Ready Player One Review

Ready Player One Review

RATING: (2.5 STARS) Steven Spielberg became one of the most beloved filmmakers in the history of the medium on the backs of blockbusters like Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T., and Jurassic Park that transported viewers into fantastical worlds where anything seemed possible. Ready Player One is perhaps his […]

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

RATING: (3.5 STARS) Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, from Oscar-winning director Morgan Neville, is something of a safe lob down the middle for the adult movie-going public in 2018. Nostalgia and empathy are two of the strongest emotional pulls when it comes to non-fiction filmmaking. This film has loads of the former. Fred Rogers the […]

Avengers: Infinity War Review

Avengers: Infinity War Review

RATING: (3.5 STARS) I haven’t truly loved an Avengers film yet. Both 2012’s original and Age of Ultron came out of the oven burnt and overdone. In an effort to give everyone a moment, the filmmakers made “moments” meaningless. (This was exacerbated in Marvel’s nadir: Captain America: Civil War.) With Infinity War, directors Joe and […]

Rushmore Review

Rushmore Review

RATING: (4 STARS) With Rushmore, writer/director Wes Anderson beelines it out of Wes Andersonville toward a place that resembles the world you and I inhabit. In Wes Andersonville, individuals are quirky beyond recognition—sometimes overwritten into oblivion. Rushmore‘s lead character, Max Fischer, is a proud citizen of Wes Andersonville, but unlike the director’s other films, this […]

The 6 Most Competitive 2018 Oscar Races

The 6 Most Competitive 2018 Oscar Races

I last checked in on the 2018 Oscar race just before the nominations were announced. You can hear some of my thoughts about the surprises and snubs on the latest episode of the It’s the Pictures podcast, but my “too long, didn’t listen” take is this: Phantom Thread, Get Out, Lady Bird good. Darkest Hour […]

2018 Oscar Predictions: The Year Without a Front-Runner

2018 Oscar Predictions: The Year Without a Front-Runner

I haven’t been great about keeping tabs on this year’s Oscar race. Maybe that’s a good thing! But I’m very curious to see how things shake out with tomorrow’s nominations. This year has been almost shockingly without a front-runner, and while two films — The Shape of Water and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri — […]

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Review

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Review

RATING: (3 STARS) There’s a lot one could say about Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, but “You’re an inanimate fucking object!” is not among them. That iconic quote from McDonagh’s debut, In Bruges, could be at home in the profane and fired-up Three Billboards, but it hardly describes this frantic, frenetic film about […]

Molly’s Game Review

Molly’s Game Review

RATING: (3.5 STARS) Ludicrously entertaining. That’s about all I could muster after 150 glorious minutes in the world of Molly’s Game. As depicted by writer-director Aaron Sorkin and his always-but-especially incredible lead actress Jessica Chastain, Molly’s world is one of relentless one upsmanship and frighteningly high-stakes, and there’s no one better at writing clever — […]

2018 Oscar Predictions: So This Looks Like a Fun One, Yeah?

2018 Oscar Predictions: So This Looks Like a Fun One, Yeah?

I’m always a little torn about when to start predicting Oscars in a given year. Ultimately, September is probably a little too early, but the fact is I did just get an FYC screener, and more pertinently, I’m about to leave for a vacation abroad and don’t have time to put together the post I […]

mother! Review

mother! Review

RATING: (4 STARS) *NOTE: I believe this film is best enjoyed without knowing much at all going in. I avoided any heavy spoilers in this review, but still, if you haven’t seen mother!, proceed with caution. The insanity-by-obsession that defines every Darren Aronofsky film to date — from Ellen Burstyn’s tragic television watching in Requiem […]

Where I’ve Been and What I’m Doing

My dad asked me a few weeks ago, “So what’s going on with John Likes Movies?” I didn’t even know how to start answering that question. I hated to say it, especially out loud, but the site that got me into writing and did so much to foster my love of film has been impossibly […]

Wonder Woman Review

Wonder Woman Review

RATING: (3 STARS) If we mark 2013’s Man of Steel as the official start of the “DC Cinematic Universe,” then Wonder Woman is its fourth title and easily its best. It’s hard to imagine someone not at least appreciating the film as a breath of fresh air, for it fits squarely into the tradition of […]

Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 Review

Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 Review

RATING: (3.5 STARS) Ever since Iron Man’s post-credits stinger, each entry in Marvel’s stable of films has sought to build upon the last in an effort to drum up excitement for what’s next. It’s my least favorite thing about modern big-budget moviemaking as it renders just about everything else happening on screen pointless. If you, […]

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 […]