Leni Riefen-stalling

Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

On the one hand, any film subtitled “Part 1” is a naked cash grab. On the other hand, shut up and take my money, Hunger Games. Mockingjay Part 1, like the rest of the franchise, is billed as “Young Adult” fare. Because what hormonal “young adult” doesn’t constantly think about the role of media-savvy propaganda in influencing dissidents to provoke regime change rallied around a hesitant...

entered on 11/21/14 at 09:21 AM | read more »



Oopsie Genius

Birdman

I know two things for sure: (1) Birdman aims to relentlessly drive home one singular point, one thoroughly expressed thesis about life and art. (2) It does not succeed. You would think that would make the work of writers Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo and writer/director Alejandro González Iñárritu a total misfire. Not so fast, my fine-feathered friends. Despite its lack of...

entered on 11/14/14 at 11:44 AM | read more »



The Burden of Actual Christianity

The Overnighters

Most praise for writer/director Jesse Moss’s documentary, The Overnighters, has rightly been focused on its Steinbeckian nature and explosive revelations about struggling workers in North Dakota. That wasn’t the big takeaway for me. The big takeaway for me was how brutal the burden is for those who truly embrace the core conceits of the Christian faith and its insistence upon caring for any and...

entered on 11/14/14 at 10:41 AM | read more »



Awful, Not Full of Awe

Interstellar

Preposterous, pseudointellectual, poorly constructed, clichéd, impenetrably masculine, goofy and possessed of an indecipherable ending, Interstellar is the mother of all misfires. It is a bloated juggernaut of stupidity, rolling its obese body stuffed with melodramatic subplots towards a conclusion that would have been laughed at had it been anyone other than writer/director Christopher Nolan who...

entered on 11/07/14 at 11:56 AM | read more »



News-sploitation

Nightcrawler

Yesterday, CNN showed reporters physically chasing a woman connected to the Ebola scare. Not too long ago, a Fox News affiliate aired a suicide live on television. So, no, Nightcrawler isn’t farfetched. It’s perfectly fetched. It’s importantly fetched.

Beyond the indictment of journalism in service of voyeuristic pleasure, Nightcrawler is a stunning thriller with a career-defining performance...

entered on 10/31/14 at 03:05 PM | read more »



Dogged Determination

John Wick

John Wick killed three guys with a pencil.

John Wick is so good at killing, he had to bury his guns beneath a cement floor just so he wouldn’t keep murdering.

John Wick will shoot you in the face, even if his face is by your face. John Wick wants to shoot you in the face that much.

If you aren’t picking up on it, John Wick is ridiculous. Directed by long-time stuntmen David Leitch and Chad...

entered on 10/24/14 at 10:29 AM | read more »



Yes, They Mean You

Dear White People

Thrill-seekers live for the rush that comes from defying death; adrenaline is the body’s chemical “thank you” for keeping it alive. Somehow, that’s the sensation I got watching Dear White People, writer/director Justin Simien’s declaration that he didn’t come to half-ass it. Audacious, overly ambitious, challenging and understandably flawed, Dear White People may be the most important...

entered on 10/19/14 at 07:41 PM | read more »


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Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

Half of what promises to be an epic conclusion to a fabulous series.

GRADE
B+


Birdman

A delirously fun satirical send up of artistic pretension. 

GRADE
B+


The Overnighters

"The Grapes of Wrath" in documentary form set in North Dakota.

GRADE
A-


Interstellar

If this was humanity's last hope, give up.

GRADE
D


Nightcrawler

A condemnation of crime pornography with a chilling central character.

GRADE
A


John Wick

You kill his dog, he kills a million people. You've been warned.

GRADE
B


Dear White People

The type of smart, ballsy satire that comes along all too rarely.

GRADE
A


Fury

War is hell, but this movie is just hella slow.

GRADE
C+


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