Hidden Figures Review

Hidden Figures Review

RATING: (3.5 STARS) There’s nothing particularly remarkable the filmmaking behind Theodore Melfi’s Hidden Figures, but it accomplishes something none of the several dozen films I’ve watched this fall have been able to do: completely shut off the real world. It’s an odd thing to write in the context of a review (and it will certainly […]

2017 Oscar Predictions: Nominations Roulette

2017 Oscar Predictions: Nominations Roulette

It’s nearly nomination time. We should be looking at a fantastic group of films, performances, and achievements come Tuesday. Can’t wait to see how it all shakes out! BEST PICTURE Arrival Fences Hacksaw Ridge Hell or High Water Hidden Figures La La Land Lion Manchester by the Sea Moonlight BEST DIRECTOR Damien Chazelle, La La […]

Jackie Review

Jackie Review

RATING: (4 STARS) Jackie is a remarkable film that’s equal parts a devastating portrait of indescribable grief and a lesson on the nuts and bolts of myth making and legacy building. It takes place on a personal level — intimate, intrusive, uncomfortable — but it has national and even international implications. That scope feels appropriate […]

2017 Oscar Predictions: The Calm Before the Storm

2017 Oscar Predictions: The Calm Before the Storm

The recent announcement of the Indie Spirit nominations and various critics awards means the 2017 Oscar season is heating up. Only a few question marks on the 2016 movie calendar remain in the form of Morten Tyldum’s Passengers and Rogue One (assuming you’re into that sort of thing Oscar-wise), and you won’t see them reflected […]

Tower Review

Tower Review

RATING: (4 STARS) On August 1, 1966, Charles Whitman opened fire from the observation deck of “The Tower” at the University of Texas at Austin. Over the course of 90 minutes, he shot 32 men and women, killing 14. Earlier that day, he also killed his wife and mother at their respective homes. Tower, a […]

Sausage Party Review

Sausage Party Review

RATING: (3 STARS) Sausage Party follows in the tradition of so many animated films — either starting with or primarily popularized by Toy Story — wherein everyday objects are personified and an audience gets to take a glimpse of what their day-to-day world might look and feel like. After taking that glimpse of the day-to-day […]

Denial Review

Denial Review

RATING: (3 STARS) If 2016 proved anything to me, it’s that facts are as fragile as fine china. The idea that something is irrefutable doesn’t matter to people with the right mixture of ignorance, prejudice, and/or intention, and so admirers of historical and scientific truth are forced to debate where one shouldn’t be necessary. And […]

2017 Oscar Predictions: It’s That Time

2017 Oscar Predictions: It’s That Time

With the Toronto, Telluride, and Venice film festivals behind us, it’s fair to say the Oscar season has begun in earnest. As studios begin positioning their respective titles for maximum exposure and disingenuous feel-goodedness, prognosticators both professional and amateur will start guessing as to the impact of said positioning (and, I guess, said feel-goodedness). I’ve […]

Sully Review

Sully Review

RATING: (3.5 STARS) In 208 seconds, I could make a sandwich, though it might not be my best effort and there’s a decent chance I spend most of that time agonizing over spicy or dijon mustard. In January 2009, Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenburger and First Officer Jeff Skiles had 208 seconds to decide the best […]

It’s the Pictures Podcast: Episode 13

It’s the Pictures Podcast: Episode 13

In our latest episode of the podcast, Max and I share some of our most-anticipated fall movies and preview the lineups of Venice, TIFF, and NYFF, respectively. We also discuss Kubo, Florence Foster Jenkins, the new Arrival trailer, the November Criterion lineup, and … hot iced coffee? Listen to the episode over at our libsyn […]

I Know Where I’m Going!

I Know Where I’m Going!

Our film of the week at The Cinessential is Bill Forsythe’s Local Hero. It’s not a film I’m familiar with (though many of my colleagues’ glowing essays have piqued by interest in it), so I instead tackled our related review and wrote about the Archers’ 1945 film I Know Where I’m Going! Click here to […]

Florence Foster Jenkins Review

Florence Foster Jenkins Review

RATING: (3 STARS) The only name that matters when it comes to getting butts in front of Florence Foster Jenkins isn’t Florence Foster Jenkins, but rather Meryl Streep. Improbably, Streep has done what seemingly a dozen Hemsworths couldn’t — become a reliable box office draw based exclusively on star power. She can play a magazine […]

Bad Moms Review

Bad Moms Review

RATING: (2.5 STARS) A recent trend in comedy writing and filmmaking is to turn the mundane into something debaucherous. It probably started with The Hangover, which took a typically debaucherous activity — the bachelor party — and elevated it to a level previously unthinkable. Slowly, this type of story took over movies about “regular life.” […]

It’s the Pictures Podcast: Episode 12

It’s the Pictures Podcast: Episode 12

John and Max are donning their black hats this week for a discussion about Suicide Squad and our favorite movie villains. We’re also covering the new teaser for Christopher Nolan’s 2017 film Dunkirk and news about an upcoming remake of Splash! starring Channing Tatum. We close with reviews of Terrence Malick’s The New World and […]

Tallulah Review

Tallulah Review

RATING: (3 STARS) As I was watching Sian Heder’s Tallulah, I couldn’t shake the implausibility of the premise. A young nomadic woman steals the baby of a rich, careless mother? The film offers a title character who is easy to accept as impulsive and destructive, but a kidnapper? Please. Then something funny happened. I started […]

American Dream Review

American Dream Review

The Cinessential writes a related review each week for the film it’s highlighting. For Harlan County U.S.A. week, I decided to write my related review on Barbara Kopple’s other excellent workers’ rights documentary, American Dream. Click here to check out the piece. I’ll share more here on a regular basis, but please also subscribe to […]

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