Movies

Movie Review: NIGHTMARE ALLEY

NIGHTMARE ALLEY movie poster | ©2021 Searchlight Pictures

Rating: R Stars: Bradley Cooper, Rooney Mara, Cate Blanchett, David Strathairn, Toni Collette, Willem Dafoe, Ron Perlman, Richard Jenkins, Holt McAllany, Mary Steenburgen, Tim Blake Nelson, Jim Beaver Writers: Guillermo del Toro & Kim Morgan, based on the novel by William Lindsay Gresham Director: Guillermo del Toro Distributor: Fox Searchlight Release Date: December 17, 2021 NIGHTMARE ALLEY is a beautifully-made, hypnotic Depression-era thriller. William Lindsay Gresham’s novel was previously adapted for the big screen in 1947, with Tyrone Power in the lead. This time around, Bradley Cooper essays the role of Stanton “Stan” Carlisle, the antihero at the center of […]Read On »

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Movie Review: CYRANO

CYRANO movie poster | ©2021 MGM/United Artists

Rating: PG-13 Stars: Peter Dinklage, Haley Bennett, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Ben Mendelsohn Writer: Erica Schmidt, lyrics by Matt Berninger & Carin Besser, music by Aaron Dessner & Bryce Dessner, based on the stage play CYRANO DE BERGERAC by Edmond Rostand Director: Joe Wright Distributor: MGM/United Artists Release Date: December 17, 2021 CYRANO, among other things, reminds GAME OF THRONES fans just how much we’ve missed seeing Peter Dinklage be swashbuckling. Of course, this being a film version of the stage musical CYRANO DE BERGERAC by Erica Schmidt, with lyrics by Matt Berninger & Carin Besser, and music by Aaron Dessner […]Read On »

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Movie Review: NATIONAL CHAMPIONS

NATIONAL CHAMPIONS movie poster | ©2021 STX Films

Rating: R Stars: Stephan James, J.K. Simmons, Alexander Ludwig, Lil Rel Howery, Tim Blake Nelson, Andrew Bachelor, David Koechner, Jeffrey Donovan, Kristen Chenoweth, Timothy Olyphant, Uzo Aduba Writer: Adam Mervis Director: Ric Roman Waugh Distributor: STX Films Release Date: December 10, 2021  NATIONAL CHAMPIONS is structured like a legal thriller, although we never see the inside of a courtroom. Technically, it’s an issue-driven drama about football and labor. This may seem an odd combination, but writer Adam Mervis has a lot to say on the subjects, and director Ric Roman Waugh makes it feel tense and suspenseful. There has been […]Read On »

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Movie Review: AGNES

AGNES movie poster | ©2021 Magnet Releasing

Rating: Not Rated Stars: Molly C. Quinn, Jake Horowitz, Rachel True, Hayley McFarland, Zandy Hardig, Chris Browning, Ben Hall, Mary Buss, Chris Sullivan, Sean Gunn Writers: John Selvidge and Mickey Reece Director: Mickey Reece Distributor: Magnet Releasing Release Date: December 10, 2021  AGNES starts out like a typical exorcism film, but it doesn’t stay that way for long. We begin at a cloistered Carmelite convent in upstate New York. It’s the present, but it might as well be the 1950s, or further back, as far as the strict Mother Superior (Mary Buss) is concerned. Rule-bound and stern though Mother Superior […]Read On »

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Movie Review: BEING THE RICARDOS

BEING THE RECARDOS Movie Poster | ©2021 Amazon

Rating: R Stars: Nicole Kidman, Javier Bardem, J.K. Simmons, Nina Arianda, Tony Hale Writer: Aaron Sorkin Director: Aaron Sorkin Distributor: Amazon Studios Release Date: December 10, 2021 BEING THE RICARDOS is about a very stressful week in the life of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, played here respectively by Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem. Writer/director Aaron Sorkin also includes plentiful flashbacks and some flash-forwards to underscore points he wants to make. Sorkin’s ambitions with BEING THE RICARDOS are admirable. He wants us to get to know Ball and Arnaz, as individuals, as a couple, and as artists. He wants us […]Read On »

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Movie Review: DON’T LOOK UP

DON'T LOOK UP Movie Poster | ©2021 Netflix

Rating: R Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Rob Morgan, Cate Blanchett, Meryl Streep, Jonah Hill, Mark Rylance, Melanie Lynskey, Tyler Perry, Timothée Chalamet Writer: Adam McKay, story by Adam McKay & David Sirota Director: Adam McKay Distributor: Netflix Release Date: December 10, 2021 DON’T LOOK UP plays something like a gentler modern DR. STRANGELOVE. Instead of nuclear war, Earth is threatened with destruction by a giant comet. While this is an act of nature rather than of human aggression, never fear – greed and stupidity will find a way to make things worse. When University of Michigan doctoral astronomy student […]Read On »

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Movie Review: HURT

HURT movie poster | ©2021 Gravitas Ventures

Rating: Not Rated Stars: Emily Van Raay, Andrew Creer, Michelle Treacy, Stephanie Moran, Bradley Hamilton, Adam Drodge Writers: Solomon Gray & Sonny Mallhi Director: Sonny Mallhi Distributor: Gravitas Ventures Release Date: December 9, 2021 HURT begins with a prayer for Biblical vengeance. This is followed by an onscreen statement that what we are about to see is inspired by true events: “In 2012, a teenage girl went camping with her sister and her mother … as usual, the teenage girl wanted nothing to do with her sister or her mother.” Things can’t get much truer than that. But this sets […]Read On »

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Movie Review: DEATH VALLEY

DEATH VALLEY Movie Poster | ©2021 Shudder

Rating: Not Rated Stars: Jeremy Ninaber, Ethan Mitchell, Kristen Kaster Writer: Matthew Ninaber Director: Matthew Ninaber Distributor: Shudder Release Date: December 9, 2021 DEATH VALLEY has an odd title, considering its contents. There’s plenty of death, but we’re not in the Mojave Desert, nor in any sort of valley at all. Our primary locations are a Russian forest, and the underground biolab beneath it. This aside, DEATH VALLEY is surprisingly well-done. Moments that seem to be plot missteps are actually clues. Despite the clearly low budget, director/writer Matthew Ninaber and his cinematographer, Brent Tremain, establish plausible lighting sources. They make […]Read On »

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Movie Review: ENCOUNTER

ENCOUNTER Movie Poster | ©2021 Amazon

Rating: R Stars: Riz Ahmed, Octavia Spencer, Lucian-River Chauhan, Aditya Geddada, Rory Cochrane, Shane McRae, Janina Gavankar, Misha Collins, Keith Szarabajka Writers: Joe Barton and Michael Pearce Director: Michael Pearce Distributor: Amazon Studios Release Date: December 3, 2021 ENCOUNTER is a movie that’s hard to discuss in specifics without spoiling most of it. At the start, an ominous comet streaks through sky. It touches down in a North American forest, where the insects are shown busily devouring each other in close-up. Meanwhile, in a town, a tiny, weird creature buries deep into a human’s skin. Former U.S. Marine Malik Khan […]Read On »

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Movie Review: THE ADVENT CALENDAR (LE CALENDRIER)

THE ADVENT CALENDAR Key Art | ©2021 Universal Pictures/Shudder

Rating: Not Rated Stars: Eugénie Derouand, Honorine Magnier, Clément Olivieri, Janis Abrikh, Cyril Garnier, Vladimir Perrin, Jean-François Garreaud Writer: Patrick Ridremont Director: Patrick Ridremont Distributor: Universal/Shudder Release Date: December 2, 2021 THE ADVENT CALENDAR is worth seeing for its title object alone. The antique wooden advent calendar, with a different size and design for each of its doors, is a joy of design, something any collector of folk art would be delighted to own – assuming they didn’t know what this advent calendar does. Eva Roussel (Eugénie Derouand) introduces herself, speaking directly into camera. She says she is a paraplegic, […]Read On »

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