“First Man” (2018)

Instead of focusing solely on the technicals of the infamous Apollo 11 mission, it instead much more wisely chooses a much more personal and introspective look at the man behind the mission; Neil Armstrong. This film is an incredible character study for one of the most famous men of the 20th Century, as it really dives into his motivations and the psychology of what must’ve been going through his head in the moments leading up to the landing. Ryan Gosling does a great job, Claire Foy is absolutely brilliant as his wife, and Damien Chazelle’s direction is simply stunning. It may occasionally try to cram too much information at once, but this is a visually stunning and highly impactful experience.

Rating: 4.5/5

“Hereditary” (2018)

This film is extremely frustrating, because there is quite a lot to like about it, but unfortunately, there’s also a lot to not like. The film’s first half is genius, including one of the best scenes of the year. But the film’s second half simply isn’t. It just winds up morphing from a haunting film about guilt and death into a generic ghost story. I didn’t find any of the scenes in the second half frightening in the slightest, I thought the ending was silly and stupid, and the film goes out of its way to explain every little thing that’s going on, completely stripping away the mystery, and therefore fright. Still worth watching for the stuff that does work, but it’s not great.

Rating: 3/5

“Movie 43” (2013)

What do a parent writing an insult on their son in poop, a young boy calling 911 because his date’s having her first period, and a man’s bowels exploding when he gets hit by a car have in common? That’s right; none of these ideas are even remotely funny. Also, they’re in “Movie 43,” one of the most desperate, vacuous and screechingly unfunny films ever devised. The only person in this star-studded cast who somehow managed to escape with their dignity intact is Dennis Quaid. Nobody else does. Not one. This is more than just an unfunny comedy; it is a comedy void. Its reputation is not unwarranted; it truly is as awful as you’ve heard.

Rating: 0.5/5

“John Wick: Chapter 2” (2017)

This film does exactly what a great sequel to an already great film should do; it takes the elements that were great in the original film, and makes them even better. The action’s better, the pacing’s tighter, the storyline’s better, and the mythos and world-building are better, and are actually expanded upon. The film’s action sequences are simply mesmerizing and hypnotizing. They’re so good in fact, that you’ll almost feel cheated when you watch other action films, because they’ll feel so much tamer in comparison. There is very little about this film I don’t like, and it ranks as not only one of the best action sequels of all time, but one of the best action films period.

Rating: 5/5

“John Wick” (2014)

I didn’t have the highest expectations when I first saw this film, and I was blown away by the experience. This was a fantastically entertaining action film, that showcases one of Keanu Reeve’s best performances in years, managing to sell both the genuine pathos of the film, as well as an effortless badass aura. One of the things I really liked about this film was how it illustrates how this film’s criminal underworld operates. I love the idea of a hotel for assassins with a strict no-kill policy, and I loved the sense of honor and moral codes amongst them. Stylized, moving, and genuinely thrilling, this was a great action film that served as an excellent springboard for the awesomeness that was to follow.

Rating: 4.5/5

“The Spy Who Dumped Me” (2018)

You know you’re watching a bad comedy when you can give the exact number of times you laughed while watching it. In my case, it was two. This is an extremely uninspired spy comedy, and a prime example of safe studio-mandated fluff. Mila Kunis and Kate MacKinnon have okay chemistry, when Mackinnon’s character isn’t insufferably written. The film’s biggest problem is that the film’s rather shocking instances of extremely graphic violence, doesn’t really gel all that well with the film’s lowbrow humor. This movie is predictable and dull. It may not be the worst thing ever made, and there are instances of things in it that are okay, but there is absolutely nothing in here that makes this worth seeking out.

Rating: 2/5

“Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” (2016)

This is nowhere near a great piece of filmmaking, but I found myself consistently entertained by this film. The four lead actors are all very talented comedians, and they have good chemistry with each other. It also helps that for an R rated comedy, it doesn’t feel like this film is crass just for the sake of being crass. And while I do wish that the film had done a little bit more with its comedic premise, it does just enough, and has just enough genuinely funny jokes, that I found this comedy was actually worth my time, even if it doesn’t try to push any boundaries, or have any aspirations other than being a generic throwaway comedy.

Rating: 3.5/5

“Hancock” (2008)

This superhero comedy probably has one of the most intriguing premises ever for a superhero film; what would happen if a rude, obnoxious drunk was given superpowers, and everyone expected him to be a hero, but he didn’t want to be? That is a premise that is wide open for comedic potential. Unfortunately, this film only takes advantage of it for the first half. Then, once the film’s midway twist is revealed, the film suddenly becomes the very generic and boring superhero film that it was initially lampooning. It’s a shame, because the first half actually was pretty good, and Will Smith was a great choice for the lead, but it’s biggest sin is that it doesn’t fully capitalize on its fantastic premise.

Rating: 2.5/5

“The Hateful Eight” (2015)

This film is what happens when you cross Agatha Christie with Quentin Tarantino, a combination that I didn’t know I wanted, but now am very happy that I got. This film showcases that Tarantino understands set-up and build-up incredibly, as he lets the mystery and unease slowly and uncomfortably unfold, until the film’s sudden explosion of inevitably violence finally rears its head. There are a number of genuinely surprising twists and turns, the film is transfixing, and, despite it’s nearly three-hour long runtime and its slower pace compared to Tarantino’s other works, this film goes by like a breeze. This film is well acted, extremely entertaining, and a chillingly claustrophobic mystery that masterfully builds and releases tension.

Rating: 5/5

“The Gallows” (2015)

Shot on a miniscule budget of $100,000, you’d think it would be an impressive feat that they were able to make a film with that small a budget, until you actually watch it and understand why. For the first 40 minutes, nothing happens. At all. Then when the horror aspect finally rears its head, this film is mostly made up of characters walking down dark hallways, reacting to predictable jump scares. The characters are poorly written, horribly unlikable horror bait, and the film’s twist ending is laughably nonsensical. The only reason this film is spared my lowest rating, is because one of the death scenes was surprisingly decent. But the rest of the film is garbage, and deserves to be strung up by its neck.

Rating: 1/5