality pendulum swings rapidly throughout this movie. Denzel is also too easy to root for, which I guess is why you put him in this spot, as the savant-level pilot with a drinking problem.

The tertiary characters are a bit underwhelming - the b-plot about his girlfriend getting help and wanting the same for him makes sense but also takes away from the core at times. Don Cheadle as the lawyer is good, but his motives lack a bit of clarity. 

All-in-all, a fully developed story with fair execution and talented acting makes Flight a solid watch.



It's an undoubtedly entertaining experience to see Denzel going full sociopathic gangster, and you can't help but be entranced by the brutality of this film. It doesn't hold back or linger - Denzel's gang and Russel Crowe as the detective all have a strict no-nonsense policy. Nobody is willing to waste time getting what they need, so what you get is a fast-paced chase with plenty of smashing heads into things.

The performances are great, and the action is exciting, but I realized at the end that I didn't actually care about the results. Past the violence, this movie offers little in the way of narrative payoff. The story sort of just goes until it's time to have the detective catch the bad guy and tie everything up. It has nice little twists to keep you interested in the action and ends with a slight spin on your expectations, but I still felt that I wasn't left with too much I actually cared about.



I didn't write a review for this the first time I saw it, so I wanted to do a re-watch a year later and see if my opinions had changed. Upon a second trip to middle-of-nowhere Texas, I relatively feel the same and have a greater appreciation for what this movie does so well. 

The most entertaining part of Vengeance is the variety - it's a drama, comedy, mystery, and thriller wrapped up into a cohesive and compelling story. It's smartly written, and every line has a purpose. The comedic aspects are sprinkled nicely throughout and compounded by the delivery of the actors - this is probably the best performance I've seen from Ashton Kutcher as Quentin.

What this movie has to say I think also comes through very clearly, and does so in a convincing way. There are a lot of observations about our culture and how we consume media that are relayed through thoughtful pieces of dialogue and the contrasting nature of the characters. The movie never seems like it's beating you over the head with overly intellectual musings on modern society, instead using the juxtapositions in the story itself to lead us through these ideas. It's refreshing, heartfelt, and keeps finding ways of grabbing your attention.

*Spoilers Ahead*

I think the ending is the most controversial piece, as is sometimes the case with great movies. Where I think this ending is actually well deserved is in focusing on what this movie is about (surprise, it's in the title). I think the purpose of being titled Vengeance is to point us toward the question B.J Novak's character Ben keeps thinking - "what's this podcast about?" He's constantly trying to figure out what the grand statement is about the world, but it all becomes clear right as he is recording his last episode. Quentin states to Ben the defining truth of our time, "Everything means everything, so nothing means anything." Suddenly at this moment, Ben seems to have now found truth and true feelings through his experience, replying, "Some things mean something."

I think this ending resonates because it finds a way to cut through the idea that there is no reason for anything if it's true that everything means everything. Ben's act of vengeance as a counter-response expresses that our feelings as people are where purpose can always be found.



Three coming-of-age stories for the price of one! Fifteen, Eighteen, Twenty-Three.. every age comes with something new to learn about the world. The only way to get through it is to listen (to the music).

The characters are craftily set up to make an adventure that feels so real, but also so fantastical. It's a story as old as time - a band breaking up in the face of fame, but at the heart of the whole movie, you have a child writing the cover story for Rolling Stone. The absurdity is always matched with excellently-scripted, well-acted human moments. Every demographic is represented with hilariously fun, yet meaningful interpretations of writers, groupies, rockers, agents, children, and parents. In the end, we all just wanna be cool... and to be loved.



Ok, I admit it. I’m almost 28 as of the time of this recording, and I have never seen Hitchcock despite saying I’m into film. I figured that to be malpractice. So, I mostly watched just so that you now have to take what I say much more seriously.

That aside, I understand now. I can see that Hitchcock definitely had his own style. The shots, timing, and presentation all come together to set a distinct tone of Hitchcock-branded strangeness. The progressions he chooses are still engaging today, and the story keeps taking the mystery further with each person who visits the now-infamous Bates Motel. I can’t say I was on the edge of my seat, but I was intrigued!

It sticks to the basics, though I’m pretty sure Hitchcock invented most of these basics. But what do I know, I’m basically just posturing as a film buff.



Really too bad that the title isn't Night Friday Lights so that I could make easy jokes about playing in the NFL..

FNL comes close to playing it a bit too corny and on the nose, but it infuses enough groundedness and grit to make the moment feel real. The motivations are what make FNL interesting, each story presenting its own challenges that play out on the field every week. Senior year football means a lot of different things for each player, but for all of them, it's their last chance to do it together.

There's a lot of wit and charm as we recognize the importance of high school football in Texas while poking fun at just HOW seriously it's taken. And the editing and direction take the film enjoyably through the excitement and suspense at key moments in games and then back into the interpersonal relationships between the characters. 

It's a typical high school sports movie in the ways you would expect, but it also plays well into the themes and feelings that come with growing up and wanting to make your parents proud.



One problem I have always had with art from the colonial era is the commissioned portraits of royalty and nobility. So many faces of people I don't recognize hang lifelessly in important museums as if to say, "Look how much money we had to spend on making artists paint pictures of us, isn't it grand?" Ehhhh... no, kinda just makes everything look the same and devoid of feeling. Portrait of a Lady on Fire spits in the face of all those boring portraits and exclaims back at them, "If you can't paint me with the beauty of life, then I'd rather you not paint me at all."

It's a film with a fantastic setup and a lot of great follow-through. A painting is to be made of Heloise prior to her arranged marriage, but she refuses to pose for anyone. To counter, Marianne is chosen to be her walking buddy but is actually just memorizing her facial structure so that she can paint her in secret. It highlights how much of the focus of the painter is just on recreating the person exactly, but as the two fall in love, Marianne's painting improves.

It's highly metaphorical (French), which is good for a movie that's about translating life into art, though some aspects come through a bit clearer than others. I can't say I was deeply emotional by the end, but I can't say that I wasn't captivated either.



Heat is one of the better examples of the immovable object vs unstoppable force debate, though I'm never really sure who is which thing whenever we say that. This version has Pacino and De Niro squaring off in the most overproduced episode of Tom and Jerry to date. 

There's quite a bit of buildup for this showdown - Mann loves hanging around in the shot for a minute too long. However, once we get past all the exposition, the story falls nicely around love, family, and what it really means to leave everything behind at a moment's notice. It's clever how you first wonder if the criminals will get caught, but you eventually just find yourself wishing that everyone would just go home to be with the ones they care most about. There's a palpable suspense throughout as to how far they are willing to push themselves, and the writing does a good job of sending the movie in a new direction as soon as you think they might finally stop. 

The women don't get quite the same quality of writing, and I think DeNiro's relationship seems a bit too thin, but Mann does manage to push past the basics of "cop chases criminal" with deeper meanings that left me satisfied by the end.


In Theaters

Across the Spider-Verse is the absolute best multi-verse Spiderman movie of the last two years (maybe even of all time!). But, this movie actually makes me think most of The Dark Knight as the second movie in a trilogy that doubles down on its themes and style for even greater impact. Across the Spider-Verse perfectly encapsulates the difficulties of proving who you are to the world, and it does so with a beautiful mixture of animation flavors never really seen on this level. 

The characters and story-building are top-notch as we see Miles trying to fight for his existence among a beautiful blend of different spider-people. Even with so many voices included, the writing is focused, with everyone playing a key part in Miles' journey. From beginning to end, you can really feel his progression through the exciting new world that opens up but then slowly turns, forcing him to fight back. This movie wants us to question who Spider-Man really is and thoughtfully carries us through as we explore that answer.

Not to mention that the art is stunning the whole way through, with plenty of nods to all the ways Spider-Man has been animated over the years. There are so many unique choices in how everything looks from scene to scene that make watching every sequence feel very fresh and interesting. The more emotional beats in the story are complemented by abstract, impressionist-style frames that suddenly swing back into comic-book action effortlessly. It really seems unlike any other animated film to date. 

There's so much good to say about this, and the only real caveat is an over-emphasis on music at times. We don't always need something loud and pumping to make us understand the moment, and sometimes it became a distraction. I think just picking their spots more selectively would add more gravity to their need for bass.


In Theaters

At least Blackberry can hang their hat on the fact that their movie is better than any of the movies about Apple so far. Matt Johnson's first major film as a director is hilarious, smart, and entertaining from end to end. Through the brilliant pairing of a loudmouth, obnoxious Harvard business school graduate acting as co-CEO to a bunch of gamer nerds, we see the tragedy of how Blackberry's inventor lost his soul. 

There are so many great decisions in this movie. The timing of when to go where while jumping between comedic and dramatic beats is superb. Every piece is purposeful. So well cast too, including the director himself, who very much holds his own at every opportunity. There's not anything you can fault Blackberry for other than maybe a lack of true emotional punch - I can only feel so bad for people who are all still basically billionaires ultimately.



20 years on, Galaxy Quest still feels like a unique and original comedy that features a lot of big names in their primes. It relies heavily on its premise, aliens believe the show "Galaxy Quest" is a historical document and want Tim Allen and co. to save them. Instead of telling the aliens that they are just actors, they decide to go on the adventure and just wing it - what's the worst that could happen? 

From there, it's basically a Star Trek parody. The jokes are funny, but also about what you would expect. The acting is pretty on-point for the main cast with Alan Rickman really coming in especially strong with his annoyed expressions while also wearing a purple alien cap the whole movie. I would say this still holds up and is worth a watch just to see everyone doing their thing and the couple of unexpected faces before they became more well-known.


In Theaters

This is very much a movie that has two distinct parts that are mirrored. Gyllenhaal as Sergeant John Kinley plays opposite Dar Salim as Ahmed, taking turns saving each other's lives in different ways, but with just as much dedication. However, I was much more with Guy Ritchie on the first half than I was on the second. A lot of the real action takes place in the beginning, focusing on Ahmed's physical trials through the Afghanistan mountains and his sheer power of will to keep he and Kinley alive. When we change gears, it's a lot of bureaucracy, and Kinley's trials of being left on hold for hours on end... doesn't quite have the same punch as Ahmed's journey. On top of that, we get these strange monologue scenes with Gyllenhaal that are a little overly poetic. I think this is done to try and give some weight to the mental toll on Kinley, but it didn't really land and came off a bit over-played. 

It's well shot with great action choreography, and Salim and Gyllenhaal do manage to hold this film through the dialogue sequences. There just unfortunately is a lack of anything more meaningful happening to keep me engaged past the amazement of the main characters managing to stay alive.



This movie comes out swinging with the intensity and intrigue of a city crime drama and contrasts that well with the problems of a small town cop who's just there to keep the peace. On the one hand, you get to have a non-stop, cocaine-fueled thrill ride with a trio of bad guys trying to avoid the police. On the other had, we get Bill Paxton playing the sheriff to Star City, Arkansas avoiding his fatherly responsibilities to enjoy time with some big-time LA cops. 

From this premise, the film does a good job of revealing the layers as to who everyone is and bringing more clarity to their motivations. This plays well with the police descriptions of the villains getting more detailed over time and the characters learning their relations to each other. It's a movie that feels focused, with lots of exciting twists and turns to go along with great performances from a majority of the cast. 

However, I also think in the end that I was still questioning if I really cared about any of it. Everyone's story is dramatic, yes, but I don't know that I get enough by the end other than the feeling that this was all so very tragic.


In Theaters

Air is one of those historical movies that needs to find a way of drawing you in even though we all know what's going to happen in the end. We know that Michael Jordan and Nike teamed up to make the most iconic sneaker of all time, but how did it happen? Well, like any product, it simply came down to signing a contract, and Air may be the most exciting movie about putting pen to paper that I've ever seen. Though I don't know if that's saying much?

The essence of the 80's office is on full display here, and we get a good sense of what it was like working for Nike's basketball division back before they became the behemoth they are today. Air does a good job of making Nike feel like a true underdog, and I was genuinely rooting for them the entire time. Close-ups of the Nike principles are sprinkled in, and to Phil Knight's credit, the principles are worth championing. The film kind of plays like a giant Nike ad, but an ad that doesn't make you feel icky at the end. 

Now for the actual plot, which is very well constructed in its beats, laying breadcrumbs along the way as to how it everything will come together in the end. Matt Damon as Sonny Vaccaro does a good job of making everyone, including the audience, believe in his conviction. Granted, we always knew MJ was going to be great, right? As we get farther and farther into the movie, you can feel the belief growing amongst the Nike team that they have what it takes to get it all done. 

Well acted by the full cast with impeccable pacing that keeps you engaged - the only thing that kept me from falling in love with this movie is that it's still just an office drama. It's cool to see how a deal like this got made, but I'm never as emotionally invested as Sonny appears to be.



80's rom-coms are always going to be filled with plenty of corny moments that make you roll your eyes, but Bull Durham at least made sure to offset that with some genuinely hilarious writing and real character development. 

Kevin Costner as Crash is basically told his career as a catcher is over when the movie starts. Now a seasoned veteran, he is to coach Tim Robbins as 'Nuke' LaLoosh. The two play opposite ends of the spectrum, with Nuke being a young, arrogant star who has yet to learn about anything real (as evidenced by his belief in being able to breathe through his eyelids). Crash and Nuke's back and forth throughout the movie provides some engaging character development, but this is a rom-com after all, so we have to make sure and backtrack so that Susan Sarandon as Annie Savoy can get her moments too. Personally, I felt the romance scenes detract rather than give context. It's purpose is simply to highlight the difference between Crash and Nuke in matters of the heart ..and sex.

Bull Durham is held back by its need to follow along with what are now classic rom-com tropes, but the floor is raised by some well crafted characters, great acting, and some truly sensational one-liners. If you ever need a wedding gift idea, candle-sticks are always nice.


In Theaters

True to the games, this movie has got plenty of character and charm, but I was left feeling a bit empty after it was all over. I think there’s a bit of magic that’s lost for me when you are just watching Mario instead of playing as him. And when the movie is sprinting as fast as it can to pack itself with references, it starts to feel a bit like an ad.

However, at times this movie is allowed to breathe a bit and has genuine moments. The entire intro to the movie showed a lot of promise presenting Mario in a new light - as an actual plumber. Seeing Mario as a person with a family really brought the character to life, but we lost that once the adventure took over. Or should I say when Bowser took over. Jack Black’s Bowser is the one real bright spot for me once we enter the Mushroom Kingdom. Giving Bowser time to show himself as a romantic, goofy villain provides some of the most fun bits in the movie. I wish similar opportunities were given to Luigi as Charlie Day’s talents seemed almost wasted with the minimal screen time the green brother got. 

I almost feel like I would have had the same enjoyment if I had just a vague awareness of the Mario universe. The elements are all there, including characters voiced well by the whole cast (even Chris Pratt), but something is missing. If it’s supposed to feel like the game brought to life, I think it should give me more of a sense of wonder as I had when I first played Super Mario 64. I know that’s hard to replicate, but that’s the feeling that made me fall in love with the character in the first place. I don’t necessarily want to just see everything I remember as fast as possible.


In Theaters

Isn't every fantasy movie Dungeons and Dragons? I guess that's the point of making this appear like it's going to be a franchise of various tales in the DnD universe. The Hasbro team definitely makes sure there are enough instances that make this feel as though it's friends sitting around a table acting out the characters and we're just watching it in movie form.

That aside, I think this movie is a very fun time, correctly leaning into comedy over trying to make this a deep and dramatic fantasy tale. There's enough memorable and stand-out bits in the movie that are held together by a simple, yet effective plot. I thought the cast was mostly chosen well, allowing the lead characters to shine when given their moments. It is a lot like Star Trek in the sense that it's Chris Pine leading a ragtag team on a mission and having fun while doing it - a formula that is applied well here. 

Otherwise, the main thing about this film is that it appears very self-aware, for better or worse. The tropes are acknowledged, but used appropriately and in comedic fashion; however, it's when the story seems to wander aimlessly that I get a bit lost along with the characters. I know in DnD it's classic for the party members to go off doing something completely off-track, but I'm also not listening to a DnD podcast - this is a movie. This leaves a chunk in the middle where I'm not quite sure what we're doing other than making a meta joke about getting sidetracked that plays out a little too long.

Still, there are enough pieces here that make for an enjoyable time watching, and I would love to see the concept expanded into different kinds of DnD stories.



A crime movie that clearly takes a lot of notes from The Departed, which I know has been said a thousand times, but it begs the question - why did we need this film only four years after Scorsese nailed this idea? Well the answer seems to come down to one thing, Fenway Park. How can you have a movie about Boston and never go to Fenway? Luckily Affleck is here to save the day by putting his own spin on Boston crime drama, and making sure to include all the Boston sports scene iconography that was left out of Scorsese's vision. Other than that, The Town leaves a bit to be desired as to why I should really ever care what's happening. 

The casting is great for the most part, however Affleck soaks up all the interesting points in the story. Blake Lively, Jeremy Renner, Jon Hamm all do well in their respective roles, but they mostly just serve to give Affleck's character a bit more juice to work with. In the scenes without Affleck, I'm usually left a bit uninterested. I think The Town wants to be this bigger drama with lots of interwoven stories and motivations that lead to an intense showdown between all the parties, but the writing doesn't give much depth to anyone aside from the lead. The love story is honestly a bit forced, the family tensions a bit weak, and the 'mob' never really get much time. I'm left with Join Hamm chasing Affleck to Fenway..cool. 

But to end positively, at least The Town still gives you the essence of a big crime drama that keeps you wondering how it's all going to turn out. I was still curious to see if the A-Team would ever get caught flying too close to the sun. How was Affleck going to get himself out of all the sticky situations he was finding himself in. In the end, there is still some definitive direction in this movie. I just wish I cared a little more.



The aesthetics of Minority Report keep it from falling into a trap of just spewing sci-fi nonsense that I’m expected to take at face value. There’s a sense of self-awareness that makes Minority Report an exciting ride. Underneath the craziness, there’s deep thoughts about religion, technology and their intersections on determining right from wrong. 

Everything about this movie is creatively conceived, no matter how crazy it gets (especially for a film that precedes the tech advancements we’ve experienced to date). All the questions asked still feel fresh - what if we allow computers to tell us who is a good person or not? Do we as humans have a certain dogma when it comes to our faith in advanced technology? 

There’s maybe a few overextensions with plot points and how good 2002 CGI special effects would look, but for the most part Spielberg shows off his storytelling and presentation prowess. Minority Report remains a captivating sci-fi tale. And Tom Cruise is still a must-see action star.


In Theaters

I think it’s important to note that I’m watching this movie on the heels of finishing The Last of Us. In fact, I think comparing the two best explains ny thoughts on the movie. Both are stories about a father burdened by thoughts of their real daughter as they help their new circumstantial “daughter.” In 65, instead of Joel, we get Mills. Instead of Ellie, we get Koa. Instead of mushroom zombies, we get dinos. 

However, while I’m truly invested in everything taking place in The Last of Us, I feel not much of anything watching this movie.

In TLOU, the relationship between the main characters is what drives everything - the engine to the whole show. In 65, Koa and Mills don’t even speak the same language and the translator is broken, so Adam Driver basically does all the talking in this film. 65 tries to reel you in with some emotional appeals early, but nothing really lands since they fail to build up the story or characters in any way.

The TLOU story is also well designed, outlining the characters place in the world and why what they are doing is so important. In 65 the story is simply, “we crashed, let’s try to escape.” I can’t really fault 65 too much for that decision, but it’s ultimately a tough choice when I already have so little to go off of.

Finally, TLOU has plenty of tense, dramatic action sequences that instill a clear sense of danger by grounding us in some reality. 65 does not instill that same sense of danger, and doesn’t do enough to ground the world. Mills breaks all of his bones but also can still do a full sprint, jumping obstacles, and whatever else before going, “oh yeah, still hurt tho actually.”

65 just didn’t give me much of anything to like. Aside from the above, the dialogue seems so forced, pacing is slow for a 90min quickie, and there are some goofy choices in some scenes that you can’t help but laugh at. Not really for me.


In Theaters

I think if this movie was just Jonathan Majors breathing in heavily through his nose while staring straight ahead menacingly, it would of still been alright. The third installment of the Creed series is at its best when it’s focused on building Majors into an increasingly intimidating foe for Michael B. Jordan to face. The backstory is well conceived and you genuinely want to see the two face off in the ring for the title (though Majors is so big in this movie I almost can’t take the idea of him losing to MBJ seriously). Where C3 has issues though, is with everything else, mostly in just how cookie cutter it seems at times. Mainly, I don’t feel much for Adonis Creed except for a few key moments. It’s almost like we are just going through the motions until we can get back to Majors looking more lethal. It’s at least still entertaining in presentation, using lots of real life crossovers to sell us on the fight, but when it’s just Creed and his family… pretty whatever. Great if you just want to see some really killer punches.


In Theaters

RRR is an absolute blast of a Shakespearean tale done in classic Tollywood fashion. Fantastic action sequences, splashy musical numbers, heartwarming romance, and a deeply grounded, compelling story about two rivals battling for what they feel is right. What makes RRR so fun to watch is how well it balances the many exciting pieces to the puzzle. Everything is well-motivated and always adds necessary detail to the story, making the payoffs feel even more earned. Despite being long enough to include an intermission, nothing is wasted. It’s like a beautiful broadway musical with big screen sensibilities. It doesn’t necessarily take any major risks, but you can’t really say the ride wasn’t fun.


In Theaters

Quantumania seemed to be a movie that is trying to keep too many plates spinning at once. From the jump, it appears to be a simple story about a typical superhero-father/daughter relationship. However as we travel further into the Quantum Realm, more characters and layers are added, but nothing ever gets resolved in a satisfying way. Throughout the whole movie, I could almost feel the writers going, “oh yeah, we should probably go back and say something about this plot we introduced,” as characters would suddenly drop bits of related dialogue. This leads to everything being held loosely together, and I was unable to find myself rooting for anything in particular. The only thing I held on to was the hope that the villain would do some incredible show of power, but I was left disappointed there as well. Aside from some good jokes here and there, Ant-Man largely comes up short.


In Theaters

As someone who once worked for a toy company and am now in tech, I feel like this movie was made for me. What M3GAN does so great is capturing what is so funny about making cutting-edge technology to be used in toys. What if the biggest advancement in AI was used to make the most fun toy on the planet? M3GAN also does well playing off the tropes of the horror genre, creating tense moments that are also self-aware about the concept of a life-size AI doll trying to kill people. The style of writing and choice in actors really drive home all the tongue-in-cheek moments that make M3GAN such an enjoyable watch. 

M3GAN doesn't really try to be much more than an entertainingly funny movie. There's not some deeper examination of the consequences of AI that I think would have probably only taken us out of our enjoyment. It's just a good time that's only drawback is a few loose plot points.


In Theaters

Knock at the Cabin I think is best summed up as a movie with a lot of promise of suspense, but that's completely unable to follow through on that promise. There's a central question the entire film, "save humanity or your family," as seen all over the marketing; however, that question results in an overly straightforward plot. Early on, the family decides not to listen to the crazy people telling them they need to make a sacrifice to stop the apocalypse. The intruders keep pressing the issue, but they can't kill the family themselves, so the protagonists are never in any real danger. This leads to a movie that keeps acting like it's upping the anti, but never really changing. 

Not to mention, there's are also plenty of aspects of the movie that are almost laughably bad? Some of the acting and dialogue seem unsure of how serious we are supposed to be taking everything. I think this comes from Shyamalan maybe wanting the characters to appear out of their minds while still making everything seem real. Shyamalan wants us to ask ourselves the question, "would I believe the people and kill one of my own?", but it ultimately just feels a little silly. It doesn't help that the movie is rated R, but still cuts away from any of the more gruesome parts as though to still make it ok for kids.


In Theaters

Infinity Pool is what happens when you cross The White Lotus with 2001: A Space Odyssey and put an epilepsy warning at the start. We start in a beautiful ocean resort with the scent of seduction and affairs in the air, but quickly get taken to a gorey, hyper-sexual, sci-fi light show. Brandon Cronenberg certainly knows how to make a movie shocking and visually entertaining. I'm not sure though if he knows how to sustain a complete narrative about... morality? identity? This movie seems like it wants to say something interesting about our humanity, but I think it lacks enough focus to make that clear.

The performances we get from Andrew Skarsgård and Mia Goth, however, do add a lot to this film. Their interactions keep the feelings of tension going throughout as they continually escalate in intensity. As well, the mixture of human cloning and epic brutality makes for something that is both shocking and intriguing. I did find myself really wanting this movie to have some greater revealing ideas, but it just never really seemed to put all the pieces together. Does look good though.



Paddington, Paddington, Paddington.. a cult icon in the film nerd community. The original and sequel hold two of the highest ratings of all time on RT, an astounding fact given how many film geeks have also never seen the movie - myself included. However, now I’m a film geek who HAS seen Paddington, and I can say with authority that it deserves it’s cult status. I can’t wait to see the next one. 

Paddington plays out much like any of the best Pixar movies, now with a lovable character in search of help finding a family willing to take a chance. However, we also get a lot of inspiration from Wes Anderson clearly, and it’s all done very well. Stylistically engaging, well-crafted characters, and a fun adventure - what else do you need? 

Well, what else I might need is more of an emotional punch. We do get our moments at times, but they don’t last too long. It’s very well-written, but there is more of an emphasis on wonder and adventure than an emotional build into a finale. It’s assuredly more of a fun movie, which is still great in its own right.



Are people still buying time shares? This movie certainly thinks so, and that they are still just as scummy of a proposition as ever. 

Time Share certainly knows how to make things seem ominous, and the artistic direction really drives the mystery of the film home. It’s a movie only about a time-share scam, but it makes it a lot more violent and dark than you would think at first. It’s also played excellently by the full cast of characters. 

Plot-wise is where there are certainly some bumps, and maybe a little too much left for the audience to figure out themselves. But I still came away understanding the general idea, and it remained entertaining throughout.



A Knight’s Tale is an instantly comforting movie given the fact that it’s a comedy starring Heath Ledger. It’s hard not to smile seeing Ledger play a charming knight with a couple of goofy friends training him in the joust. The movie suckers you in with wit and action (who doesn’t love watching two men on horses go full-speed at each other with giant poles??) and rides that all the way through.

Ledger plays the role perfectly, both in his line delivery and his subtle expressiveness - keys for success as a comedy lead. The rest of the cast does a great job as well, and it’s really just a few jokes that maybe fall flat from a writing perspective that hold this back from being a top-tier comedy. Still, it’s an excellent example of what a popcorn movie can be.


In Theaters

Does putting on plastic glasses instantly make a movie worth $2 Billion? We have a limited sample size given the lack of new 3D films, but based on the data we do have..yes. 

Now, the more important question (to me at least), can a film that looks this incredible overcome a lackluster story? No, no it cannot. And honestly, it looks good - but it also looks fake still. 

I don’t need to go into too much detail about this one I think. The art direction is pretty much the impressive thing in the Avatar series. The landscapes and creatures still clearly have a lot of effort put in and it pays off. I was able to sit through all 3.5hrs of this simply because it’s at least different from all the other CGI films in it’s setting. It’s at least an actually different world.

Other than that, the characters/story/dialogue etc. are all forgettable. I still don’t know any character names aside for Jake Sully - family leader extraordinaire. 

Now for the James Cameron social experiment to lay dormant until another sequel in 7 years or whatever. Moving on with my life now.



Glass Onion certainly keeps all the charm of the original Knives Out, but that also means it carries many of the same questionable, quirky moments. What’s great about the Rian Johnson whodunnits is that you get to have an actually FUN mystery, rather than a dramatic build as we mostly see in modern crime movies. There are plenty of great pieces of dialogue produced from Daniel Craig’s interactions with the cast in which he shows his supreme wit with clever word choice. We get taken on a wild journey in a wonderfully playful island environment that offers plenty of places for spying on others. Everything about the aesthetic for Glass Onion is perfect, and the beauty of it keeps you in. 

However, some of the actual reveals and plot points still leave a bit to be desired. There are maybe one too many “oh, come on” moments. This leads to some of the intrigue falling a little flat and you are more or less waiting to jump to the next fun bit. 

I still liked watching this a lot, albeit for the single time I want to watch it. Ironically this movie on a second watch I assume would be much like a glass onion with many insignificant layers to go through.



It’s funny how many movies feature Jake Gynllenhaal trying to track down criminals with a spunky sidekick. After chasing the Zodiac killer with Robert Downey Jr., we now see Jake with Hugh Jackman as they search for who abducted Hugh’s child. And this hunt is certainly a wild ride for the duo. What makes Prisoners a lot of fun is definitely the pacing, which always makes a mystery movie have more punch. The movie takes course over a few days, each feeling more significant as we learn something new that changes our focus to a new target. 

Gyllenhaal and Jackman also perfectly clash with each other as calm, precise detective versus dad with the anger of Wolverine frantically searching for his daughter. Their relationship is what gives this movie a little extra something. You’re intrigued by the whodunnit, but you stay for the building tension between the featured leads. 

I think the only thing keeping this movie from reaching it’s full potential is a few quirky plot choices. It’s very exciting, but a little messy.


In Theaters

I honestly have had a hard time knowing what I actually thought about this movie. On the one hand, it feels so serious with it’s direction and acting. On the other hand, they’re cannibals in love. I think in the end, this movie knows what it’s doing and actually does it quite well. At times, I can’t help but laugh as Russel and Chalamet kiss and then yell about the morals of eating people. I wouldn’t say this is necessarily a complete satire, as much as it is just self-aware enough. Some things in this movie are so silly that I could only assume they knew exactly what they were doing with this movie. It hits all the classic hallmarks of the teen romance, but delivers them is such a unique way that you can’t help but smile. All while people are eaten.


In Theaters

In the absence of Boseman as the lead, this movie at least takes that opportunity well enough to tell the story of someone who may not be ready being asked to step up. Shuri already lost her brother and now Wakanda is asking her to bring back Black Panther - give her a break! This is at least a good premise for this film to stand on and gives it direction after losing its rock. However, the execution is a bit bumpy at times. Letitia Wright is unfortunately not as convincing a lead as Boseman. And while Tenoch Huerta does a good job as Namor, the villain doesn’t pose as much of a strong counter as Killmonger. This is a lot of comparison to the first movie, but Wakanda Forever does make a point to look back often at what came before.

Besides the main characters, the side stories and characters are hit and miss. The other established Wakandans bring more weight to the story, but some (one engineer specifically) really take away from any scene they’re in. Wakanda at least remains a well-grounded fantasy setting that feels like a legitimate place inside the real world. Overall the movie isn’t so ridiculous that it pulls me out, but I’m not fully engrossed in what’s going on either. It’s nice that they pulled off something well-made given the circumstances, but not something worth spending much more time thinking about.


In Theaters

The Menu is certainly a fresh take on horror, part of an ongoing trend to find unique settings for scary movies. It takes place mostly inside of one room, which helps in making you feel trapped alongside the dinner guests. More than that, the restaurant Hawthorne also perfectly captures all the over-the-top elements of high-end dining it wants to parody. You don’t *eat* at Hawthorne, you taste. There are characters that also add to that setting with hilarious representations of high-end chefs, food critics and connoisseurs. However, a few of the other minor characters seem underdeveloped and are more generalized to service the themes of the film. Similar can be said for some of the writing that, while funny, doesn’t always stick the landing on the larger ideas it introduces. Besides that, the acting from the leads is sharp throughout, and there were enough good jokes and twists to keep me engaged. Consider watching while eating to heighten the experience.


In Theaters

Everyone in this story gets what they want while everyone else suffers. Equality is at the center of The Triangle of Sadness with all the characters standing at different corners. Poor versus rich versus the middle class. Capitalism versus socialism versus communism. The Triangle of Sadness explores each corner, equally. 

It’s well acted with amazingly fun and hilarious writing.  A story that’s both beautiful and tragic with a great attention to every detail as it unfolds. It’s captivating in ways that keep you guessing the whole way through - who wins in the triangle of sadness? 

And an incredible soundtrack to boot.


In Theaters

The Banshees of Inisherin is made in the vein of the other great Irish fables I grew up with as a little Irish boy - just now made for a little Irish man. It’s a story about the end of a friendship, leading to a feud between 2 of the 25 people in a small town off the coast of Ireland. Of course, this plays out in a hilarious way that only the Irish people can pull off. There is so much great dialogue between the characters as they gossip about the only interesting thing happening in their small town. Yet, it’s also deceptively deep and reveals the deeper meanings as the tensions in the relationships build. The leads keep you laughing the whole time, even when the action going on is best described as morbid and even violent at times. What makes this film great is it’s ability to draw you in with endearing characters that almost act as misdirection for it’s more serious themes. The weight of loneliness, war, and the meaning of life is made lighter by the wit and charm of the Irish townsfolk. It’s a beautiful piece that’s only ever brought down by how slow the burn is.


Apple TV

Causeway is a movie focused entirely on it’s characters for better or worse. It offers up a couple fantastic performances by Jennifer Lawrence and Brian Tyree Henry which carry the movie. Their conversations together create the most compelling scenes, but without them together is where the movie drags. With so much attention on Lawrence and Henry, little comes from the scenes with the other characters. The direction does a good job of setting the stage for key moments, but a lot of the movie is spent wondering when something is going to happen. Ultimately what does happen brings the movie together nicely, and the arc for Lawrence’s character is well thought out. Had we gotten more out of all the relationships she has, this could have been better though.



Perfect setting and pacing is really what makes a horror movie go from good to great for me. It’s the thing, I think, that always make Jordan Peele or A24 movies stand out above the rest. Horror is much more fun to me when it takes place somewhere that feels very grounded in reality and then slowly becomes more ominous and distressing. When it feels real, you get much more connected with whoever is being subjected to the mysterious evil. This is made even better when the mysterious evil is revealed seamlessly alongside details about our main characters. Barbarian is so entertaining because of its choices with where it takes place and when it chooses to show us more.


In Theaters

I like when movies start with people just walking up to like some ancient ruin and then just finding an artifact that everyone has spent thousands of years looking for. Black Adam has a lot of these fun tropes from action-hero movies, and they kind of just string those together for an entire movie until it’s over. It makes sense, just do a safe and familiar format, but now it’s The Rock™️! 

Black Adam gets a midly interesting backstory, and it’s ultimately the only thing that really grabbed my attention. We hear about how his family suffered under the rule of an evil king, until they could break free by killing all their oppressors. Black Adam deals with the dilemma of being a liberator of an enslaved people, but doing so as a violent act of revenge. Still, it doesn’t ever really go past this surface level assessment of the issue. 

Other than The Rock™️, no other character gets any interesting story. There are all these minor plot lines that just come and go where they may. I didn’t leave with much from any of their participation. So if you want to see a bland movie with The Rock™️, here ya go.


In Theaters

Rarely do we get to see a horror movie made from this perspective. Pearl is an origin story about a murderer, so we get a movie that gets more frightening as we reveal more about the main character. This was something really refreshing about ‘Pearl’. Rather than following a group of people slowly dwindling in numbers, Pearl instead focuses on one character’s descent into madness. Pearl wants so badly to leave her miserable life on the farm, and we watch as she is driven insane by this desire. 

Pearl is certainly a movie that does well in making the horror genre continue to be a place for more unique ideas. However, going that route means you have to take risks, and this movie isn’t without some fault. Pearl is ultimately a simple character in some regard. This isn’t going to be the kind of origin story that shares all these interesting details about a character to make you eventually empathize with them. Pearl just wants off the farm real bad. It grew a little tiresome later when you feel like all the things that made Pearl interesting have grown stale. 

Still, Pearl has so much else going for it that make it worth watching. Mia Goth’s performance is fantastic, and at all points Pearl feels like a fully authentic character. Director Ti West perfectly captures the 1920’s overly cliche farm, filled with all your classic farm tools for the perfect horror flick. Ultimately, I think there is enough style in Pearl that it outweighs the parts where it is just dragging along.