Category Archives: Movie Review

Interstellar: What Hollywood Ought to Be

This review is late. After all, Interstellar debuted seemingly eons ago and most of those who are going to see it in theaters have already done so. If you are on the fence about the possibility, let me implore you. Get thee to a theater. Interstellar demands a large screen, high quality sound, and popcorn drizzled with awe. The film opens in the near future and the world is growing desperate. A crop blight, that feeds on nitrogen, has destroyed wheat… Continue Reading ››

Snowpiercer: Dystopian Tale for the 99%

“Politicians should read science fiction, not westerns and detective stories.” –Arthur C. Clarke Science fiction is, almost without fail, either set in the future or an unknown universe. This allows the author, or filmmaker, to turn blank pages and screens into whatever he or she wishes. Without the baggage of now, science fiction often comments on the present by portraying current realities, at least thematically, within a new context, thereby forcing readers and audiences to ponder anew. Battlestar Gallactica (the most… Continue Reading ››

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay–Part 1

This trend is execrable. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 and 2. The Hobbit 1, 2, and 3. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn–Part 1 and 2.* Hollywood, like a dairy farmer with cold hands, has gripped tightly to whatever dangling teat it can find, wringing every drop of funds from the American cash cow. And, like a Holstein, I shuffled into the stall this weekend and dangled. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay–Part 1, like its predecessors referenced above, is… Continue Reading ››

Guardians of the Galaxy

There are relatively few good arguments for actually going to a theater. The crowds are noisy. Cell phones too often pierce the cloak of darkness. The concessions require a credit check. And, to be frank, most movies aren’t worth paying the premium price to see. But still, I persist. Why? There are two reasons. First, some films belong on a big screen and small screens too often translate into small films. Second, when seen communally, films amplify and bind together… Continue Reading ››

Apes on Horses with Guns? Count Me In

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is better than it has a right to be. The premise, if you are familiar with the series, is the stuff of hallucinogenic extravagance. Apes talk. Apes ride horses. They brandish firearms. Mayhem ensues–and how could it not? They’re apes! Culture and community happen. Pierre Boulle, the Frenchman who wrote the novel Planet of the Apes, the source material for the iconic film of the same name, must have been an interesting fellow.… Continue Reading ››

X-Men: Days of Future Past

Too many films are burdened with poor titles. Even typing X-Men: Days of Future Past contracts my authorial stomach, bringing bile to my pen’s tip. I am not going to pretend that my prose is always polished, or that my phrases are framed with poetic elegance, but I try to respect punctuation and syntax. I beseech you, Hollywood–will you hire someone to name your movies? If idiotic names were crimes, and in a particular way they are, surely the Star… Continue Reading ››

Captain America: The Civil Libertarians Strike Back

My relationship with comic book films is sort of like my relationship with science fiction novels–it’s complicated. There are some that rise to the level of art (The Dark Knight), while others are less than drivel (Iron Man 3). I find it hard to be truly a fan when the cycle swings so dramatically. In some ways, this is like every other genre, so it may seem unfair to pick on comic books. But, in another way, comic book films… Continue Reading ››

Everything is Awesome: The Politics of The Lego Movie

You may not think The Lego Movie is the place to go for political commentary, but you would be wrong. While it would not be fair to push the theme too far–after all, this is a children’s film based on interlocking plastic toys–The Lego Movie is about the fine balance between individualism and communitarianism and the virtues that define them. The plot revolves around everyman Emmet Brickowski (voiced by Chris Pratt). Like most of his fellow Lego creatures, Emmet blends… Continue Reading ››

Ender’s Game

Orson Scott Card wrote Ender’s Game in 1985. The novel quickly entered the science fiction canon, winning both the Hugo and Nebula awards, and Card joined luminaries like Asimov, Heinlein, Herbert, and Dick. Bringing Ender’s Game to film presented many challenges. After nearly 30 years in the development wilderness, technology finally caught up to Card’s conceptions. Computer generated images are sufficient now to replicate the book’s key elements. Though technology solved the visual riddle, Card’s politics have been the film’s… Continue Reading ››

Gravity is a Thin Marvel

Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity is a perfect Hollywood experience. The visuals are revelatory, and likely historic, and the director wrings from his talented movie stars compelling, temperate performances in spite of the chilly sterility of space. These strengths cannot hide the reality that Gravity is still slight and as translucent, as flimsy as the space equipment that gets shredded at different points–beautiful, for sure, but insubstantial. Gravity, maybe more than any recent film, presents viewers with the heights and depths of what… Continue Reading ››