Thursday, April 21, 2022

'The Northman' (2022) Movie Review

Alexander Skarsgard with a wolf skin on his head.

I may not be as entirely in love with The Northman as many, though I do think it’s quite good. I am, however, definitely in love with the fact that after The Witch and The Lighthouse, which has budgets of approximately $5 and $11 million respectively, someone gave Robert Eggers a shit-ton of money (reportedly in the neighborhood of $90 million) to direct a bonkers-ass, borderline-hallucinatory Viking epic. And damn does he ever go for broke. It’s strange and esoteric and features both a White-Walker-looking Valkyrie with braces and Bjork playing a creepy no-eyed witch to provide a bit of context. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

'The Unbearable Weight Of Massive Talent' (2022) Movie Review

Nicolas Cage sunbathing in a bathrobe
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent has one hell of a hook, that’s for sure. Academy Award-winner Nicolas Cage plays a version of himself, hired by a rich super fan to appear at his birthday party. It turns out the fan is also an international drug dealer, and the CIA enlists Cage’s help to take him down. With a concept as undeniably intriguing as this, the question arises: Can they pull it off? Is it a great idea with nothing to back it up? Does it run out of steam when the initial novelty wears off? These problems have derailed many fantastic concepts, but It’s nice to report this mostly hits the mark and is a damn entertaining time.

SIFF 2022: 'Skate Dreams' Movie Review

woman skateboarding
Skateboarding has almost always been a boy’s club. I grew up skating in the ‘80s and almost never saw a female skateboarder outside of a vanishingly rare photo in skate magazines. By the ‘90s when I was in high school a lot of teams had a token female skater and my hometown had a clique of three or four women who would show up semi-regularly at skate spots. (Parks in every town weren’t a thing yet.) Of my core crew of four, there was one woman, but for the most part, she was the only one everywhere we went. But in recent years, women’s skateboarding has exploded in popularity and become the fastest growing demographic in the sport. Jessica Edwards’ documentary, Skate Dreams, tracks that ascent in the in the days leading up to skateboarding becoming an Olympic sport.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

SIFF 2022: 'Speak No Evil' Movie Review

couple screaming in a volvo
Don’t talk to strangers. It’s a lesson we learn as kids and it’s one horror movies take great pains to teach us again and again and again. You think you’re going to make new friends, but no, only bad things will happen. Case in point, Danish writer/director Christian Tafdrup’s Speak No Evil, a suspenseful tale of palpable discomfort and eroding social niceties that winds up vicious, nasty, and really, really mean.

Monday, April 18, 2022

SIFF 2022: 'Warm Blood' Capsule Review

woman looking in a dirty mirror
Gritty, grainy, and based on the diary of a teen runaway, Rick Charnoski’s debut, Warm Blood, paints an immersive, impressionistic portrait. A scuffed-up, messy glimpse at places people often look away from, the film tracks Red (Haley Isaacson) as she returns to a seedy Modesto, California in the late-1980s searching for her father. 

Thursday, April 14, 2022

'Crimes Of The Future' Trailer: David Cronenberg Gets Back To His Body Horror Roots

man with ears on face
Add the name Cronenberg to any movie and you have our undivided attention. Especially when it’s familial patriarch David Cronenberg. And especially especially when the film in question turns out to be a sci-fi-twinged body-horror romp. Such is the case with this first teaser trailer for his latest outing, Crimes of the Future. Check it out below, it has all the uncomfortable squeamishness one could hope for.

Friday, April 1, 2022

'Bull' (2021) Movie Review

Neil Maskell
Neil Maskell (Kill List) may not look like a typical cinematic badass, he just looks like a normal dude you’d pass on the street and not give a second thought. But holy hell, people in movies need to stop messing with him because he will straight up wreck them and be terrifying as hell in the process. Case in point, Paul Andrew Williams’ revenge thriller Bull. 

'The Contractor' (2022) Movie Review

chris pine with a gun
The Contractor is fine, just fine. Director Tarik Saleh and writer J.P. Davis deliver precisely the airport-dad-novel-come-to-life story it promises. Chris Pine turns in strong central performance that grounds the slick Bourne-light premise and execution. And the film has aims to say something about how America treats its military veterans that, while clunky and heavy-handed, is admirable and earnest. It’s fine, just fine, which is both the best and worst one can say about the film. This fact also makes it imminently forgettable.