Category: "Reviews (On Demand)"

Vice Review

The prestige of the “The Big Short” clearly got to Adam McKay’s head. The “Anchorman” director and longtime Will Ferrell comedy partner earned an Oscar for adapting Michael Lewis’ book about the housing crisis into a clever and accessible movie. In “Vice,” he attempts to apply those same storytelling principles to a biopic of former Vice President Dick Cheney.

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Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Review

After 20 years of superhero films dominating the box office and becoming the cornerstone of the moviegoing experience in the 21st century, no one ever stopped to ask, “who do these films need to be live action?” Enter “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” a complete game-changer for not just the business of on-screen heroes, but for animation on the whole.

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Can You Ever Forgive Me? Review

“Can You Ever Forgive Me?” rounds out McCarthy’s incredible decade with a more dramatic, down-to-earth role that shows that her talent comes from a deep, not merely surface-level/physical place.

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Private Life Review

It’s unfortunate that not every film or TV show involving close, interpersonal relationships has a Tamara Jenkins in its writing room. Although she’s only made two films in the last 12 years, Jenkins demonstrates an exceptional talent for creating honest drama around ordinary, conceivable hardships.

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Bad Times at the El Royale Review

Even if this particular pet project for Drew Goddard won’t leave viewers buzzing in quite the same way as some of his previous accomplishments, he delivers another astute example of mystery-building and storytelling that immediately pulls you in.

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Widows Review

“Widows” doesn’t feel like the film you follow up Best Picture winner “12 Years a Slave” with, but thriller genre fans will graciously accept the talents of Steve McQueen anyway. In tandem with “Gone Girl” author and screenwriter Gillian Flynn, McQueen delivers a crooked Chicago crime story with fully-formed characters, noteworthy performances and lots of powerful visual drama.

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First Man Review

Since the 1960s, America has glorified space travel, and for better or worse, Hollywood has been implicit this glamorization. In “First Man,” director Damien Chazelle ironically tries to bring the moon mission story down to earth, making a film about the bold, pensive and unassuming man who became an American hero, whose journey to the lunar surface was anything but glamorous.

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Bohemian Rhapsody Review

Queen, and especially its lead singer Freddie Mercury, is the stuff of rock ’n roll legend. More so than peel back the curtain on that legend, “Bohemian Rhapsody” perpetuates it, celebrating the band’s incredible, genre-defying music and most of all its flamboyant and inimitable frontman.

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Venom Review

Considering Sony Pictures was unable to relaunch the universally beloved character of Spider-Man without help from Marvel Studios, it was pretty audacious of them to try spinning off a “Spider-Man” villain into his own franchise.

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Minding the Gap Review

Bing Lu’s “Minding the Gap” is more than a sleek skateboarding doc that dives into alternative culture; in fact, it might not even be that at all. What probably
began as an exercise in Lu turning the camera on himself and his friends blossomed into portrait of middle-American working-class life, specifically three young men who process hardship and deep emotional wounds best while on a
skateboard.

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The Rider Review

A real-life South Dakota cowboy stars in a film based on his personal story in Chloé Zhao’s “The Rider,” an exquisitely shot portrait that shows just how powerful film can be when it blurs the line between fiction and reality.

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Searching Review

Gimmicky concept films such as “Searching” — a mystery that takes place “entirely on a screen” — bravely put themselves out there. They aim to be the first to uncharted cinematic territory while opening themselves up for scrutiny. Aneesh Chaganty’s feature film debut dares to be a pioneer in the category of films that reflect our digitized lives, and while it will take a lot of deserved fire, it does a few things exceptionally well.

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Eighth Grade Review

You’ve never experienced your middle school years thrown back at you with the same acne-covered-skin-crawling authenticity as Bo Burnham’s “Eighth Grade.” Maybe the film’s insane relatability factor doesn’t climb up to the oldest-living branches on our family trees, but awkward is awkward whether you’re a digital native or walked five miles in the snow to […]

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Incredibles 2 Review

Sometimes more of the same is a good thing. “Incredibles 2” feels like it could’ve come out a week after “The Incredibles” was released in 2004, but Pixar just decided to hang on to it for 14 years. It presents as “the next episode” and that consistency counts.

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Leave No Trace Review

The fast-paced technology-driven world we live in is reason enough for filmmakers to gravitate to stories of detachment. There’s strong thematic appeal in characters not only stripping themselves of these dependencies, but also completely removing themselves from society. Yet that’s not what director Debra Granik appears to be after in “Leave No Trace” despite that […]

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