View Post

The Times They Are A-Changin’ in ‘Cars 3’

(2017—Director: Brian Fee) ★★★ 1/2 (out of 5 stars) Pixar released the first Cars in 2006. While it achieved financial success, many noted the subdued critical reception and suspected that the film served only to sell toys. In those same minds, the film’s 2011 sequel Cars 2 confirmed that suspicion. Since then, Pixar and their films have faced backlash and …

View Post

War & Animal Companionship in ‘Megan Leavey’

(2017—Director: Gabriela Cowperthwaite) High ★★★ (out of 5 stars) At first glance, combining the friendship of a human and a dog with the harsh realities of war end up manipulating the emotions in an unnatural way. Fortunately, the true story of Megan Leavey and her war dog Rex steers clear of sentimental overload. Their chemistry matches the impressive and restrained war …

View Post

‘Dead Men Tell No Tales’—A Rough But Overall Positive U-Turn for the Franchise

(2017—Directors: Joachim Rønning & Espen Sandberg) Low ★★★ (out of 5 stars) Six years removed from the last installment of Pirates of the Caribbean and with another directorial shift (this time to the directorial team behind the 2012 Oscar-nominated historical drama Kon-Tiki), Disney, Johnny Depp, and company return for the fifth time to this fantasy swashbuckling world. The resulting installment is …

View Post

‘King Arthur: Legend of the Sword’—Legend Meets Excessive Style

(2017—Director: Guy Ritchie) ★★ 1/2 (out of 5 stars) Director Guy Ritchie (Snatch, Sherlock Holmes, The Man From U.N.C.L.E.) tends to emphasize style over substance in his films. This remains the case with his latest work—Warner Bros.’s King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. Ritchie tries to combine the classical nature of Arthurian legends with his trademark montages and quick cuts. The …

View Post

Mid-Year Report on Cinema in 2017

2017’s summer movie season has begun to wind down as the cinema world prepares for the expected annual onslaught of Oscar contenders that seek to attract awards voters throughout autumn and winter. While they do that, I would like to take a moment and consider cinema in 2017 so far—the highs, the lows, and the green. Around the start of …

View Post

Defeat and Victory Synchronize in ‘Dunkirk’

(2017—Director: Christopher Nolan) ★★★★ (out of 5 stars) “He’s shell-shocked, George. He’s not himself. He may never be himself again.” — Mr. Dawson (Mark Rylance) on Shivering Soldier (Cillian Murphy) Potential spoilers below Since the start of this millennium, few filmmakers have earned the widespread critical praise and commercial success as British-American writer, producer, and director Christopher Nolan. He elevated Batman …

View Post

Marvel’s Cage Match: Netflix’s ‘Luke Cage’ Review

— By Carly Twehous — In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years or in case you’re one of the four remaining American citizens without a Netflix account, Marvel has been creating an empire for the small screen, starring everyone’s favorite vigilantes of Hell’s Kitchen. Luke Cage and the preceding Jessica Jones and Daredevil serve …

View Post

A Wounded Soldier Enters the Lionesses’ Den in ‘The Beguiled’

(2017—Director: Sofia Coppola) High ★★★ 1/2 (out of 5 stars) Sofia Coppola, daughter of the Godfather trilogy and Apocalypse Now director Francis Ford Coppola, continues to be a formidable female voice in modern cinema. With her adaptation of Thomas P. Cullinan’s 1966 novel, she boldly and brilliantly stripped the Southern Gothic story down to an island of sexual tension and …

View Post

Sin, Not Tragedies: Review of History Channels’ ‘Vikings’

— By Carly Twehous — [The following review contains major spoilers for Seasons 1-3.] Everyone had that favorite time period and culture in history class. You know the one. It’s the subject that inspired enough genuine curiosity that it would rouse you from your regularly scheduled third period nap and give you the inexplicable superhuman strength to listen to Mr. …

View Post

Ace in the Hole: Netflix’s ‘House of Cards’ Review

— By Carly Twehous — If you’re not sick of the constant news coverage from the most recent election cycle—the scandals, the Russian hacking, the debate whether or not our current president is a reincarnated prophet or the antichrist—or if you prefer to drown yourself in fiction and ignore all of life’s infinite problems, yet still have an inexplicable craving …