• A Most Violent Year

    A Most Violent Year

    ★★★★★

    When I heard that A Most Violent Year was so incredible that it earned comparisons to The Godfather, I truly thought that sentiment had to be overblown. I mean, it's the fucking GODFATHER. But about a third of the way through, the comparison already felt justified on an intellectual level. By the end, I was squealing with the same delight my first watch of The Godfather, Part II caused. It's an instant classic in the sense that it's original, fresh…

  • Dear White People

    Dear White People

    ★★★★

    As a high-achieving black high school student who could legitimately mark the "Multi-racial" box on the question about race/ethnicity, I had my pick of prestigious colleges. I didn't choose the school highest on the US News and Report rankings. Instead, I picked the school where my version of blackness would be most readily accepted. At the Ivy League school I visited, I was the only black person I saw outside of the airport during my two day stay. At another…

  • Charlie Countryman

    Charlie Countryman

    ★★½

    Well there's certainly a lot of movie here. Perhaps too much. Foreign gangsters, fated romance, conversations with ghosts, and drug induced adventures. It's extremely self-indulgent - someone was clearly working out some grief and playing into their wildest fantasies to achieve personal catharsis. The cast is an intriguing mix of former child stars Evan Rachel Wood, Shia LaBeouf, a very brief appearance from one of my favorites Aubrey Plaza, mixed with the wasted talents of veterans Mads Mikkelsen, Rupert Grint,…

  • Very Good Girls

    Very Good Girls

    ★★½

    I came to this movie because of the talented cast. I hoped for a heartfelt story about teenage girls' friendships, first love, and heartbreak but I wish I had read more about it first before diving in. What a boring and inept film. Let's see what it has going for it - completely unbelievable characters, contrived dramatic scenarios, dumb casting, and a lack of empathy. The plot literally revolves around two childhood friends who want to lose their virginity to…

  • Not Suitable For Children

    Not Suitable For Children

    ★★★

    For a fairly formulaic romantic comedy, Not Suitable for Children surprised and disappointed me in almost equal measure. True Blood star Ryan Kwanten plays Jonah, an Australian slacker who tries to impregnate someone after being diagnosed with testicular cancer and failed attempts to freeze his sperm. For three weeks, he desperately tries to seduce and convince the women of his life and complete strangers to be the mother of his child. The slew of women include his ex-girlfriend, his fuck…

  • The Book of Life

    The Book of Life

    ★★★½

    The Book of Life is a legend told by a museum tour guide about a town in Mexico called San Angel. There are two after life worlds each with its own god - La Muerte rules the Land of the Remembered (sort of like heaven) and Xibalba rules the Land of the Forgotten. Since these two gods are bored and have a co-dependent love/hate relationship, they decide to wager their right to rule over the Land of the Remembered on…

  • The Skeleton Twins

    The Skeleton Twins

    ★★★★½

    I don't think enough films explore the bonds between siblings. So often it's romantic or parent-child relationships. I'm not a twin, but I have a little brother close in age to me and we both struggle with mental illness. Growing up, we had a pretty typical sibling rivalry, and there were times when I told anyone who would listen how much I hated him. Something my mom and my 8th grade teacher said has resonated with me all this time…

  • The Double

    The Double

    ★★★½

    Richard Ayoade's follow-up to the intriguing coming-of-age dramedy Submarine is the visually appealing and darkly humorous The Double. The aesthetic is drab, muted, and lifeless, sort of like the regressive dystopian future of Visioneers or a monochrome Terry Gilliam film. It's quite cinematic in some of the better moments of the film and it made me laugh (more like snicker) a bit, but toward the end it felt dramatically inert.

    Jesse Eisenberg plays human doormat Simon James, a young office…

  • Filth

    Filth

    ★★½

    I really wanted to have fun with Filth, but the cynicism and mind fuckery eventually wore me down. James McAvoy plays Bruce Robertson, a detective in Edinburgh who wants a promotion to Detective Inspector by any means necessary. An opportunity to put himself in a position to win the promotion comes along when he's asked to investigate the murder of a Japanese student. He also puts his co-workers through over the top trials he calls "the games" which are basically…

  • Addicted

    Addicted

    ★★

    When I heard there would be an entire film dedicated to exploring a black woman's sexuality, I was cautiously excited. Unfortunately, Addicted, based on one of Zane's many popular erotic novels, chooses to moralize sex after over an hour of screen time spent celebrating it. Zoe Reynard, played by Sharon Leal, runs her own successful contemporary art management company. Besides her sufficiently perfect career, she also has the perfect architect husband Jason played by the gorgeous Boris Kodjoe, and two…

  • Gone Girl

    Gone Girl

    ★★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    Gillian Flynn's novel is translated very faithfully to the screen by her own hand and David Fincher's direction. They make a great team, bringing such a twisted story of an unhealthy marriage to life. Well, "life" might be inaccurate. It feels dead inside. The movie puts a lot of distance between the audience and the story, creating an atmosphere of impending doom. Amy's diary entries are read aloud as chilling and dispassionate voiceovers by Rosamund Pike as we learn that…

  • I Give It a Year

    I Give It a Year

    ★★★★

    Film #100 of The December Challenge 2013

    I made it the end of the December project 2013! Just barely!!!

    I love refreshing takes on the romantic comedy genre and I Give it a Year does just enough to be in that category. By throwing in a bunch of rom com clichés and very loudly announcing them, it serves as a slightly subversive take without completely breaking free of the genre's functions. It tells the story of a couple who had…