This Week at the Movies (Jun. 7, 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: Jun. 7, 2019

Wide (United States)

Dark Phoenix

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

The Secret Life of Pets 2

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Limited (United States)

The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil

Brent McKnight @ The Last Thing I See

  • Excerpt: Even with a few rough patches, The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil bubbles with a propulsive energy. Polished and glossy, it moves along with an easy, rapid momentum, myriad action beats, and another top-tier performance from Ma Dong-seok as a businessman brawler who provides a thoughtful sharpness to this fun, if familiar, crime thriller.

The Last Black Man in San Francisco

Aaron Neuwirth @ We Live Entertainment

  • Excerpt: Loving something so much not to know how to give it up is a powerful feeling, and this movie allows an audience to soak in this plight.

Late Night

Jared Mobarak @ JaredMobarak.com

  • Excerpt: Late Night [teaches] inclusivity and diversity as a means of reinvigorating creativity. [It] falls short of [its] potential, but the good still easily outweighs the bad.

2019 Films In Theaters Now In Select Areas

Continue reading This Week at the Movies (Jun. 7, 2019)

Reviews: The Secret Life of Pets 2 (2019)

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

  • [New] | Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews
    • Excerpt: While writer Brian Lynch repeats the same mistakes he made with the first movie – mainly going far afield of organic adventures like a lost toy or trip to the vet’s – this time around he only errs with one of his plot threads and it is, once again, the one that features the thoroughly obnoxious Snowball.
  • Courtney Howard @ Variety
    • Excerpt: Stronger sentiments and higher hijinks elevate this sequel above the original.
  • MaryAnn Johanson @ FlickFilosopher.com
    • Excerpt: Underwhelming: episodic, a random collection of unconnected vignettes rather than one cohesive story. Inoffensive, but missing the first movie’s fantastical animals’ perspective on the human world.
  • Jared Mobarak @ The Film Stage
    • Excerpt: Illumination missed the boat on The Secret Life of Pets because the way they’ve told these stories thus far make them a lot more conducive to television than cinema.
  • Eddie Pasa @ DC Filmdom

Reviews: Dark Phoenix (2019)

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

  • Caio Bogoni @ Cine Grandiose [Portuguese]
    • Excerpt: Dark Phoenix probably kills any future chance of seeing a good adaptation of the classic X-Men saga.
  • [New] | Karl Delossantos @ Smash Cut Reviews
    • Excerpt: Dark Phoenix is bogged down by the fact that everything it does has been done before in some capacity — and better — by other superhero movies, making this final installment an uninspiring watch.
  • [New] | Herman Dhaliwal @ Cinema Sanctum
    • Excerpt: An unengaging shrug of a movie that, despite a couple fun moments and solid performances, puts a forgettable end to the X-Men franchise.
  • James Jay Edwards @ FilmFracture
  • MaryAnn Johanson @ FlickFilosopher.com
    • Excerpt: A lazy treadmill of a sci-fi morality play that wastes a terrific cast. A numbingly dull game of mutant checkers that has no idea how to tell a woman’s story except filtered through the eyes of men.
  • Charlie Juhl @ Citizen Charlie
    • Excerpt: Jean Grey is supposed to be beyond powerful, a rival to Professor Xavier in pure cerebral output, but she never does anything worth watching. Dark Phoenix is not unique in its failure to thrill fans with Jean Grey’s theatrics, it is merely another attempt to do so – and like all the rest – you’ll forget about it in a moment.
  • [New] | Jared Mobarak @ JaredMobarak.com
    • Excerpt: While Kinberg obviously wants Jean to have the punishingly melancholic end Wolverine received in Logan, the film yearns for bow-tied binary carnage. There’s still enough to like, but hardly enough to leave fulfilled.
  • Aaron Neuwirth @ We Live Entertainment
    • Excerpt: The film may have a bit too much of a déjà vu issue in terms of the story being told, with characters I wish I felt more attached to, but it is efficiently made.
  • [New] | João Pinto @ Portal Cinema [Portuguese]
    • Excerpt: The worst of the X-Men Franchise….
  • [New] | Jason Pirodsky @ The Prague Reporter
    • Excerpt: X-Men: Dark Phoenix is reasonably well-put together, and a seriously great original score by Hans Zimmer, with fittingly 80s synth vibes, is often enough to convince us the images we’re seeing have more resonance than the story gives them.
  • Don Shanahan @ Every Movie Has a Lesson
    • Excerpt: When you watch this new movie and actually miss the gaudy theatrics of X-Men: The Last Stand because it at least tried, that’s a very surprising and telling thing.

Reviews: The Biggest Little Farm (2019)

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

  • [New] | Frederic & Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice
    • Excerpt: The hopeful story of a natural farm built on biodiversity and a recognition of interconnections, impermanence, and transformation.
  • Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews
    • Excerpt: …inspirational in how it documents the resilience and intelligent design of nature, but who is it inspiring? Only those with seemingly unlimited financial resources and a large crew of devoted interns need apply.
  • Mike McGranaghan @ The Aisle Seat
    • Excerpt: Mixes educational and personal qualities in a manner that’s hard to resist.
  • Jared Mobarak @ JaredMobarak.com
    • Excerpt: If your success is truly that pure—own it. Don’t pretend otherwise because you think it would be more compelling [only to show each hardship is but a hiccup].
  • Adam Patterson @ Film Pulse
  • Don Shanahan @ Every Movie Has a Lesson
    • Excerpt: In the hands of an artist and filmmaker, The Biggest Little Farm takes would look like a capricious and half-hearted whim fit for a green reality show on basic cable and turns the the documented endeavor something ambitious, important, and miraculous.

From Our Members’ Desks (June. 4, 2019)

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

Interviews

An Interview with Starfish Director Al White

C.H. Newell @ Father Son Holy Gore

  • Excerpt: C.H. Newell talks to director Al White about his new film Starfish, as well as grief, nostalgia for cassette tapes, and plenty more.

Festivals: General Coverage

Cannes: Mektoub My Love: Intermezzo: O querido verão de Abdellatif Kechiche

Paulo Portugal @ Insider [Portuguese]

Elia Suleiman perto do céu a fazer-nos navegar pela “palestinização” do mundo

Paulo Portugal @ Insider [Portuguese]

Elia Suleiman perto do céu a fazer-nos navegar pela “palestinização” do mundo

Paulo Portugal @ Insider [Portuguese]

Elia Suleiman perto do céu a fazer-nos navegar pela “palestinização” do mundo

Paulo Portugal @ Insider [Portuguese]

Era uma vez em Cannes: Quentin Tarantino não está nada ‘out of time’

Paulo Portugal @ Insider [Portuguese]

North Music Festival – The Electric Rock of Bastille and Franz Ferdinand Shined Like a Movie Screen on Oporto’s Night

João Pinto @ Portal Cinema [Portuguese]

North Musical Festival – Emir Kusturica and Bush Brought Some Cinematic Influences To Oporto

João Pinto @ Portal Cinema [Portuguese]

Awards Coverage

Continue reading From Our Members’ Desks (June. 4, 2019)

Classics & More on DVD (Jun. 3, 2019)

Here are our latest reviews of films on DVD.

Pre-2017 Film Reviews

Albert Nobbs

Rick Aragon @ Rick’s Texan Reviews [2011]

Blue Jasmine

Rick Aragon @ Rick’s Texan Reviews [2013]

  • Excerpt: A Streetcar Named Desire as imagined by Woody Allen.

Great Expectations

Rick Aragon @ Rick’s Texan Reviews [2012]

  • Excerpt: Great Expectations is steady, respectable, beautifully filmed. Why then is it yet another bungled adaptation?

Howl’s Moving Castle

Gregory J. Smalley @ The Spool [2004]

  • Excerpt: Like Howl’s castle, this movie is cobbled together from mismatched parts; it looks unstable and threatens to tumble over as it rambles along, but master wizardry holds it together.

The Invisible War

Rick Aragon @ Rick’s Texan Reviews [2012]

  • Excerpt: The Invisible War, a documentary about rape within the U.S. military, is beyond horrifying. It is infuriating, tragic, and highly upsetting.

Lincoln

Rick Aragon @ Rick’s Texan Reviews [2012]

A Madea Christmas

Rick Aragon @ Rick’s Texan Reviews [2013]

Mud

Rick Aragon @ Rick’s Texan Reviews [2013]

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Rick Aragon @ Rick’s Texan Reviews [2012]

Searching for Sugar Man

Rick Aragon @ Rick’s Texan Reviews [2012]

Victory

Roderick Heath @ This Island Rod [1919]

  • Excerpt: Tourneur and screenwriter Jules Furthman (working under the pseudonym Stephen Fox) manage to pack an amazing amount of story and smart characterisation into just over an hour of running time with Victory.

This Week at the Movies (May 31, 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: May 31, 2019

Wide (United States)

Godzilla: King of the Monsters

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Ma

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Rocketman

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

2019 Films In Theaters Now In Select Areas

Continue reading This Week at the Movies (May 31, 2019)

Reviews: Rocketman (2019)

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

  • Caio Bogoni @ Cine Grandiose [Portuguese]
    • Excerpt: While similar to “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “Rocketman” treads more carefully not to commit the same mistakes.
  • Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews
    • Excerpt: uses John and Taupin’s songs to dramatize various important stages of his life, usually ending in a completely different time and space where they begin. The effect is dazzling…a heady rush of entertainment with an emotional undertow.
  • Herman Dhaliwal @ Cinema Sanctum
    • Excerpt: Too frantic in its pacing to make the impact that the filmmakers clearly desired, but it’s an often stunning film with a terrific central performance from Taron Egerton.
  • [New] | James Jay Edwards @ FilmFracture
  • [New] | MaryAnn Johanson @ FlickFilosopher.com
    • Excerpt: Joyful and rowdy, self-deprecating and vulnerable, absolutely electrifying as it deconstructs the sex-drugs-and-rock’n’-roll story. Taron Egerton is chills-inducingly good. Sheer cinematic magic.
  • [New] | Charlie Juhl @ Citizen Charlie
    • Excerpt: 30 years of Elton John’s ups and downs is middling material, but a few things catapult the product to fascinating – Taron Egerton’s virtuoso performance, the soaring anthems, and one perfect scene.
  • Simon Miraudo @ Student Edge
    • Excerpt: You can tell everybody… that Elton John’s musical biopic Rocketman is actually pretty good.
  • [New] | Jared Mobarak @ JaredMobarak.com
    • Excerpt: The filmmakers seek to delve deeper than appearances to really highlight the existential struggle behind [their subject’s] choices. This isn’t our perception of Elton John’s life. It’s his.
  • Aaron Neuwirth @ We Live Entertainment
    • Excerpt: While the chronological progression still holds Rocketman on a familiar narrative path, the film’s ambition concerning the incorporation of fantastical musical sequences makes it a memorable and engaging watch.
  • [New] | frank ochieng @ rec.arts.movies.reviews
    • Excerpt: Thoroughly eye-popping, sprawling with vibrancy and vision, and spryly contemplative, ROCKETMAN is a virtual blast into the effervescent orbit of the meaningful musical biopic.

Reviews: Ma (2019)

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

  • Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews
    • Excerpt: Oscar winner Octavia Spencer slumming it in this “Carrie” crossed with “Friday the 13th” creepfest gentrifies this hoot of a horror movie…”Ma” sneaks up on you.
  • Herman Dhaliwal @ Cinema Sanctum
    • Excerpt: It doesn’t have the depth that it seems to reach for, but Octavia Spencer makes for a fantastic character.
  • James Jay Edwards @ FilmFracture
  • MaryAnn Johanson @ FlickFilosopher.com
    • Excerpt: A bargain-bin cockadoodie pseudo-Misery, a disgraceful waste of the brilliant Octavia Spencer. Has no interest in women’s pain and trauma even as it appropriates it for entertainment purposes.
  • [New] | Oktay Kozak @ Paste Magazine
  • Brent McKnight @ The Seattle Times
    • Excerpt: Campy and goofy, vicious and bloody, if that sounds like a good time, you might have a lot of fun partying with “Ma,” even if you won’t remember much tomorrow.
  • Aaron Neuwirth @ We Live Entertainment
    • Excerpt: The fun in this film comes from watching a terrific off-kilter performance from Octavia Spencer matched against a group of kids you’d only want to root for on moral terms because all of their actions are incredibly dumb.
  • frank ochieng @ ScreenAnarchy
    • Excerpt: …this schmaltzy showcase of surrogate Mommy Meanest never materializes beyond its cheapened B-movie transparent terror…feels mechanical and familiar and never really taps effectively into its inherent cynical silliness.

Reviews: Trial by Fire (2019)

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

  • Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews
    • Excerpt: Although it’s been goosed with dramatic license which proves unnecessary overkill by “Precious” screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher, director Edward Zwick’s adaptation is the most powerful anti-death penalty film since 1995’s “Dead Man Walking.”
  • James Jay Edwards @ FilmFracture
  • [New] | MaryAnn Johanson @ FlickFilosopher.com
    • Excerpt: Earnest, old-fashioned social-justice drama focuses on the death penalty from the “what if we execute an innocent person?” angle, with hugely engaging performances by Jack O’Connell and Laura Dern.
  • Mike McGranaghan @ The Aisle Seat
    • Excerpt: Well worth seeing for those with an interest in social issue movies.
  • Aaron Neuwirth @ We Live Entertainment
    • Excerpt: Trial by Fire has plenty of strength when it comes to its two lead performers, but it’s as if director Edward Zwick feels as though holding back and letting the linear plot do the work is all that’s needed…

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