In Kelly Reichardt’s masterful 2013 meditation on terrorism Night Moves, we’re slowly introduced to a trio of disaffected young people staging a dramatic intervention: the explosion of a dam. Memorably, and in true Reichardt fashion, that explosion, which by all standard narrative conventions should occupy the film’s central spot, registers in the narrative instead as a muted, distant noise.More
Although their SNL shorts and music videos are generally cherished by comedy and/or cannabis enthusiasts, the Lonely Island boys haven’t had the best of luck on the big screen. Hot Rod raced through both theaters and the public consciousness, raking in all of $14M at the box office; a few years later, the Jorma Taccone-helmed MacGruber failed to recoup its budget, outpaced, as Matt Singer once pointed out, by Furry Vengeance, “starring Brendan Fraser as a real-estate developer at war with a raccoon.” It would’ve been hard for Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping to fall any lower on the scale of profitability than that cult-favorite MacGyer parody.More
Anthology films, by their nature, are uneven, and so inherently disreputable. But when they work, they’re like a gift to viewers who really don’t want to sit through a 3 hour Marvel movie only to discover it’s also kind of uneven.More
Poised somewhere between the fast-zombie viscera of 28 Days Later and the existential unease of Ex Machina, with a dose of Cronenbergian sympathy for the virus thrown in for good measure, The Girl With All The Gifts is micro-targeted to a very particular horror fanbase.More
You don’t have to be a fan of improv — often referred to as “the Irritating Art”, by me — to enjoy Mike Birbiglia‘s ensemble dramedy. Don’t Think Twice is very much grounded in that world of audience prompts and miming, and very much enthralled with its performative nuances and history, but the film also tells a more basic story about belatedly growing up and growing apart.More
In the hilarious 2001 stop-motion film Kokoa, we witness a series of wrestling matches featuring, in turn, a toad, a chameleon, a bird, and an iguana — with a crab referee and emceed by a Howard Cosell-like reptile.
Do I even need to go on about why you should watch Kokoa?More
Chess is not, shall we say, the most cinematic of games. But Mira Nair’s Queen of Katwe gamely tries to resolve this dilemma with compelling characters, a quietly heroic, underdog narrative, and a whole lot of Ugandan sensibilities and imagery. It mostly works.More