‘Knives Out’ – A Satisfying Whodunnit, A Better Social Satire

To be frank, Rian Johnson feels overqualified for the whodunnit. Known for his subversive-style storytelling, Johnson has a knack for one-upping the genres he’s operating in: Brick, a high school thriller wearing a hardboiled fedora & trench coat; Looper, a time-travel movie more invested in drama than sci-fi; and The Last Jedi, an age-old good vs. evil blockbuster that transcends Chosen One tropes. With Knives Out, Johnson is back in detective mode, but the genre can’t contain his ideas or idiosyncrasies. Knives Out is flesh and blood a murder mystery, but the real hat-trick is that it’s simultaneously a satire that slyly carves its way into the beating political heart of America. Continue reading

‘Crawl’: Draining the Superhero Swamp

January and February are typically months spent catching up on all the movies I’ve missed in the last year. Though I may write and tweet insufferably endlessly about film, I will forever be late to the hype train. Because for each one movie I obsess over, there are 10 others passing below my radar. I recently went HAM on all the sweet Blu-ray deals I could find for myself (as a treat). Among the score was Crawl, a creature-feature & underrated B-movie gem that I sadly skipped in 2019. I wish I hadn’t because holy shit does this movie rule. Continue reading

The Rise of Skywalker and the Limits of J.J. Abrams

For as long as I’ve known him as a moviegoer, J.J. Abrams has done the impossible. He made me a fan of franchises like Mission: Impossible and Star Trek. That may sound hyperbolic considering De Palma’s Mission: Impossible is as iconic as its centerpiece CIA heist sequence, and that Star Trek is as immediately recognizable in geek iconography as the mere parting of your fingers. But I was never a fan of either until Abrams put his stamp on both properties.

J.J. Abrams became THE go-to guy to resuscitate any dormant film franchise, and he’s since gone on to shape the modern blockbuster as we know it like a valiant successor to Spielberg. As a result, Hollywood has entrusted him with the reins of not one but two of its most sacred franchises in Star Trek and Star Wars. Needless to say, it’s been very easy to hop on the J.J. Abrams train. Continue reading

Favorite Movies of 2019

The world is on fire and we’re inching closer to WWIII. What a time to die be alive! Before we subsume to a fiery oblivion, I wanna reflect on the spectacular year in film that was 2019. (At least we’ve got things to talk about in those nuclear bunkers.) There were notable gems early in the year, some unexpected event films, while the biggest twist for me was realizing streaming services can do more than churn out “content.” As we head into a homogenized entertainment market run by comic books and superheroes, and veritable streaming giants vying for our wallets, it’s next to impossible these days to pit our attention on one thing at any given moment. These were the movies of 2019 that held my undivided attention. We’re all gonna die. Continue reading

Favorite Movie Moments of 2019

It’s that time of year when yours truly unveils his list of favorite things in film. As of this moment, I am formally retiring my “Best of” lists and rebranding under the less consequential, “Favorites.” I’m tired of getting into spats about which films were the best, worst, overrated, etc. I’ve reached my limit as far as pretentiousness and outrage, and it was 2019.

This past year was another one for the books. I was genuinely surprised by what entertained me, some in unexpected and others in truly unsettling ways. I give you my list of favorite movie moments of 2019. I don’t know if this is a precursor to my eventual list of favorite films; some moments in certain movies spoke louder to me more than others. It’s a varied bunch to say the least. Rejoice or rebuke this year in film, I was never bored. These were the movie moments that delighted me. Continue reading