Review: “Respect”

The Queen of Soul deserves the best—and the best is not “Respect,” a by-the-numbers biopic that focuses on Aretha Franklin’s life from 1952 to 1972. Despite having the right talent both behind and in front of the camera, “Respect” frequently feels like sanitized studio fare, touching on some of Franklin’s personal traumas—from her drinking to […]

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Review: “Reminiscence”

“The past can haunt a man. That’s what they say.” Nick Bannister’s (Hugh Jackman) opening narration in “Reminiscence,” and his voiceovers throughout the remainder of the film, calls to mind classic films noir in which the hardened protagonist wearily dictates his thoughts, feelings, and ruminations on morality. But “Reminiscence” never does more than remind us […]

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Review: “Annette”

Toward the end of Noah Baumbach’s 2019 film “Marriage Story,” Charlie, played by Adam Driver, breaks into an emotional rendition of Sondheim’s “Being Alive” from the musical “Company” while at a restaurant with friends, facing the dissolution of his marriage. It’s a beautiful scene—my favorite in the entire film, actually—and one that made me immediately […]

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Review: “Free Guy”

Guy is not the kind of character you’d usually want to play in a shooter game. In fact, he’s not the kind of character you’d normally be able to play at all. Guy is a non-playable character, or NPC, a background figure created to populate a video game’s environment, whether to just provide atmosphere or […]

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Review: “Nine Days”

In “Nine Days”, writer and director Edson Oda ponders the meaning of life. Sounds pretentious, right? But although several scenes feel like they are deliberately engineered to extract an emotional response from the audience, from its unique world-building to its heartfelt performances, “Nine Days” holds up a mirror to all of life’s highs and lows […]

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Review: “The Suicide Squad”

The DC Extended Universe got off to a rough start—so much so that over the last year, we’ve seen Warner Brothers attempt to course correct the DCEU, not by investing in bringing new characters and stories to life, but by tinkering with their past failures. This past spring saw the release of Zack Snyder’s four […]

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Review: “John and the Hole”

“John and the Hole” may be billed as a psychological thriller, but it is above all else a fable. The film’s title card isn’t revealed until half an hour into the movie, by which time we’ve met 13-year-old John (Charlie Shotwell) and his family, but have also just been introduced to a unique framing device. […]

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Streaming Movie Reviews

Happy August to all who celebrate! Today I’m recapping some direct-to-streaming films that were released in July, including one of the year’s best movies (“Summer of Soul”) and Netflix’s very fun horror trilogy event, “Fear Street.” You can find my capsule reviews of those movies and others down below! “SUMMER OF SOUL (…OR, WHEN THE […]

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Review: “Jungle Cruise”

I was in the audience at the Walt Disney Studios panel at the D23 Expo in 2019 when some of the first footage from “Jungle Cruise”—an adventure film based on the Disney Parks attraction of the same name—was premiered. But it was less the trailers themselves that made an impact, and more the surprising and […]

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