Movie review Archive

Tully

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May 10, 2018 Vic Thiessen

Review by Vic Thiessen Among the countless forgotten films lost in the hype surrounding Avengers: Infinity War (which I don’t plan to see) is this wonderful indie comedy-drama from director Jason Reitman and writer Diablo Cody, who collaborated on Juno (2007) and Young Adult (2011). Like those two films, Tully has profound things to say about life today and does so with a subtle humor, an unusually intelligent plot, and great acting. Tully stars Charlize Theron as Marlo, who gives birth to her third child, Mia, early in the film. The other two children were already a handful, especially with […]

The Power of Art

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May 4, 2018 Gordon Houser

By Gordon Houser A delightful French film, Faces Places, directed by Agnès Varda and JR, is a documentary from 2017 that appeared on many critics’ top 10 lists, and it would have appeared on mine, had I seen it in time. Varda, 89, is a well-known director (she was part of the French New Wave in the early 1960s), and JR, 33, is a photographer known for placing large photos on buildings. The two travel through rural France and create portraits of people they come across, then paste them onto surrounding buildings. These are regular people, not celebrities.   The […]

Paul, Apostle of Christ

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April 13, 2018 Vic Thiessen

Recent years have witnessed a major upsurge in films aimed at a Christian audience. Fueled by outstanding box office numbers, this is a trend that will continue for some time. Among the positive outcomes of this trend is a general improvement in the quality of these Christian films. The acting is getting better, the production values are almost state-of-the-art, and a higher caliber of writers and directors is being employed to make these films. Almost none of the cover story of Paul, Apostle of Christ is found in the Bible, yet I would describe the film as very faithful to […]

A Wrinkle in Time

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April 6, 2018 Jerry L. Holsopple

A Wrinkle in Time, based on the novel by Madeline L’Engle, starts in familiar territory: an adolescent girl, who misses her absent father, has become the target of bullies. Absorbed by her pain, she is an easy target for those gathering like moths to the light around someone who appears weaker than they are. Meg Murray (Storm Reid), formerly an outstanding student, is reduced to confiding in her younger brother, Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe). Charles Wallace, embracing his oddness, is fully open to the seemingly absurd. He introduces Meg to Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon), who reveals the possibility that Mr. Murray is […]

Annihilation

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March 16, 2018 Vic Thiessen

The trailers for Annihilation featured vicious mutated animals attacking people in an otherworldly setting in an obvious attempt to entice the large audiences who seem to revel in violent action. For me, the trailers did not make the film look original or exciting, with the action scenes suggesting Annihilation would not be my kind of science fiction film. I had been transported so completely to a different world that it took me hours to find my way back to earth. But Annihilation was written and directed by Alex Garland, whose last film, Ex Machina, is one of the best and […]

The Shape of Water

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March 9, 2018 Jerry L. Holsopple

What do you get when you take Beauty and the Beast, take the old artist neighbor from Amelie, bring in a villain worthy of a Bond film, add some Soviet spies, and set it all during the race to space? As the tale unfolds, it begins to question who really is the monster. The Shape of Water. But The Shape of Water, while totally predictable, borrows these cultural references to make a magical fairy tale. What sets apart director Guillermo del Toro’s tale is the way these mutually lonely and misunderstood characters find each other. This is a love story, […]

Black Panther

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February 23, 2018 Michelle D. Sinclair

Black Panther seems to have exploded across the movie reviewing and analyzing world, captivating critics and audiences alike as the first superhero movie with a black man in the headlining role. While I cannot speak to the emotions many people of color have described upon seeing a big-budget African superhero, I’m delighted to agree the movie is a success. I’m even willing to say director Ryan Coogler has crafted a triumph for women in a genre that is traditionally male-centric fare. This is no cardboard megalomania story or simple quest for world domination. The scars of colonialism still mutilate Africa. […]

Hostiles

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February 16, 2018 Vic Thiessen

The new revisionist western by Scott Cooper hasn’t been wowing either critics or audiences. A glacially paced old-fashioned epic full of predictable violence, Hostiles has been criticized for its failed attempts at political correctness, its poor character development, its melodrama, its inept directing, and its sluggish, funereal pace. Personally, I think it’s one of the best westerns ever made and that the disconnect comes from the film’s unique ability to stir different feelings in each viewer. It’s a hard time and place to build a life, with the potential for violence and death (in various forms) seeming to hide behind […]

I, Tonya

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February 2, 2018 Michelle D. Sinclair

The biopic has developed a certain level of grandeur over the years. Almost always “prestige” pics, such films go straight after the Oscars, with actors bringing their A game and then some to show a person’s life, tragic flaws, heroic triumphs, and everything between. They have one thing in common—a certain reverence for their subject. I, Tonya, is not that biopic. Extraordinary talent and drive brought her to the pinnacle of success, only to lose everything because of the cesspool of her roots and her own poor choices. Yes, the film is more sympathetic to Tonya Harding than public perception […]

Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

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January 26, 2018 Matthew Kauffman Smith

The first time I viewed the trailer for Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri, I felt as if I had pretty much seen the whole movie. The trailer projects the film to be a revenge story of an angry mother looking for justice, featuring a stalwart performance by Frances McDormand that would propel her to her second Oscar win. Frustrated by the lack of progress in the case to find her daughter’s killer, Hayes buys a year’s worth of advertising on three billboards on the outskirts of town. McDormand will win the award again this year—that much is true. If I […]