MIDSOMMAR: Brightly lit, darkly comic horror

Ari Aster’s second feature film is no Hereditary. In fact, it has more in common with Darren Aronofsky’s Mother! than it does his feature debut. Midsommar isn’t good or bad. It’s weak on metaphor and strong on hilarious WTF moments. It’s made with the stupid confidence of a man who’s been told he’s a genius, when he’s still just working to earn the label. Should you see it? Yes. But be prepared to hate it.

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The elusive, rapturous LAST BLACK MAN IN SAN FRANCISCO

It’s rare to hear a commercial audience cheer at the end of a drama, but that’s exactly what happened at my screening of The Last Black Man in San Francisco. To be sure, the film deserves an enthusiastic reaction. It’s gorgeously shot, with the cinematic flourishes you only see from a filmmaker with an innate understanding of the medium. But it’s the smaller moments—movie night with a blind father, a chance encounter with an estranged mother, friends who grew apart briefly finding each other again—that give this film life. And it does feel wonderfully alive, while not ignoring the complexities of the story it’s trying to tell.

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THREE BILLBOARDS is the movie of the moment, for better or worse

It’s not Oscar season without frontrunner backlash, and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is getting a lot of heat from a lot of places ever since its wins at the Globes and the Screen Actors Guild awards. But then the Oscar nominations happened. Notably absent from the Best Director category was Martin McDonagh, the playwright-turned-director at the helm of the Best Picture favorite and a previous Oscar winner for his short film Six Shooter. Could it be the backlash setting in? Or maybe it’s as simple as McDonagh making a writer’s movie and not a director’s movie?  Continue reading “THREE BILLBOARDS is the movie of the moment, for better or worse”

Someone Please Save the DCEU from Zack Snyder


Zack Snyder isn’t a filmmaker. He’s a bro with an entourage that happens to have cameras.

I’m not saying this to offend Mr. Snyder or his fans. I think they’re all aware of this. I’m saying it as a DC kid who grew up to watch his heroes become selfish man-children. And honestly, I’m not as outraged as I thought I would be after watching Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Because it’s hard to be upset when you ask Pauly D to be Pasolini.

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