Review: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Whether it's obvious or not, every single feature film that Quentin Tarantino has made is about, well, film. There is rarely a moment in his movies where the writer-director isn't projecting some of his knowledge as a pop culture buff and enthusiast. Tarantino understands the medium in and out, and knows how to use film as a message. And while I may understand the message of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, I question if it is one worth really caring about.

Review: Toy Story 4

There's an old adage within Pixar, that the prestigious animated studio wouldn't make sequels unless they had "better stories" than the originals. Ever since Cars 2 followed up a homely and relatable classic with espionage plots and literal automobile torture, that adage hasn't held up. Pixar isn't the same company it was decades ago, at the very least internally, and with new faces and changing hands, Toy Story 4 could be perceived as an attempt to get the story group's groove back.

Avengers: Endgame is Self-Congratulatory Fanservice (Spoiler-Free Review)

For the past two years, no other word has been more annoying than the word “culmination.” Now with Avengers: Endgame, Marvel Studios has proof of concept for this culmination after driving the word to the ground during various press junkets. Endgame is pure fanservice, which can be good or bad depending on your pre-existing opinion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For many, it will be a nostalgia trip, and to others, the three-hour-long film will be an unbearable victory lap—a circlejerk, if you’ll pardon the vulgarity.

Review: Ralph Breaks the Internet

There probably isn't a more recognizable movie formula than the one in Disney animated films. They take familiar stories, myths, and general concepts, create a light-hearted story with some basic virtues and life lessons, and probably throw in some musical numbers and dead parents. I've usually been lukewarm towards Disney's recent computer animated efforts, but I have to admit that Wreck-It Ralph won me over. I was definitely worried about the sequel, Ralph Breaks the Internet, yet somehow, someway I ended up liking this film even more.

Review: The Girl in the Spider's Web

Lisbeth Salander should not be a superheroine. While the character is resourceful and strong, physically, mentally, and morally, The Girl in the Spider's Web turned her into some sort of action movie secret agent-type. As satisfying as it may be to see Lisbeth take down abusive and violent men, this movie isn't about how her investigating and manipulating skills are put to use, but rather her ability to beat up and tase random, faceless henchmen.

Review: Mid90s

I have very distinct memories of my 12 years attending an all-boys school in the Philadelphia suburban area and though it's a radically different scenario than what is presented in Jonah Hill's directorial debut Mid90s, I couldn't help but think back to that experience. For that long chunk of my life, I was surrounded by young boys aspiring to be masculine in a quite short-sighted manner. That is one of several themes and throughlines in Mid90s, which acts as Hill's ode to 1990s Los Angeles, skate culture, hip-hop, and the struggles of adolescence.

REVIEW: 'Venom' is Bizarre, Terrible, and Oh-So Entertaining

There’s been something missing about “so-good-it’s-bad” cinema as of late. Because of “hits” like Sharknado, platforms like Netflix and the Syfy channel are full of so-called “bad movies” that are specifically designed to be garbage. Gone are cult classics with the feel of Tommy Wiseau’s The Room, a genuine attempt that became a fascinating and compelling wreck, a cult classic in the making. Sony’s Venom is like a high-budget return to The Room, and it is objectively terrible—I loved it.

Review: Mission: Impossible - Fallout

Tom Cruise's Ethan Hunt is a paranoid, insane, and unruly daredevil. Ethan Hunt is also a guardian angel who will save everyone. These are the two ideas that the latest installment of the venerable Mission: Impossible action series, Fallout, revolve around—and these ideas are not mutually exclusive. More so than the previous films, Fallout goes deeper into Hunt's state of mind, with all of his previous actions and mistakes finally building up to create an unavoidable pile. This character journey comes in the form of what is essentially a two-and-a-half long constant action set piece.

Review: Sorry to Bother You

Every time Tessa Thompson's character in Sorry to Bother You shows up, she is wearing a new pair of earrings of her own design. These serve as the perfect metaphor for the movie itself: they are big, impractical, provocative, lack any subtlety any whatsoever—but more importantly, you love looking at them, and you want to see what will come next. Sorry to Bother You wears its weirdness for all to see, and yet you will still not be prepared for it.

Review: Deadpool 2

Making a Deadpool movie involves a lot of nuance. Yeah, an absurd statement for the character that yells the word 'chimichangas' constantly, but hear me out. Go too far down the spectrum, and you end up with a Deadpool that becomes an 'LOL SO RANDOM!' unbearable meme. On the other end, Deadpool could become standard superhero fare that the character thrives in satirizing. To make such a movie successful, you have to get it just right. So here's my hot take on Deadpool 2: it's the Goldilocks of Deadpool movies.

REVIEW: 'Avengers: Infinity War' (spoiler-free)

Avengers: Infinity War is predictably fun and entertaining, while also being unusually dark and containing a real storyline for its villain. I certainly did not hate it, but it’s hard for me to formulate a final opinion when we have a sequel to wrap everything up next year. I predict that hardcores such as myself will appreciate the film, with everyone else on the fandom spectrum, with general moviegoing audiences at the end of said spectrum, will be divided, and quite possibly alienated. This will not be the film that they expected.

REVIEW: ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ – Relentless, messy, and the MCU at its most entertaining

Thor and Bruce Banner are on the distant planet of Sakaar—take deep breaths, Thor tells Banner, on the verge of panicking from his first off-Earth experience. This is a “place designed to stress me out,” as Banner describes it, with too many sources of visual and audio stimuli, colors everywhere, and things literally flying into his face. This is what watching Thor: Ragnarok was like.

Review: Hidden Figures

This is a film that makes its mission very obvious from its title. When we think of the great accomplishments we’ve made in human history, often there are individuals – and groups – whose contributions go unnoticed. In the case of Katherine Goble Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughn (Octavia Spencer), and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monaé), these women faced both sexism and racism while working at NASA, as astronaut John Glenn (Glenn Powell) prepares his historic space flight.