Monday, May 16, 2022

'Shark Bait' (2022) Movie Review

three people screaming on a jet ski
A group of college friends on a drunken spring break excursion “borrow” a pair of jet skis for a fun, alcohol-fueled jaunt into unfamiliar waters where no one knows they’re going. What can go possibly go wrong? The answer in Shark Bait, the latest from director James Nunn (One Shot), is everything. They have an accident, their transportation breaks down, and, of course, sharks.

Friday, May 6, 2022

'Decision To Leave' Trailer: Park Chan-Wook's Latest Brings The Mood And Mystery

a woman watches a man stare out a window
UPDATE: We've now added a full trailer for Decision to Leave as well as two additional clips. Find them down below.

ORIGINAL POST: I
n this house we celebrate Park Chan-wook. The South Korean director has helmed a ton of masterpieces and films that rank among our all-time favorites. (Oldboy, The Handmaiden, Stoker, to name a few.) So, of course, we’re excited anytime he has a new movie coming out. His next, Decision to Leave,  premieres at Cannes this month and there’s a brief, esoteric trailer to get us pumped up.

Thursday, May 5, 2022

'Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness' (2022) Movie Review

doctor strange shooting fire
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness now has the distinction of being my least favorite chapter of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s a plodding eyesore overflowing with shallow expository dialogue in lieu of narrative development. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) continues to be the least interesting Avenger, and even another strong performance from Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch can’t save the day. And the one moment I really enjoy, admittedly for petty personal reasons, I can’t talk about because it’s a major spoiler.

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

The Bone Bat Comedy Of Horrors Film Festival Returns For 2022, Weird And Wild As Ever

skeletons driving a car
Well, it’s that time of year again in Seattle. Spring is in full swing, the weather’s getting better, so what other decision is there than to spend a (potentially) gorgeous day inside in a dark-ass movie theater watching horror movies? If that sounds like a damn fine time, the Bone Bat Comedy of Horrors film festival is back for their first in-person gathering since, you know, the world came to a screeching halt…for some reason that escapes me at the moment. (Just kidding, it was a global plague.)

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.

Monday, March 28, 2022

The 2022 Oscar Winners

will smith after slapping chris rock
So, the Oscars were last night. That happened. As usual, I like some of the choices, hate others, and haven’t seen most of the movie if I’m being honest. I’m sure they’re lovely and as good as people say, but year by year, decreasing exponentially, I find I have less and less interest in the Academy Awards. I’m not trying to sound cool, but there are thousands of other movies I’d rather watch. That’s all. 

Thursday, March 10, 2022

'Gold' (2022) Movie Review

zac efron looks grim
To call writer/director (and actor) Anthony Hayes’ Gold minimal is a bit of a stretch. Minimal is an overstatement. There are seven acting credits. Of those seven, two are the same person playing different roles. Three appear on screen for one scene each. Of those three, one is a baby and another is a woman with no lines. The bulk of the movie is Zac Efron alone in a post-apocalyptic desert gradually losing his mind, and all things considered, Hayes squeezes a great deal out of this arrangement. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

'Offseason' (2022) Movie Review

offseason horror movie poster
Going on vacation is bad. Horror movies have taught us that when you go on a trip designed for leisure, terrible things happen—monsters, murder, torture, you name it, it will befall you on vacation. Something even worse, however, may be going to an idyllic small town vacation community during the down part of the year. Do that and, well, you’re absolutely boned. Such is the core conceit of Mickey Keating’s new film Offseason. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

'The Exorcism Of God' (2022) Movie Review

screaming bloody priest
Exorcism movies get overplayed for sure, but there’s a good reason for that: When they hit, they tap into a primal, inherent fear, playing on themes of control, faith, and religion that shake people deep, deep down, even non-believers. Director Alejandro Hidalgo’s The Exorcism of God doesn’t entirely land in this regard, but despite leaning on familiar tropes, it has unique flourishes and goes crazy enough that it winds up being pretty awesome and a damn entertaining watch.

Thursday, March 3, 2022

'Asking For It' (2022) Movie Review

feminist girl gang
Some films approach social issues with nuance and insight, offering carefully crafted critiques that address difficult problems through close examination and intimate conversation. Writer/director Eamon O’Rourke’s debut feature, Asking For It, is not one of these movies. No, this movie is as sharp as a sledgehammer, smashing through walls and breaking in doors with a scream and a Molotov cocktail. A toxic-masculinity-skewering saga of feminist retribution, at times this approach is incredibly effective, carried much of the way by a fantastic cast, while in others it’s clunky and ham-fisted.

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

'The Batman' (2022) Movie Review

robert pattinson as the batman
If Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight movies were a tad too upbeat, festive, short, and well-lit for you, don’t worry The Batman is here to rectify all that. Directed by Matt Reeves (Dawn and War for the Planet of the Apes), the latest tale of Gotham’s Caped Crusader is a lot of movie—in terms of runtime, in terms of storylines, in terms of plot, and brooding, and fistfights, and set pieces, and… Some of which works well, some of which never comes together in a satisfying way.

Friday, February 25, 2022

'Gasoline Alley' (2022) Movie Review

grizzled devon sawa
Gasoline Alley is, if we’re being honest, not great. It has script issues, up and down acting in a number of roles, and a handful of other problems. But at its center there’s Devon Sawa as a grizzled ex-con tattoo artist accused of a crime he didn’t commit chain smoking, driving muscle cars, and tough-guy-quipping his way through the seedy underbelly back rooms of Hollywood. If nothing else, that makes it compelling enough to be watchable. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

'Studio 666' (2022) Movie Review

studio 666 horror movie poster
Studio 666 was probably a movie that was a total blast to make. Starring Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Foo Fighters, and based on an idea from frontman Dave Grohl, this goofy horror-comedy definitely falls into the category of musical vanity project. While it does have a few charms, and plenty of gore and splatter, this is one primarily for Foo fans. Though, to be fair, it is much more watchable and entertaining than most similar attempts by rockers trying to become filmmakers.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

'The Burning Sea' (2021) Movie Review

OMG!
With 2015’s The Wave and it’s 2018 sequel The Quake, Norway turned in two of the best disaster movies of the last decade, if not longer. It’s a feat made even more impressive that they both cost around $6 million and pulled off spectacle on a scale Hollywood hasn’t achieved recently with exponentially more money. Much of the creative team, including Quake director John Andreas Anderson, and writer Harald Rosenlow-Eeg, who penned the previous two films, are back with a new cinematic catastrophe, The Burning Sea.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

'Seobok' (2021) Movie Review

gong you with a gun
Movies love to look to the near future in order to delve into the topic of human cloning and the various moral and ethical ramifications of playing god and creating life in a lab. As often happens, these stories also turn into meditations on what it means to truly be human, a whole other can of metaphorical worms. And into this framework comes writer/director Lee Yong-ju’s Seobok.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

'Cosmic Dawn' (2022) Movie Review

cosmic dawn movie
When cults and horror and sci-fi collide, that’s a sweet spot. Cinematically speaking anyway, it’s probably not so great in real life. Such is the situation for writer/director Jefferson Moneo’s new film, Cosmic Dawn. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

'Men' Trailer: Alex Garland's Latest Gets A Cryptic First Look And Torments Jessie Buckley

jessie buckley in a tunnel

Alex Garland is one of those filmmakers who’s become a must-watch around these parts. His dreamy, weird, heady sci-fi stories are like freaking catnip. So, of course we’re excited for his latest, Men, and even though we don’t know much about it, this first teaser trailer offers a quick glimpse of just what we were looking for.

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

The 2022 Oscar Nominees Are Here

nerd in the desert with a knife
Hey, the Oscar nominations are here. Aren’t you stoked? Yeah, me neither. A lot of friends get really excited, but increasingly these have become less and less significant to me personally, and this year goes way beyond even my usual indifference. Sure, I’ll watch the telecast, but it’s mostly for the bombast and spectacle rather than any actual investment.

Monday, January 31, 2022

'Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché' (2021) Movie Review

poly styrene in a helmet
On its own, a documentary about Poly Styrene, legendary vocalist of X-Ray Spex, would be a good watch. A punk pioneer and one of the few women, and even fewer women of color, in the early days of punk, her story is one of grappling with fame and influence, carving out your own place in the world, racism, misogyny, mental illness, and much more. While the new documentary, Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché, has all of that, it also presents the story different, more personal light than most music docs.

Friday, January 28, 2022

'Facing Monsters' (2021) Movie Review

slab wave surfer
I’m not a surfer. It’s one of many, many things I’ve always wanted to try but have never actually got around to. (It doesn’t hurt I’m from a not-particularly-surfy place.) But on film, the sport shows as beautiful and serene, a perfect love letter to the majesty of nature. It’s also often harrowing and reminds us of the true power of that natural force. Bentley Dean’s new documentary, Facing Monsters, captures all this splendor, all this peril, as well as one man’s connection to the waves that runs as deep as any ocean.

Thursday, January 27, 2022

'Beyond The Infinite Two Minutes' Movie Review

guy talking to a TV
When coffee shop owner/aspiring musician Kato (Kazunari Tosa) heads to his upstairs apartment after close, he’s shocked to get a message on the TV. From himself. From two minutes in the future. This kicks off director Junta Yamaguchi’s Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes, a cascading series of sci-fi time travel antics with a crew of oddballs, like Megumi (Aki Asakura) and Ozawa (Yoshifumi Sakai), among others. They try to decipher the mystery, maybe get Kato a date, and quickly find themselves in way over their heads.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

'Clean' (2022) Movie Review

adrien brody with a gun
Meet Clean (Oscar-winner Adrien Brody). He’s a garbage man. With a past. That haunts him. And he can’t escape. It was violent. But now he just chills and keeps it low-key and looks out for local moppet Dianda (Chandler DuPont). Until bad guys happen. Then he gets all ass-kick-y and face-wrench-y. (His weapon of choice definitely appears to be a heavy pipe wrench. It even has a special padded case like a sniper rifle.)

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

'Warhunt' (2022) Movie Review

robert knepper in warhunt movie
War, dead Nazis, blood-drinking witches, cursed woods, spooky magic shit, mystery, just a smidge of cannibalism, Micky Rourke in a shiny eyepatch; Warhunt has a little bit of everything. And while certainly not for everyone, damn if it doesn’t kind of rule.

Monday, January 17, 2022

The 2021 Seattle Film Critics Society Award Winners

seattle film critics society logo
Awards season seriously feels like it runs half the year. It’s not quite that long, but beginning in early (and earlier every year) December and, at least the last couple years, wrapping up with the Oscars in March, it’s not short. 

Thursday, January 13, 2022

'Shattered' (2022) Movie Review

shattered movie 2022
When reclusive tech millionaire Chris Decker (Cameron Monaghan, Gotham) goes shopping late one night he has a chance encounter with former model Sky (Lilly Krug) at the supermarket. At least he thinks it’s chance encounter. Chris and Sky fall into a hot, passionate love affair, and you know what they say about things that look too good to be true. So begins Shattered, the latest film from director Luis Prieto (Kidnap) and writer David Loughery (Lakeview TerracePassenger 57).

Monday, January 10, 2022

The 50 Most-Anticipated Movies Of 2022

most anticipated movies 2022
2021 was, as usual, a great year for movies. They always are, even if the moviegoing and movie watching experience looks different for most people these days. (I watched 300+ movies for the first time this year, 11 in theaters.) But now that the calendar has turned, it’s time to look forward to our most anticipated movies of 2022. 

Thursday, January 6, 2022

'The 355' (2022) Movie Review

Diane Kruger, Jessica Chastain, Lupita Nyongo with guns
The big hook for The 355 is the insane cast. Director Simon Kinberg assembled an epic level of talent that includes Jessica Chastain, Lupita Nyong’o, Diane Kruger, Penelope Cruz, Bingbing Fan, Sebastian Stan, Edgar Ramirez, and Jason Flemyng, all chasing after a MacGuffin box in a globetrotting spy caper. And the result it wildly just okay.

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

'See For Me' (2021) Movie Review

blind woman in a taxi
Home invasion stories are a staple of the horror and thriller genres. It’s well-worn, oft-trod territory, but when handled well, still offers an effective avenue for tension, pressure, and terror. Randall Okita’s See for Memay not lay any fresh tracks, but it does deliver a tight, impactful, efficient thriller, one with enough unique hooks and unexpected turns to set it well apart from the pack.

Monday, January 3, 2022

The Ten Best Movies Of 2021

taxi driver movie theater
It’s that time of year again, where I hem and haw about making a best-of 2021 (or whatever year  it happens to be) list only to ultimately relent and do the thing. So here, as per usual, are my favorite films of the past 12 months.