The Witch Invites You Right Into Its Own Hell

The Witch (2016)

The Witch, or The VVitch as it seems to be spelled in promotional materials, is the latest in a recent line of artful horror movies designed to attract snobs who typically don’t bother with such fare. As a longtime lover of both ends of the horror genre–I had a lot of fun watching Chopping Mall for God’s sake–this is a trend I can really get behind. Fancying up scares with careful filmmaking is not an explicitly new way to go, but the degree to which it is being approached in recent years is truly impressive. Continue reading “The Witch Invites You Right Into Its Own Hell”

The Coen Brothers Use Hail, Caesar! As a Valentine to Classic Film

Hail, Caesar! (2016)

Rating: 7.0/10

The Coen brothers have had their share of ups and downs as filmmakers, but that’s not such a bad thing when those downs are still wholly interesting and worthwhile viewing experiences. Hail, Caesar! is one of those “downs,” a good movie that is damned only by the pedigree of its creators. Compare this thing to the rest of what gets released every February by mere mortals and it looks like a work of unparalleled accomplishment. Continue reading “The Coen Brothers Use Hail, Caesar! As a Valentine to Classic Film”

Nicolas Cage, The Real National Treasure

Years ago, a couple of things became readily apparent to me in regards to Nicolas Cage, Oscar winner and bizarre member of the Coppola family. The first was that the man was capable of turning his frequent toilet-dwelling roles into gleeful, over-the-top gold. The second was that he actually has the ability to be a first-rate thespian when he’s in the exact right situation and trying. As many of you have likely found out, the Cage is never boring; whether he’s screaming at the top of his lungs for no scripted reason, bugging his eyes in an effort to make us truly believe he has no eyelids, or somehow lending a solemn sincerity to his character, this guy is in it to win it. Continue reading “Nicolas Cage, The Real National Treasure”

My Favorite Films of 2015: The Notable Omissions

With my favorite films of 2015 well-documented in the dustiest corner of the internet, I figured it would be helpful to detail why I skipped out on including a few films that are notable for one reason or another. The five films included in this post simply weren’t among my very favorites of the year even though I liked some of them, although others missed because I didn’t think they were anything special. Paring down a list that got more unwieldy than I expected was kind of tough, so elaborating a bit more seems like a necessary plan of action. Continue reading “My Favorite Films of 2015: The Notable Omissions”

My Favorite Films of 2015 (1-5)

Woah! That was fast. All of a sudden here I concluding my list of my favorite 2015 films, feeling wistful that my barrage-watch of many recent titles is but a memory. It’s not all bad news, though, as now I have an excuse to give a handful of unabashed recommendations and plow forward into the movies of tomorrow. Perhaps they will not literally come out tomorrow (it’s boring-ass January), and they sure as hell won’t include the mediocre Tomorrowland, but you get the idea. Enough dilly-dallying; let’s get down to business. Continue reading “My Favorite Films of 2015 (1-5)”

My Favorite Films of 2015 (6-10)

With those pesky honorable mentions out of the way, it’s time to get to the meat of the list. Today I’ll tackle films six through 10 on my 2015 list, with the top five coming tomorrow. These are all movies I greatly enjoyed, and ranking them was quite a chore. After much deliberation, this is where I wound up, although some of the positions could easily vary in retrospect once time has done that thing it likes to do where it warps my viewpoint into a different focus. If you haven’t seen any of these, I strongly recommend you go out and do so. They’re all way better than Captain Superhero 9: More Superhero-y. Continue reading “My Favorite Films of 2015 (6-10)”

My Favorite Films of 2015 (Honorable Mentions)

Finally, after extensive preparation (read: watching a bunch of movies) I am prepared to offer up my favorites from 2015! Making a list of my favorite films of the year proved difficult in ways making a list of my favorite music never does. I don’t experience as many new movies as I do albums, so that presents an issue up front. Add in that a glut of heralded films never reach theaters until the end of the year these days, and I think I have a decent enough excuse to wait until January to ensure a quality list. Continue reading “My Favorite Films of 2015 (Honorable Mentions)”

The Big Short Makes Math and Corruption Highly Entertaining

The Big Short (2015)

Rating: 8.5/10

The subject matter of The Big Short is the worldwide financial collapse of 2008, and the only way to explore what happened is to get highly technical. This means director Adam McKay must do exactly what author Michael Lewis did when he wrote the nonfiction book this material is based on: he must find a way to make the average consumer entertained by numbers, financial concepts, and the inner workings of corporate corruption. Against all odds, he succeeds wildly and creates one of the best movies of 2015. Continue reading “The Big Short Makes Math and Corruption Highly Entertaining”

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Treads Familiar Territory

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

Rating: 6.5/10

The Star Wars franchise is among the most beloved in cinema history. You’d be hard-pressed to find a person who hasn’t seen any of the six installments before The Force Awakens, and even the uninitiated are sure to know character names or famous lines simply from having been alive in the years following 1977. The omnipresent nature of the series makes each new entry difficult to evaluate in earnest; like so many others, I have my own specific and fond memories of watching the original trilogy. For me, it was popping in VHS versions of those movies with my dad and letting the space opera play out before my grade school eyes. I’ll always remember my early moments with Star Wars, and they are the chief reason why I wanted to see Episode VII in the first place. Continue reading “Star Wars: The Force Awakens Treads Familiar Territory”

The Revenant Shows Survival’s Beauty and Brutality

The Revenant (2015)

Rating: 8.0/10

The stark contrast between beauty and brutality informs the entirety of Alejandro G. Innaritu’s lengthy The Revenant. This is a story of man vs. nature, but this is also a story of man vs. man, and that battle plays out in more ways than one. Innaritu chose to go in a wildly different direction than he did for Birdman, his critical darling released just a year ago. The Revenant is never funny, never enjoyable, and seldom easy to watch; this is a film you should see, but it isn’t likely to be one you want to return to unless you’re really into cinematography. Continue reading “The Revenant Shows Survival’s Beauty and Brutality”