This Week at the Movies (Oct. 4, 2019)

Here are some reviews of films coming out at the theater this week as well as others that may be in theaters or newly on home video.

Opening: Oct. 4, 2019

Wide (United States)

Joker

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Expanding (United States)

Judy

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Limited (United States)

Lucy in the Sky

Aaron Neuwirth @ We Live Entertainment

  • Excerpt: For all the aspect ratio changes, ruminations concerning what going to space can do to a person, and solid performances from a strong cast, the film is still plagued by problems regarding the story.

Pain and Glory

Karl Delossantos @ Smash Cut Reviews

  • Excerpt: Pain and Glory is a colorful, funny and profound film where Pedro Almodóvar reckons with his past and career — featuring a career-best performance by Antonio Banderas.

Pain and Glory

Aaron Neuwirth @ We Live Entertainment

  • Excerpt: Even as he’s gotten older, Almodóvar puts in enough here to suggest he has a ways to go before stopping.

2019 Films In Theaters Now In Select Areas

Continue reading This Week at the Movies (Oct. 4, 2019)

Reviews: Brittany Runs a Marathon (2019)

Here are review links for this film submitted by our members:

  • Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews
    • Excerpt: [Colaizzo’s] found his perfect star in Jillian Bell…who has proven she was more than ready to step up from supporting roles that proved her comedic chops into a dramatic lead leavened with humor.
  • Karl Delossantos @
    • Excerpt: Brittany Runs a Marathon has enough charm, laughs, and wonderfully eclectic characters — especially Jillian Bell‘s eponymous Brittany — to get it past its weaker moments.
  • [New] | Roxana Hadadi @ Pajiba
    • Excerpt: Jillian Bell is deeply likable in ‘Brittany Runs a Marathon,’ a comedy that honestly tackles anxieties about wellness and weight.
  • Mark Hobin @ Fast Film Reviews
    • Excerpt: As the pounds are shed, however, so too does the lightness of Brittany’s personality. Actress Jillian Bell must act within the confines of a screenplay that continues to keep her character within a place of despair.
  • Charlie Juhl @ Citizen Charlie
    • Excerpt: Brittany’s arc from drunken party girl to lonely island to trying to maintain life balance like the rest of us is what will most likely connect this Sundance-winner with audiences looking to root for an example of someone who confronts the worst, running and self improvement, and comes out the other side.

Reviews: Judy (2019)

Here are review links for this film submitted by our members:

  • Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews
    • Excerpt: If Goold’s film feels a little small for its outsize subject, Zellweger’s performance is not contained nor restrained by it. She’s a marvel and her “Judy” will inspire both cheers and tears.
  • Herman Dhaliwal @ Cinema Sanctum
    • Excerpt: Renée Zellweger is excellent in an otherwise superficial and unfocused biopic.
  • Mark Hobin @ Fast Film Reviews
    • Excerpt: I walked in rather skeptical but I walked out a believer. The way Renée Zellweger channels Judy Garland is simply astonishing.
  • Dan Lybarger @ Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
    • Excerpt: Renée Zellweger has Judy Garland down; effortlessly imitating the Wizard of Oz star’s delivery and mannerisms. She approaches the title role in Judy with conviction, raising the biopic above the level of cheap novelty. But had the film consisted simply of Zellweger bellowing show tunes, it might have been more substantial.
  • Jared Mobarak @ JaredMobarak.com
    • Excerpt: It’s a complex role depicting a complex soul and Zellweger is stunning in her portrayal even if the package does little to advance the bio-pic beyond its generic machinations.
  • Eddie Pasa @ DC Filmdom
  • [New] | Betty Jo Tucker @ ReelTalk Movie Reviews
    • Excerpt: This biopic is painful to see for many avid Garland fans, but the last big scene probably cinches an Oscar for Zellweger.

Reviews: Joker (2019)

Here are review links for this film submitted by our members:

  • [New] | Siddhant Adlakha @ Firstpost
    • Excerpt: It’s admittedly hard to imagine a film like Joker inspiring real-world violence — or inspiring much of anything.
  • Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews
    • Excerpt: the film’s main asset is Phoenix’s insane tour de force, the actor projecting a tortured physique, his torso twisted and ribs projecting as he moves with a grace that can only be called balletic.
  • [New] | Rob Daniel @ Electric Shadows
    • Excerpt: After all the critical adulation, it’s a punchline worthy of the Clown Prince of Crime himself that Joker isn’t very good.
  • [New] | Herman Dhaliwal @ Cinema Sanctum
    • Excerpt: Joaquin Phoenix is a great enough performer to elevate material that is otherwise boring, banal, and basic.
  • [New] | Rob DiCristino @ F This Movie
  • Bavner Donaldo @ Cinejour [Indonesian]
  • James Jay Edwards @ FilmFracture
  • [New] | Vadim Grigoriev @ kinoblog.com [Ukrainian]
  • [New] | Roderick Heath @ This Island Rod [Romanian]
    • Excerpt: Iterations of Batman and his fictional universe are everywhere at the moment…So it’s logical that Phillips, however pretentiously, tries to imbue his take with some specificity essentially by taking it out of its nominal genre.
  • MaryAnn Johanson @ FlickFilosopher.com
    • Excerpt: Not fit to lick the boots of Martin Scorsese or Christopher Nolan, though the height of its ambition appears to be its desperation to do so. A movie as pathetically ineffectual as its protagonist.
  • Charlie Juhl @ Citizen Charlie
    • Excerpt: Joker will challenge your black and white view of the world with a, “But it’s not his fault” excuse you would normally toss aside in the real world.
  • [New] | Dan Lybarger @ eFilmCritic.com
    • Excerpt: From watching his latest movie, I can tell that Todd Philips loves the movies Martin Scorsese made in the 1970s and 80s as much as I do. As much as I’d like to sit back with him and down a beer or two discussing those films, it’s disheartening that his own, dark gritty film makes me want to run back to my DVDs of the good stuff.
  • [New] | Mike McGranaghan @ The Aisle Seat
    • Excerpt: What should have been the most electrifying comic book picture of the year is actually one of its most shocking duds.
  • Simon Miraudo @ Student Edge
    • Excerpt: This thing has a towering performance from Phoenix, who becomes the best to ever do it (‘it’ being the ultimate acting challenge of depicting the clown who fights Batman).
  • [New] | Jared Mobarak @ JaredMobarak.com
    • Excerpt: Everything that captivates us about Arthur is inevitably forgotten and everything he becomes is beholden to familiar tropes. It does look great, but I left feeling nothing.
  • Aaron Neuwirth @ We Live Entertainment
    • Excerpt: After all the speculation, adulation, and accusations paving the way for me on the way to seeing Joker, the final product is compelling enough, without becoming something grander.
  • [New] | Matt Oakes @ Silver Screen Riot
    • Excerpt: With Phoenix’s Bleak ‘JOKER’, a Good Punchline Can Re-Write History
  • Eddie Pasa @ Gunaxin
  • [New] | Paulo Portugal @ Insider [Portuguese]
  • [New] | Amir Siregar @ Amir at the Movies [Indonesian]
    • Excerpt: Todd Phillips turns ‘Joker’ into a dark and terrifying character study with the help of Joaquin Phoenix’s stunning, bone-chilling performance.
  • [New] | Josh Taylor @ www.forgetfulfilmcritic.com
    • Excerpt: Joker is a bleak, hateful movie. Phillips and his art direction team stack piles of garbage high on Gotham’s city streets to match what we see with what the movie wants us to feel. It’s oppressive and overwhelming.
  • Andrew Wyatt @ The Lens

Classics & More on DVD (Oct. 1, 2019)

Here are our latest reviews of films on DVD.

Pre-2017 Film Reviews

Batman Begins

Danielle Solzman @ Solzy at the Movies (2005)

Blood Bath

James Jay Edwards @ FilmFracture (1966)

Champagne

Luiz Santiago @ Plano Crítico (1928) [Portuguese]

  • Excerpt: A spoiled heiress defies her father by running off to marry her lover. However, Daddy has a few tricks up his sleeve.

The Dark Knight

Danielle Solzman @ Solzy at the Movies (2008)

The Dark Knight Rises

Danielle Solzman @ Solzy at the Movies (2012)

Goya in Bordeaux

Luiz Santiago @ Plano Crítico (1999) [Portuguese]

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Tynan Yanaga @ 4 Star Films (1945)

The White Reindeer

Peter Nellhaus @ Coffee, Coffee and more Coffee (1952)

  • Excerpt: For those weaned on more graphic horror, The White Reindeer may come across as quaint. In terms of genre, contemporary viewers may find it of interest as a predecessor to those films inspired by folk beliefs such as The Wicker Man and Midsommar.

From Our Members’ Desks (Sep. 30, 2019)

OFCS members don’t just write film reviews. Here are several articles you might find interesting.

Interviews

Behind the Real World: Johannes Nyholm on “Koko-di, Koko-da”

Gregory J. Smalley @ 366 Weird Movies

Brittany Runs a Marathon

Andrea Chase @ Public Radio Exchange [French]

  • Excerpt: Jillian Bell and Paul Downs Colaizzo talk expressions, committing, and what to do with a crying cowboy

Hustlers’ Star Keke Palmer is Just Enjoying the Ride

Candice Frederick @ Shondaland

Awards Coverage

The Friday Face-Off Round One #6

Wesley Lovell @ Cinema Sight

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Sep. 20-22, 2019

Wesley Lovell @ Cinema Sight

Poll: Remaking Best Production Design, 2003

Wesley Lovell @ Cinema Sight

Essays

Continue reading From Our Members’ Desks (Sep. 30, 2019)

This Week at the Movies (Sep. 27, 2019)

Here are some reviews of films coming out at the theater this week as well as others that may be in theaters or newly on home video.

Opening: Sep. 27, 2019

Wide (United States)

Abominable

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Limited (United States)

The Day Shall Come

Aaron Neuwirth @ We Live Entertainment

  • Excerpt: The Day Shall Come is not quite as hard-edged as his previous feature, but there is still a good amount of fun to go with the messaging seen this time around.

First Love

Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews

  • Excerpt: After a foray into period Samurai films, prolific Japanese director Takashi Miike (“Audition,” “Blade of the Immortal”) switches gears with a very violent, often funny, Yakuza noir with a blossoming romance as its through line.

First Love

Brent McKnight @ The Last Thing I See

  • Excerpt: First Love feels simultaneously tight and meticulous, but also wild and free and barely clinging to sanity.

Judy

Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews

  • Excerpt: If Goold’s film feels a little small for its outsize subject, Zellweger’s performance is not contained nor restrained by it. She’s a marvel and her “Judy” will inspire both cheers and tears.

Judy

Eddie Pasa @ DC Filmdom

2019 Films In Theaters Now In Select Areas

Continue reading This Week at the Movies (Sep. 27, 2019)

Reviews: Depraved (2019)

Here are review links for this film submitted by our members:

  • [New] | Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews
    • Excerpt: With his updating of the Frankenstein legend, the filmmaker indicts Big Pharma while probing the need for a generational shift in society’s moral values. And as usual, Fessenden does a lot with a little…
  • Mike McGranaghan @ The Aisle Seat
    • Excerpt: Anyone with an appreciation for smart, well-crafted horror should line up for this one.
  • Brent McKnight @ The Last Thing I See
    • Excerpt: While Depraved starts strong, poses curious ideas and themes, and has a handful of creepy aesthetic quirks, it founders in the back half.
  • [New] | Jared Mobarak @ The Film Stage
    • Excerpt: Rather than the world being unready to accept [Adam] for what he is, though, [he’s] who cannot [accept himself].
  • C.H. Newell @ Father Son Holy Gore
    • Excerpt: Depraved is about many things, among them the repercussions of technologies we invent, and, maybe more importantly, the results of raising our children and new generations in all the most toxic ways.

Reviews: Official Secrets (2019)

Here are review links for this film submitted by our members:

  • Frederic & Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice
    • Excerpt: A true story about conscience as a catalyst to change, a spur to morality, and a source of hope.
  • Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews
    • Excerpt: while the story itself is often riveting, Hood’s execution is often bumpy, some aspects presently dryly, others too abruptly…The film’s brightest note is Ralph Fiennes who gives a puckish quality to his portrayal of human rights lawyer Ben Emmerson
  • James Jay Edwards @ FilmFracture
  • [New] | MaryAnn Johanson @ FlickFilosopher.com
    • Excerpt: Not a spy thriller but a story of emotional and intellectual suspense wrangling with matters of patriotism and of conscience, and of just how far journalism’s watchdog role can and should take it.
  • Charlie Juhl @ Citizen Charlie
    • Excerpt: While director Gavin Hood makes no excuses for Bush and his clan, his direct ire and vitriol accuses Blair and the British government of high crimes against the British people. He is angry and here in 2019 to ensure you do not forget the audacity and ineptitude of 2003.
  • Don Shanahan @ 25YL
    • Excerpt: Official Secrets is built on clear eyes of dramatic acccuracy
  • [New] | Ron Wilkinson @ itsjustmovies.com
    • Excerpt: Strong acting and direction turns a potentially dry documentary into a ripped from the headlines thriller.

Reviews: Monos (2019)

Here are review links for this film submitted by our members:

  • Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews
    • Excerpt: The film’s single most stunning achievement comes from composer Mica Levi (“Under the Skin”), her original score comprised of wavering call and response whistles and thunderous drum rolls which sound forged from rippling metal sheets.
  • Rob Daniel @ Electric Shadows
  • Herman Dhaliwal @ Cinema Sanctum
    • Excerpt: A thoughtful, bleak, and exhilirating experience that demands to be seen on the big screen.
  • Brent McKnight @ The Last Thing I See
    • Excerpt: Apocalyptic and oblique, nightmarish and surreal, it’s a dark allegory, one that contains weirdly more Gummi Bear fun facts than expected.
  • [New] | Jared Mobarak @ JaredMobarak.com
    • Excerpt: Intensity grows until ambiguity between childhood and adulthood fades away. Those with capacity to kill lose their virtue and those without realize there’s nowhere to turn.
  • Aaron Neuwirth @ We Live Entertainment
    • Excerpt: There are memorable visuals, a haunting and offbeat score, and other elements turning this survival story concerning a group of child soldiers into something as profound as it is atmospheric.
  • Ron Wilkinson @ itsjustmovies.com
    • Excerpt: A powerful journey into barely controlled chaos. A family that slips its reins with disastrous results.

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