“Searching” is a gimmick

When the premise of your film is that the entire story takes place on a screen, whether it be a Macbook or television or security camera, you're naturally boxed into a corner in terms of story. So while the story you craft is reasonably strong, "Searching" remains a gimmick of the highest order. After her... Continue Reading →

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“A Simple Favor” goes to 11

When you first start out watching "A Simple Favor", you get the feeling that it's basically just a rehash of "Gone Girl." Then slowly but surely, it lets you know that it is in on the joke. And that ultimately saves the film. Written by Jessica Sharzer and directed by Paul Feig, "A Simple Favor"... Continue Reading →

“Flatliners” is a boring mess

When the horrible reviews for the new "Flatliners" film came out, the natural assumption was that the film was gloriously bad, full of funny deaths and ridiculous jump scares. What a disappointment to find out that "Flatliners" isn't just not fun, it's downright boring. Five medical students, led by Courtney (Ellen Page), engage in a... Continue Reading →

Essentials: Vertigo

Upon release, Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo (1958) was deemed a commercial and critical failure. It was not as dramatic as Rear Window (1954) nor as surrealist as Spellbound (1945). It took years before it achieved its status as a masterpiece, but is now considered Hitchcock's greatest work and one of the best films ever made. After... Continue Reading →

“Detroit” a true-life horror story

Director Kathryn Bigelow is perhaps the greatest tension-creating filmmaker today. From "The Hurt Locker" (2008) to "Zero Dark Thirty" (2012) and now to "Detroit", her work is taut, precise and involving. While "Detroit" does not quite measure up to her previous achievements (classics in my mind), it is still a harrowing and personal story of... Continue Reading →

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