Film Review: Monster (2003)

With 2003's Monster and now 2017's Wonder Woman, Patty Jenkins has proven herself to be a master at depicting fallen worlds, where women must navigate morally-ambiguous societies. In Wonder Woman, that involved the titular hero coming to grips with the notion that mankind is not universally good, only driven to destruction due to the unseen…Read more Film Review: Monster (2003)

Film Review: The Family Man (2000)

Nicolas Cage and his lunatic energy have often proven hard to neuter, although not for a lack of trying. 2000's The Family Man, which sees Cage as a Wall Street goon who magically gets a chance to live an alternate life, is a perfect example of this. This melodrama attempts to curtail the thespian's obvious…Read more Film Review: The Family Man (2000)

Film Review: Shadow of a Vampire (2000)

Most people with even a cursory awareness of art cinema have seen or heard of Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror, F.W.  Murnau's 1922 masterwork. Nosferatu is a film so powerfully rendered, so insanely memorable, that its continuing resonance over the past nine decades feels self-explanatory. This resonance has taken on many forms: from the appearance of the Nosferatu…Read more Film Review: Shadow of a Vampire (2000)

Film Review: Apocalypto (2006)

It's sometimes hard to remember that Mel Gibson is a formidable filmmaker. After the controversial release of 2004's Passion of the Christ, his arrests, and his slew of unhinged, drunken tirades, this talent became understandably lost in the shuffle. His 2006 effort Apocalypto (the last film Gibson directed) however, is a clear reminder of his directorial strengths. This ambitious, Mesoamerica-set action film…Read more Film Review: Apocalypto (2006)

Film Review: Observe and Report (2009)

The moment most critical for understanding Jody Hill's 2009 black comedy, Observe and Report, is played entirely for laughs. It occurs when the central character of the story, mall security guard Ronnie (played brilliantly by Seth Rogen), has resigned himself to following the antisocial nihilism of his co-worker Dennis (a hilarious Michael Pena). The two guards…Read more Film Review: Observe and Report (2009)

Film Review: Memories of Murder (2003)

Bong Joon-ho's masterful Memories of Murder is a great work of humanism, one which easily transcends its genre-trappings. Utilizing the 1980s Hwaseong serial murders as its launching pad, the film formulates a searing indictment of South Korean society from that era. It also parses the psychic scars left on those who were caught up in…Read more Film Review: Memories of Murder (2003)

Film Review: Hot Rod (2007)

In 2004 Will Ferrell cemented himself as the premiere comedy star with Anchorman. With its barrage of gags, unapologetic stupidity and everything-but-the-kitchen-sink ethos, it was a definitive comedy film of the "aughts." Nearly ten years later, the long-gestating sequel, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, was released. Overlong and forced, the film embodied that classic adage:…Read more Film Review: Hot Rod (2007)