Posted inFilm/TV

Review: Before ‘The Batman,’ ‘Zodiac’ chronicled obsessive quest for answers

Reading Time: 2 minutes As The Batman broods its way through theaters, this week seemed as good a time as any to revisit David Fincher’s historical drama Zodiac, from which Paul Dano’s twisted Riddler takes inspiration. Yep, still good! It’s 1969, and the San Francisco Chronicle begins to receive encrypted letters from a killer calling himself “Zodiac.” A manhunt […]

Posted inFilm/TV

Review: ‘The Batman’ overburdened with Hollywood excess

Reading Time: 2 minutes In the early 2000s Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka penned a well-regarded comic series titled Gotham Central, a police procedural of the Homicide: Life on the Street variety, set in Batman’s perpetually crime-ridden Gotham City. The conceit was that it pitted a bunch of working-stiff cops against a colorful, gimmicky Rogues Gallery, with Batman making […]

Posted inFilm/TV

Review: Peter Dinklage sings, stabs way through ‘Cyrano’

Reading Time: 2 minutes If Wikipedia is to be believed, the earliest filmed adaptation of Edmond Rostand’s 1897 play Cyrano de Bergerac is a silent French-Italian co-production from 1923. Since then Rostand’s ode to the power of the written word has been adapted numerous times, few bearing its source’s namesake (appropriate), ranging from a 1959 Samurai version starring Toshiro […]

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Review: ‘The Cursed’ is an admirably gloomy, gory werewolf picture

Reading Time: 2 minutes In 1764, a series of brutal killings occurred in the Southern French region formerly known as Gévaudan. Sensationalist newspapers picked up the story, describing partially-eaten victims, predominantly women and children, whose throats had been torn out. A large animal was suspected, possibly supernatural in nature, but no perpetrator was ever found or definitively determined (popular […]

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Review: Oscar hopeful ‘Belfast’ offers a wistful look at a grim period

Reading Time: 2 minutes There’s this incredible moment in Conor McPherson’s low-key horror flick The Eclipse that finds Ciarán Hinds’s melancholic widower driving alone at night, lost in thought, when he’s suddenly visited by the not-yet ghost of his dying father-in-law sitting in the front passenger seat, the soundtrack’s chorus segueing from soothing to bloodcurdling, causing a startled Hinds […]

Posted inFilm/TV

Review: ‘Ema’ takes a cinematic flamethrower to the status quo

Reading Time: 2 minutes Martin Scorsese recently published an editorial in the Los Angeles Times urging readers to go watch Guillermo del Toro’s stylish Nightmare Alley (currently in theaters, including a black and white version; available on Hulu and HBO Max starting February 1). I was lukewarm on it but nonetheless saddened by its underwhelming box office against that […]

Posted inFilm/TV

Review: ‘The Mitchells vs. the Machines’ brings meme culture to mainstream

Reading Time: 3 minutes Sony Pictures Animation is quickly becoming a dark horse favorite in the typically risk-averse realm of mainstream American animation. Lacking the pedigree of Disney/Pixar and overwhelming magnitude of Katzenbergian stunt casting at DreamWorks Animation, Sony has nonetheless housed talented weirdos like comedy duo Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs), formalist […]

Posted inFilm/TV

Review: ‘Chaos Walking’ insufficiently chaotic

Reading Time: 3 minutes It’s going to take a long time to reasonably excavate pandemic-era cinema. As Walter Chaw’s wonderful Best of 2021 list illustrates, any given year of film is rich with treasures, many doomed to obscurity. Streaming platforms have made movies simultaneously easier to access and harder to keep track of (remember that time Netflix released a […]

Posted inFilm/TV

Review: The story behind ‘The King’s Daughter’ is more interesting than the movie itself

Reading Time: 3 minutes It’s January, that magical, cursed time of year when studios quietly dump their mistakes into theaters while audiences with better sense than I catch up on award season hopefuls like The Power of the Dog (on Netflix!) and Annette (on Amazon Prime!), or if they’re feeling adventurous, track down rental copies of The Novice or […]

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