• Independence Day

    Independence Day

    Regardless of your personal opinion towards the film, Independence Day is one of the most important blockbusters in cinema history, ranking alongside Jaws, Star Wars and Jurassic Park in terms of how ingrained it became within the cultural consciousness.

    The reason it was such a success? Because it managed to be so universal with both its content and with its appeal. However, that does not necessarily mean that the film is unintelligent or poorly made. In terms of direction, Roland…

  • Whiplash

    Whiplash

    Tension is the lifeblood of dramatic conflict, and Whiplash is a film that knows exactly how to use it.

    Centered around the relationship between a young drummer named Andrew and his extremely abusive instructor, Whiplash builds the tension between them in every single scene they share, generating an effect that can only be described as anxiety-inducing. Miles Teller does a very solid job as the lead, but J. K. Simmons' performance as Terence Fletcher is simply phenomenal, creating an antagonist…

  • The Age of Adaline

    The Age of Adaline

    Even though it was written as an original screenplay, The Age of Adaline can't escape the feeling that it wants to be a novel more than it wants to be a film.

    The story is about Adaline Bowman, a woman who stopped aging at 29 because of a freak accident and has now lived to 107. While the script does a fairly decent job of showing how she has coped with such an extended and seemingly endless lifespan, it is…

  • Gods of Egypt

    Gods of Egypt

    Gods of Egypt isn't a movie. It's a video game. Now, I'm one of the most vocal advocates for video games being taken seriously as a narrative medium, but Gods of Egypt fails on every level of filmmaking, and instead feels like it should have been released as a PlayStation 3 game back in 2006.

    This is not to say that director Alex Proyas didn't try, because you can see his ambition to create an original fantasy property based on…

  • Interstellar

    Interstellar

    Science fiction is supposed to be the genre that explores big ideas and expands the way humanity thinks about its future. Unfortunately, Interstellar flirts with some big ideas, but never has anything interesting to say about them.

    What's most crushing about Interstellar is that it shows quite a bit of promise at the outset. The premise is intriguing, and the characters initially seem like they might really draw the audience into the story. But as the various layers of the…

  • Like Crazy

    Like Crazy

    Like Crazy allegedly did not have a proper script, with director Drake Doremus instead opting to use a detailed outline and allowing the actors to improvise virtually all of the dialogue. This approach creates the film's greatest strengths as well as its most glaring weaknesses.

    There's a tangible sense of rawness to the film's presentation. The camera floats through the environments, the use of music is very subdued, and the editing makes the film feel like a collection of scenes…

  • Brooklyn

    Brooklyn

    The narrative in Brooklyn is one about liminality. Our protagonist, Eilis Lacey, transitions between youth and adulthood, old home and new home, and from loneliness to love. However, the film never quite escapes from that liminal space, making it feel like its formation is incomplete.

    Brooklyn makes Eilis immediately likeable, and in turn gives the audience a reason to care about her journey. She's caught between wanting to explore the possibilities of a new life while also wanting to stay…

  • Pokémon: The First Movie - Mewtwo Strikes Back

    Pokémon: The First Movie - Mewtwo Strikes Back

    While it may be a nostalgic classic for many fans who grew up with Pokémon, the first feature length film based on the series was lambasted by critics. But did it really deserve such harsh treatment?

    It's difficult to say precisely how much my own affection for this childhood movie of mine may cloud my judgement, but I honestly believe that Pokémon: The First Movie succeeds in a way that the majority of its near countless sequels don't. The reason?…

  • The Amazing Spider-Man 2

    The Amazing Spider-Man 2

    I used to be nicer to this movie, in the sense that I once said it had some good stuff in it. Having now seen it more than once, I realize that I shouldn't have been so courteous.

    The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was called a franchise killer by some when it was released, and it eventually did live up to that moniker. The reason it succeeded in murdering its own series is because this movie is a lumbering behemoth of…

  • Carol

    Carol

    ★★★★★

    Sometimes a film comes along that feels like a single piece of visual art that has somehow been painted over two hours. Carol is one of those films.

    Not only is Carol a beautiful work, but it's also one that takes full advantage of its medium to tell its story. What may be mistaken by some as slow pace is actually an extremely methodical approach to character development and structure, where each visual moment carries a significant amount of weight.…

  • The Amazing Spider-Man

    The Amazing Spider-Man

    Reviews of The Amazing Spider-Man have always perplexed me, because many of them criticize the movie to a certain extent just because it was a reboot. I don't think that's fair to hold against it. Rather, I criticize The Amazing Spider-Man for not being a good film.

    While certainly not the worst attempt at a superhero origin story, Marc Webb's film is one of the most uninspired, in that the development of its main character is not only unevenly paced,…

  • Alex of Venice

    Alex of Venice

    Alex of Venice is a film that breaks my heart. Not because it's spectacular, and not because it's terrible, but rather because it's just good enough to be disappointed that it didn't reach its full potential.

    Telling the story of Alex, a workaholic mother whose marriage and family life falls apart, the film starts off promising enough. George, her stay-at-home husband, is clearly dissatisfied with his life trajectory and disappears, leaving her to pick up the pieces. While the plot…