Wednesday, July 28, 2021

'Jungle Cruise' (2021) Movie Review

dwayne johnson and emily blunt on a boat
One thing I did not expect was for Disney’s Jungle Cruise, their latest cinematic adaptation of one of a classic theme park rides, to begin with an orchestral arrangement of a Metallica song. But here were are, and that’s as edgy as this movie ever gets.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

'Old' (2021) Movie Review

thomasin mckenzie and alex wolff
Does M. Night Shyamalan’s new movie Old work? That’s going to be a matter of some debate and the answer promises to vary viewer to viewer. One thing that is clear, however, is that, for good or ill, this is a big swing that mixes psychological thriller elements, hellish body horror, and arch family melodrama. All within a framework that plays like an extended Twilight Zone episode, wrapped in the director’s magnificent formal touch. It’s wild and all over the place, messy at times, but also ambitious as hell and compelling end to end.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

'All The Streets Are Silent' (2020) Movie Review

harold hunter documentary
Sometimes a movie starts and you know immediately it is 100% your jam. That is precisely what happened with All the Streets are Silent: The Convergence of Hip Hop and Skateboarding (1987-1997), the new documentary from Jeremy Elkin and Dana Brown, which held its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival. A love letter to both forms, the film tracks their parallel evolutions, from underground phenomena to mainstream staples, and ways in which, particularly in New York City, they collided and crossed over at a key juncture.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

'Hydra' (2021) Movie Review

Masanori Mimoto on the street
Hydra begins with every man’s worst nightmare, being killed at a urinal. Okay, maybe not, but it’s a definite concern and something to think about in the bathroom. It’s a hell of a way to kick off a movie, even if most of what follows fails to live up to the opening. Until the very end.

Monday, July 19, 2021

NBFF 2021: 'Slate' Movie Review

ahn ji-hye looking badass with a sword
Orphan Cha Yeon-hee (Ahn Ji-hye) has spent her entire life wanting to be a heroine. If you’re not a heroine, you’re useless and of no value to anyone. So she believes. In her late-20s, living an aimless life, she lands a role as a stunt double in an action movie. Only when she arrives on set, she’s transported to a parallel world where she must become an actual heroine. The only question is: is she ready to face actual danger and do what she must to become a real heroine? So goes Slate, the latest from Gang director Jo Ba-reun.

NBFF 2021: 'Swan Song' Movie Review

give udo kier the oscar you cowards
A retired hairdresser walking across a small town doesn’t sound like the most exciting basis for a movie. But when that hairdresser is Udo Kier, and he’s on his way to style a former client’s hair for her funeral, as is the case in writer/director Todd Stephens’ Swan Song, it becomes an odyssey of near-mythic proportions, both epic and intimate in scope. Topped off by one of the best performances of the year, this is funny and sweet, sad and joyous, simultaneously soul-crushing and life-affirming, and deeply, deeply human.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

'Pig' (2021) Movie Review

nicolas cage in pig the movie
Pig, a movie where Nicolas Cage tracks down his kidnapped pig through the seedy, cut-throat underbelly of the high-end Portland restaurant scene, is so, so much weirder than even that description makes it sound. Part truffle-centric revenge saga, part moody, introspective character study of a broken man trying to heal, it’s by turns delightful, mean-spirited, and moving, but always very, very odd and unlike anything else out there. Also, Nicolas Cage in a rundown deep woods shanty with a pig friend is just the most adorable thing.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

North Bend Film Festival 2021: 8 Movies To Watch

north bend film festival logo
Though it’s only been around a few years, the North Bend Film Festival has quickly become one of my favorite fests. Part of that affection is obviously geographic proximity. (It’s an easy drive from Seattle, so there’s minimal travel.) But it also takes place in an odd little hamlet nestled in the mountains. (North Bend is where Twin Peaks was filmed and you understand why when you experience the off-kilter oddness in person.) 

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

'Black Widow' (2021) Movie Review

scarlett johansson as black widow natasha romanoff
Ever wonder what Marvel Cinematic Universe staple Black Widow, aka Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), was up to betwixt the Wars Civil and Infinity? (And, you know, before the fate that ultimately befalls her in Avengers: Endgame?) As it turns out, she went on a wacky family vacation. Sort of. Sort of as in sort of wacky and sort of as in sort of family. Such is the tale told by her long-awaited first solo venture, Black Widow.

Monday, July 5, 2021

'Silat Warriors: Deed Of Death' (2021) Movie Review

silat warriors deed of death
Popularly, Muay Thai tends to get more love than Silat, another martial art native to Southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia, Malaysia, and the surrounding region. (As an example, there are like a dozen schools in the Seattle area that teach Muay Thai, but almost none with a curriculum that includes any Silat. Though Iko Uwais definitely holds it down, movie wise.) But the fighting style gets its due in Silat Warriors: Deed of Death (Geran), a low-to-no-budget actioner from director Areel Abu Bakar.

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

'The Forever Purge' (2021) Movie Review

creepy cowboy racist
The purest exploitation franchise currently going is back for another (perhaps final, perhaps not) ride, full of heavy-handed political allegory built atop a foundation of gratuitous violence. Never one for subtlety, we expect and receive nothing less from The Forever Purge. You won’t find any unexpected elements, but fans of these films will find much to enjoy.

Friday, June 25, 2021

'Halloween Kills' Trailer: Evil Dies Tonight, But Probably Not

michael myers in flames
Any good slasher franchise, like it’s evil centerpiece, is going to be damn near impossible to kill. Such is the case with both Michael Myers and the Halloween saga which he spawned. Like every movie scheduled for in 2020, the latest installment, Halloween Kills, was delayed thanks to COVID-19. But Blumhouse wants to remind us it is still stalking toward theaters and released this awesome new trailer.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

'F9' (2021) Movie Review

f9 movie poster
F9, yes, the ninth installment of everyone’s favorite family-centric saga of street-racers-turned-international-agents-of-espionage, is somehow both exactly as ridiculous as expected and even sillier than anticipated. This makes the movie simultaneously ludicrous over-the-top escapism and tediously overwrought nonsense drama. It’s a strange duality. We’ve come so far from the days of hijacking shipments of DVD players.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

'Werewolves Within' (2021) Movie Review

sam richardson with two axes
Don’t you hate it when you move to a small town for work and it turns out there are werewolves on the loose? Yeah, that sucks. Unless you’re watching Werewolves Within, the latest from director Josh Ruben (Scare Me). An adaptation of a video game I’ve never heard of, Ruben and writer Mishna Wolff mix scares and laughs in a way that many attempts to do so fail to achieve. Playing like a horror whodunnit, the result is something akin to a lycanthrope take on Clue or Agatha Christie with monsters. (Literal monsters, not the metaphorical human variety, though the film has plenty of those as well.) It’s one of the most fun, entertaining movies to come out this year, and easily a top-tier video game movie.

Monday, June 21, 2021

'Titane' Trailer: The First Look At Julia Ducournau's New Thriller

child in a medical halo
Julia Ducournau’s Raw isn’t just one of the best debuts of the past few years, it’s straight up one of the best movies of the last decade. So, of course, when we hear tell of a new movie from the French director, our ears perk up. NEON just released the trailer for her follow up, Titane, about a long-lost child who all of a sudden returns to the world. But I can’t help but think this also looks a bit like a nightmare Fast & Furious movie. And, sure, what the hell. Check it out below.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

'Pig' Trailer: Nicolas Cage Hunts For His Kidnapped Pig. Yes This Is A Real Movie

nicolas cage pig movie
In the upcoming thriller Pig, Nicolas Cage plays a hermit living in the woods who goes on a revenge-fueled hunt for his kidnapped truffle pig. Did I write this movie? I don’t remember doing so, but it sounds like something I would do. Regardless, here is the first Pig trailer. Enjoy.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

'Gaia' (2021) Movie Review

muddy man in the wilderness
Mushrooms are creepy as hell. We got a bit of that earlier this year with Ben Wheatley’s In the Earth, and to further drive that point home, there’s now South African director Jaco Bouwer’s Gaia. The two films play like companion pieces of slow-burn existential environmental horror, and this offers another a tense, moody narrative that’s part creature feature, part mediation on nature, technology, and our role in the world.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

'Akilla's Escape' (2020) Movie Review

saul williams
One thing movies have taught us is that, once you decide to leave the criminal lifestyle behind, you’re battle is only partially over. Such is the case of the protagonist in Charles Officer’s crime drama Akilla’s Escape, a noir-inspired tale of one man contending with generational cycles of violence, his own past, and a changing world. Not always as developed or fleshed out as it could be, the film is nonetheless gorgeous to look at and narratively captivating.

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

'The Amusement Park' (2021) Movie Review

george romero's amusement park
When you think you’re going to get a straightforward educational video but you hire George Romero for the project and wind up instead with a hellish nightmare. That’s exactly how The Amusement Park came into existence. And it is truly a demented feel-bad artifact.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

'Cruella' (2021) Movie Review

emma stone in cruella
The first hour of Cruella, Disney’s latest attempt to retcon an iconic villain from one of their classic animated films into a sympathetic character, is actually pretty fun. Full of over-the-top costumes, elaborately staged heists, and adorable puppers, it’s a campy Goodfellas by way of The Favourite. (Favourite scribe Tony McNamara worked on the script, so that makes a great deal of sense.) It’s energetic, visually arresting, and, despite being completely unnecessary and awkwardly forced, does a marginal enough job of humanizing Cruella de Vil, the two-toned, dog-hating antagonist from 101 Dalmatians.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

'Last Night In Soho' Trailer: Edgar Wright Returns With A Psychological Horror Film

thomasin mckenzie anya taylor joy
Okay, that’s how you use a slowed-down maudlin version of a well-known popular song in a movie trailer. Well played, Edgar Wright, well played. This is, of course, in reference to the use of the use of Petula Clark’s “Downtown” in this trailer for his upcoming 1960s-set horror movie, Last Night in Soho. Which looks like a fine time. Check it out below.

'Gunpowder Milkshake' Trailer: Karen Gillan Teams Up With A Crazy Cast For Action And Revenge

karen gillan with a gun and child in an elevator
Crazy action, a stacked cast, revenge, a long-lost parent…yeah, I’m in. If any of that sounds good to you, you’ll probably want to check out this trailer for Netflix’s upcoming Gunpowder Milkshake, which has all of that and more.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

'Sound Of Violence' (2021) Movie Review

jasmin savoy brown horror movie
As a child, Alexis (Jasmin Savoy Brown) witnesses her recently-returned-home-from-war father murder the rest of the family. Through this act of brutality, she regains her lost hearing, but experiences something strange as well. It awakens synesthesia in her—a neurological condition where one sense triggers another, in this case certain sounds beget vivid, colorful visuals. Sound of Violence picks up with Alexis as she ages and pursues a career in music, chasing the sensations sounds bring through more extreme measures, leading her down increasingly violent, brutal paths.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

'Seance' (2021) Movie Review

suki waterhouse in a horror movie
As a filmmaker, Simon Barrett is best known for his collaborations with director Adam Wingard (Godzilla vs. Kong). The duo teamed up for You’re Next and The Guest, among others. Now, as so often happens, the writer takes his turn in the big chair, and the result is Seance, a solid if unspectacular debut that attempts to play with horror conventions to mixed results.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

'Spiral' (2021) Movie Review

spiral chris rock
The Saw movies built a following on intricate murder contraptions, explicit gore, and a mastermind of death with a flair for the dramatic. It’s been a few years since the last installment, and with a primary antagonist who’s dead, it’s tricky to continue a horror franchise. But not impossible. In walks Spiral, formerly Spiral: From the Book of Saw. Director Darren Lynn Bousman, who helmed chapters two through four, returns with a film that, while technically a sequel, seeks to reboot things and take the narrative in a new direction. 

Monday, May 10, 2021

'Venom: Let There Be Carnage' Trailer: Yes, This Movie Is Really Happening

tom hardy surprised by this
What is there to say about Venom? In reality, it’s not good, but it is, however, a ton of fun to watch, mostly for Tom Hardy having an insane meltdown and giving a completely bonkers performance. I said I could Hardy banter with himself for hours, and, thanks to this trailer for Venom: Let There Be Carnage proving that the sequel actually exists, I may have to make good on my promise.

Friday, May 7, 2021

'Fried Barry' (2020) Movie Review

In the end, I’m not entirely sure what to make of South African oddity Fried Barry. Leaping boundaries of horror, science fiction, and gritty realism, among others, it’s certainly a wild, chaotic, immersive ride. And one I’m glad I had the opportunity to watch. I think. It’s the kind of cinematic madness that the Fantasia International Film Festival is tailor made for.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

'Wrath Of Man' (2021) Movie Review

jason statham in a jason statham pose
Guy Ritchie’s bank robbery actioner, Wrath of Man, has a protagonist named H (Jason Statham) and supporting players named things like Bullet (Holt McCallany), Sticky John, and Boy Sweat Dave (Josh Hartnett). It aims at being biblical in its execution of one man’s revenge. It’s stocked exclusively with vile, reprehensible, mean-spirited characters. And it’s so overwrought and overblown it watches like a caricature of the shitty Heat knock off it wants to be. So, in short, while a messy, it’s also kind of fun, unintentionally so most of the time. It’s a real mixed bag.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

'The Paper Tigers' (2020) Movie Review

I’ve been tracking the progress of writer/director Bao Tran’s The Paper Tigers for a while now. There weirdly aren’t many indie Kung Fu movies produced in Seattle, so when one does happen, you’re damn right it has my attention. After a long journey, the film finally premiered at the Fantasia International Film Festival over the weekend, and doesn’t disappoint when it comes to delivering humor, heart, and face-kicking.

Friday, April 30, 2021

'Cliff Walkers' (2021) Movie Review

spy in the snow
Director Zhang Yimou is best known for his sweeping historical epics, like Hero and House of Flying Daggers, but it turns out he also has a bit of espionage in his DNA. His latest film, Cliff Walkers, does take place in a certain bygone era, though a much more recent one. And instead of swords and lush period costumes, he delivers his first taut, chilly spy thriller, one full of suspense, betrayal, treachery, and the usual slick execution and eye for detail one expects from him.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

'Cross The Line' (2020) Movie Review

mario casas
Meek and mild-mannered, Dani (Mario Casas), the lead of Spanish director David Victori’s existential thriller, Cross the Line (No Mataras), is the kind of character who doesn’t act. The world, those around him, and surrounding circumstances simply push him forward. He cares for his elderly father, but when the old man passes away, his sister, Laura (Elisabeth Larena), books him an around-the-world trip, something he always dreamed of. The eve of his departure, a chance encounter with a wild tattoo artist, Mila (Milena Smit), leads to a violent encounter with deadly consequences and deep wounds. 

Monday, April 26, 2021

Here Are The 2021 Oscar Winners

frances mdcormand
Despite the common misconception, a crap-ton of new movies came out in 2020. A global pandemic can’t stop Hollywood, just delay things over and over again. And in that spirit, the 93rd Academy Awards were given out last year and here is a list of the winners.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

'Boys From County Hell' (2020) Movie Review

vampire skull horror movie
Don’t you hate it when you inadvertently wake up an ancient vampire and unleash his wrath upon your small Irish town? The characters in Chris Baugh’s Boys From County Hell certainly do. 

Monday, April 19, 2021

'We Broke Up' (2021) Movie Review

aya cash william jackson harper
There’s that messy moment at the end of a long-term relationship, after you break up but before you tell people. You kiss, cry, fight, fuck, fight more. That’s the moment We Broke Up, a new romantic comedy from writer/director Jeff Rosenberg and co-writer Laura Jacqmin, focuses on. The result is a charming, if slight entry into the rom-com fray.

'Shang-Chi And The Legend Of Ten Rings' Trailer: Meet Marvel's Newest Badass

simu liu shang-chi and the legend of ten rings
Marvel had big plans for 2020, as usual, but COVID-19 derailed most of those. While fans made due with their episodic Disney+ output, now that theaters are starting to open back up, prepare for the damn to burst. (The fourth quarter of 2021 is an insane glut of every big movie the pandemic delayed; it’s a bit overwhelming.) Though the release has been reshuffled a few times, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings arrives in September, and there’s this new trailer and poster to prove it. 

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

'F9' Trailer: Beefy Dudes, Magnet Cars, Family, And A Flying Pontiac Fiero

vin diesel looking beefy
A magnet car, a jet being taken out by a truck, beefy dudes brawling, talk of family, a long-dead character brought back to life, a flying Pontiac Fiero? All of this taken together can only mean one thing: there’s a new F9 trailer and it’s even more bonkers than you thought.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

'Jakob's Wife' (2021) Movie Review

barbara crampton looking badass
Jakob’s Wife has it all. Barbara Crampton. Larry Fessenden. Priests. Vampires. Rats. Splatter. The line, “I’m going to tongue fuck a hole in your neck until I puke blood.” Concrete Blonde. You know, all the best horror things. A bloody, energetic genre throwback, the latest from Travis Stevens (The Girl on the Third Floor) mixes in humor amongst the body bags and the result is a damn fine time.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

'Honeydew' (2021) Movie Review

cannibal horror movie
The various culture clashes between city dwellers and rural folks has been responsible for more horror movie trauma than just about any set up. Such is the basis for Devereaux Milburn’s Honeydew, and while there are a few bits of intrigue and interest, there’s not much to recommend. It quickly becomes tedious, winds up overlong, and squanders the most appealing elements.

'Those Who Wish Me Dead' Trailer: Angelina Jolie Fights Fire And Assassins

angelina jolie fights fire
After beginning his career as a bit-part actor, Taylor Sheridan made his name penning a string of bleak, neo-frontier, pseudo-westerns set in the modern age. Movie like Hell or High Water and Sicario. Jumping to the director’s chair, his output remains tonally and thematically similar thanks to the likes of Wind River. Judging by this trailer, his latest, an adaptation of Michael Kortya’s novel Those Who Wish Me Dead, trods familiar territory. But if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and this looks like a movie we will be very, very into.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

'Godzilla Vs. Kong' (2021) Movie Review

godzilla vs kong
With a movie with a title like Godzilla vs. Kong I only require a few simple things: Godzilla, King Kong, and Godzilla fighting King Kong. That’s is. Anything else is just window dressing. Director Adam Wingard (The GuestYou’re Next) knows this well and delivers plenty of monkey-punching-lizard action. And that rules. That’s all anyone really needs or wants to know. 

Friday, March 26, 2021

'The Suicide Squad' Trailer: We're All Going To Die

the suicide squad margot robbie
Come for the giant man-shark ripping a dude in half, stay for the massive kaiju starfish rampaging through a city. Such is the first trailer for James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad. Take a look for yourself below. 

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Ben Wheatley's 'In The Earth' Trailer Looks Like Horror Nightmare Fuel

ben wheatley in the earth

Now this is what we’re talking about. Ben Wheatley is at his best when directing hellish hallucinatory nightmares, and from this trailer for his latest, In the Earth, as well as early buzz from folks who caught it at Sundance, this should fit in snugly in between the likes of Kill List and A Field in England in his filmography. In short, this looks rad and we can’t wait. Take a look for yourself.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

'Nobody' (2021) Movie Review

odenkirk kitty cat
I love it when a movie I’m super excited about turns out to be even more awesome than I hoped. Such is the case with Nobody, which somehow manages to cast Bob Odenkirk in a whole new light, that of a badass action movie star. It’s gleefully violent, funny and strange, and a total high-paced blast end to end. 

Monday, March 15, 2021

The 2021 Oscar Nominees Are Here

franc├ęs mcdormand in nomadland
It’s been quite a year, but that doesn’t mean the Oscars aren’t happening. Sure, the 93rd Academy Awards have been delayed quite a bit, but they’re still happening. As if to prove this point, the nominations came out this morning for those inclined to discuss and dissect. 

Friday, March 12, 2021

'The Paper Tigers' Trailer Delivers Humor, Heart, And Face Kicking

paper tigers kung fu movie
A Seattle-produced martial arts movie? You have my attention. A Seattle-produced martial arts movie about dudes who are old and out of shape and not very good at martial arts anymore? Yeah, that’s the sweet spot right there. Such is the case of Tran Quoc Bao’s The Paper Tigers. After a festival run last year, Well Go USA is set to give the film a proper release and they released this new trailer to pump up the excitement.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

'Russian Raid' (2021) Movie Review

russian action movie
It’s been said that the craziest action movies from around the globe come from the places with the least regulation, thus the most freedom for performers to do insane things that are probably way, way too dangerous to actually attempt. Whether or not that’s true, there’s clearly some stuff going on in Russia right now. Last year brought us Why Don’t You Just Die! and because there’s always room for more, now we have Russian Raid to gawk at and kick us in the face. 

Friday, March 5, 2021

'Sentinelle' (2021) Movie Review

olga kurylenko knife
Mainstream American cinema, and by that I mean Hollywood, has largely abandoned the gritty, workmanlike mid-tier R-rated action films that had their heyday in the 1980s. It still exists, plenty of it, but it has primarily been relegated to the DTV market and indie productions. However, in Europe, especially France and Spain is seems, the genre is alive and kicking. There are a crap ton of recent additions on Netflix, and that includes Julien Leclercq’s latest revenge-tinged action thriller, Sentinelle

Thursday, March 4, 2021

'Lucky' (2020) Movie Review

Brea Grant Horror Movie
Self-help writer May (Brea Grant) isn’t caught in a tried and true time-loop, but she may as well be. Every night, a masked man breaks into her house and tries to kill her. She fights him off, he disappears, the cops show up. Every night. Over time, the terrifying home invasion gives way to frustration and eventually becomes rote, routine as she tries to figure out what the hell is going on and why no one, including her husband, Ted (Dhruv Uday Singh), seems concerned by this. Such is life in director Natasha Kermani’s horror thriller Lucky.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Zack Snyder's 'Army Of The Dead' Trailer Executes A Heist In Zombified Las Vegas

dave bautista and friends
A heist movie, but make it zombies. I’ve heard much worse ideas, and that’s the basic premise behind Zack Snyder’s upcoming Netflix movie, Army of the Dead. While this first trailer doesn’t reveal much, it teases action, the undead, and the myriad problems that arise when those two elements collide. In short, it looks like a fine time. Check it out below.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

'Dons Of Disco' (2018) Movie Review

When you hear the phrase “lip-synching scandal,” you can be forgiven for immediately thinking of Milli Vanilli. That’s obviously the highest profile incident, but it’s also not the only public kerfuffle about pop sensations not singing their own songs. Jonathan Sutak’s new documentary, Dons of Disco, rectifies that situation, diving deep into the epic—and I do mean epic, as things get truly nuts along the way—saga of Italian singer Den Harrow.