Category: New Releases

Dolemite Is My Name: Return of a comedy legend

From the moment he begins a verbal diatribe that drowns out Marvin Gaye, it’s apparent that Eddie Murphy has a special passion for his latest role. It’s evident in the way he carries himself, in the timbre of his voice and the cadence with which he recite lyrical tongue-twisters with effortless repetition. Murphy melts into his homage to one of his mentors and heroes, … Read More Dolemite Is My Name: Return of a comedy legend

The Laundromat: The muddled world of international finance

Taking risks in filmmaking can be a bold way to put a unique spin on stories we already know well. Biopics and other movies about historical events and figures are often chronological and stale, though recent efforts to infuse life into the genre have proven to be a welcome change. Since writer/director Todd McKay’s darkly comic take on the financial crisis of 2008 won … Read More The Laundromat: The muddled world of international finance

Judy: There’s only one true Garland

When the term “Oscar bait” gets thrown around in film criticism, it’s usually in reference to a film like “Judy.” Typically a movie with one central performance based on true events featuring showy, clip-worthy monologues destined for an awards season reel, “Oscar bait” is a film cliché used to describe movies that wouldn’t exist if studios couldn’t buy their way to winning accolades. The … Read More Judy: There’s only one true Garland

Joker: Origins of psychosis and villainy

It can be said that there’s no true originality left in cinema. Everything seems pulled from pieces of movie history, homages or outright rip-offs of films gone by. Audacious and transgressive, Todd Phillips’ “Joker” is clearly influenced by the work of cinematic legend Martin Scorsese, particularly his 1976 classic “Taxi Driver” and the 1983 cult of celebrity dramedy “The King of Comedy.” It also … Read More Joker: Origins of psychosis and villainy

Ad Astra: Hello darkness, my old friend

In space, no one can feel your pain. At least, that’s the conceit of the latest space odyssey to hit the big screen, writer/director James Gray’s “Ad Astra.” Melancholy and malaise abound in a slow-burning film ripe with wistful soliloquies delivered as a character-informing score for Gray’s expressionless short story drawn out over two hours. Brad Pitt stars as Roy McBride, an astronaut tasked … Read More Ad Astra: Hello darkness, my old friend

The Goldfinch: Pretty, shallow bird

Perhaps the most underappreciated aspect of quality filmmaking is solid editing. If done properly, audiences will almost never notice the intricate amount of work it takes to cut together hours of footage, alternate camera angles and multiple takes into a single, cohesive feature film. When things are off, a bad edit sticks out like a sore thumb. It may be a weird transition, a … Read More The Goldfinch: Pretty, shallow bird

Hustlers: Economics of the stripper pole

Sometimes a good movie is all about the performance, not the content. Once adrift on an endless cycle of middling romantic comedies and voice-over work, Jennifer Lopez delivers her best work in more than two decades as a stripper looking to swindle rich men at any cost. “Hustlers” provides the talented former Golden Globe nominee her most challenging role in years and is the … Read More Hustlers: Economics of the stripper pole

The Peanut Butter Falcon: Two bandits on the run

Anyone can tell a story. How you tell it is often as important, if not more important, than the story itself. When we talk about feel-good stories – tales that warm your heart and ease your mind – there’s a tendency for certain storytellers to emotionally manipulate their audience with a piece of dialogue, burst of somber music or a plethora of other ways. … Read More The Peanut Butter Falcon: Two bandits on the run

American Factory: The price of globalization

There have been a number of exceptional documentaries released in 2019 covering a range of political, historical and pop culture topics. Perhaps none sits quite on the threshold of where the United States stands currently in an everchanging global economy than the latest Netflix release, “American Factory.” A top non-fiction film and award winner to come out of this year’s Sundance Film Festival, this … Read More American Factory: The price of globalization

Blinded By The Light: Connecting through good tunes

Pop culture can transcend all sorts of boundaries. People from different walks of life can identify with one another over a favorite sports team, the filmography of a terrific actor or director or a classic album by a prized musical artist. It’s this cultural bridge building that’s at the heart of director Gurinder Chadha’s latest feature, “Blinded By The Light,” inspired by the true … Read More Blinded By The Light: Connecting through good tunes

Good Boys: Super bad on a sixth grade reading level

Why is “South Park” an animated series? Couldn’t creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker have made their crude and frequently violent show about prepubescent boys a live action series just as easily, if not cheaper? The reason they don’t is simple: an animated overweight boy using expletives every other sentence while making sex jokes is funny because the animation separates the joke from reality. … Read More Good Boys: Super bad on a sixth grade reading level

The Souvenir: Love and other drugs

Joanna Hogg doesn’t make life easy on her audience. Subtlety and layers of hidden context abound in her latest feature, “The Souvenir,” a semi-autobiographical drama she wrote and directed about a young film student’s destructive love affair with an older man set in the 1980s. Audiences are shown bits of Julie and Anthony’s time together in a piecemeal, fragmented way that’s part slice of … Read More The Souvenir: Love and other drugs