Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Fantasia 2019: 'Master Z: Ip Man Legacy' Movie Review


This is an updated version of an earlier review.

This will surprise absolutely no one, but Yuen Woo-ping can stage the hell out of a fight. The guy is a legend for good reason. And he displays this particular skill front and center in his latest directorial effort, Master Z: Ip Man Legacy, which features choreography on par with some of his best. Inventive and thrilling, it runs the gamut from incredibly technical martial arts acumen to high-flying wire artistry that calls to mind his work on Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

'Into The Ashes' (2019) Movie Review


Sometimes, on paper, a movie has all the ingredients necessary for success, but for one reason or another—or many—just doesn’t work. Such is the case with writer/director Aaron Harvey’s Into the Ashes. It contains most of my favorite cinematic things—Frank Grillo, violence, a grim revenge tale—but other issues bog down the film and, it brings me no pleasure to report, it simply isn’t very good.

Monday, July 15, 2019

'Luz' (2018) Movie Review


The first thing that stands out in Tilman Singer’s eerie, esoteric horror thriller Luz is the sound. It begins with oppressive, ominous notes, droning synth tones, creaking doors. At times over the course of a sparse 70-minute runtime, layered dialogue, a hypnotic prog-heavy score, and brooding pitched noise builds to a nightmarish, overwhelming cacophony. 

Fantasia 2019: 'The Deeper You Dig' Movie Review

a woman sits on a log while her dead daughter hovers in the background

During the credits of The Deeper You Dig the phrase, “An Adams Family Film” (not Addams Family) pops up on screen. And sure, it’s good for a chuckle, but it’s also an accurate representation of what you’re about to see. It’s nothing if not a family affair. Written and directed by John Adams and Toby Poser, the couple also star in two of the three main roles. The third? Filled by their daughter, Zelda Adams.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Fantasia 2019: 'Sadako' Movie Review

big eyed woman and a ghost
(C)2019 "Sadako" Film Partners

In 1998, with Ringu, Hideo Nakata helped kick off an American obsession with Japanese horror that continued to wield a heavy influence through the 2000s. Now, two decades, multiple sequels and remakes, and countless knock-offs down the line, the director returns to that well yet again. The latest chapter, Sadako, maintains the standard creepy, atmospheric vibe at the same time it updates the franchise mythology for a YouTube, anything-for-clicks generation. I mean, it’s hard to make a killer VHS tape scary in a day and age when no one even has a VCR, right?

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

'Trespassers' (2019) Movie Review

skull masked man

Home invasions are a staple of horror, and while it offers a largely paint-by-numbers approach, Trespassers delivers a passable, if familiar addition to the subgenre. It hits all the markers: dysfunctional couples, a remote setting, questionable decision making; drugs, booze, and assholery abound. There are major logical jumps and a few narratively convenient oversights, but mean-spirited carnage and strong female protagonists make it a compelling watch.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Fantasia Festival 2019: 6 Films We've Already Seen


pegasus, space cat, moon, and pug in a spaceship.

For the first time I have the opportunity to cover the Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal. Well, sort of. I’m covering it remotely, which is cool in one regard, because, comprised almost entirely of genre movies, it skews right into my wheelhouse. It’s one of the big film festivals I’ve most wanted to check out in my time on this beat, and while I won’t get to be there, boots on the ground, to hang out with a bunch of fine folks in person, I still have the chance to check out a ton of movies I’m rather jazzed to watch.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

'Knives Out' Trailer: Rian Johnson Returns With A Throwback Murder Mystery

toni collette makes a face in front of a wall of knives

I’m definitely in the camp that Star Wars: The Last Jedi is great, and I love that long ago, far, far away galaxy. That said, I’m happy director Rian Johnson still takes the time to make twisty, clever, albeit smaller genre movies. Especially his upcoming murder mystery Knives Out. It’s one of my most-anticipated movies of the year, and this first trailer does nothing to dissuade my excitement.

Monday, July 1, 2019

'Spider-Man: Far From Home' (2019) Movie Review

spider-man does spider-man things

Just a heads up: talking about Spider-Man: Far from Home necessitates discussion of key events from Avengers: Infinity War. So, be warned if you’re one of the five people on Earth who hasn’t watched that particular motion picture yet.

If Avengers: Endgame felt like an end, like the closing of a door, Spider-Man: Far from Home plays almost like an epilogue at the end of a novel. It finds characters dealing with the fallout and contending with previous events. Time has passed, but even from the opening scene, the specter of loss looms large over the entire film.