The RAMBO Revisit: FIRST BLOOD (1982)

Sylvester Stallone, upon seeing the rough cut of his new action picture First Blood, wanted to buy the rights to the film from producers Mario Kassar and Andrew G. Vajna, because he wanted to destroy all evidence of its existence. The first cut was a long-winded, unwieldy behemoth running over three hours, which is almost impossible … Continue reading The RAMBO Revisit: FIRST BLOOD (1982)

JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM Goes Beyond 11

John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum has everything, and then some. And then some more. It has mixtures of mythologies, even more world building, balletic violence, humor, stakes, a tactile palette of neon, dedicated performances, swords, knives, guns, horses, dogs, a book with a sturdy spine, hints of horror and fantasy amid the chaotic Hong Kong-inspired … Continue reading JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM Goes Beyond 11

UNDER THE SILVER LAKE’s Long, Strange Trip

The first trailer for Under the Silver Lake, director David Robert Mitchell's L.A. neo-noir follow up to his nifty horror picture It Follows, landed on YouTube in March of 2018. It was headed for a summer release, and it appeared to be at least an interesting, esoteric indie that should find its audience. Then it stumbled at Cannes; that's … Continue reading UNDER THE SILVER LAKE’s Long, Strange Trip

Karyn Kusama’s DESTROYER Starts Weird, Finishes Strong

It seemed like those Nicole Kidman set photos from Karyn Kusama's stark LA crime noir Destroyer had been around for years, before the film itself was granted an uber-limited theatrical release and quickly pushed aside at the end of 2018. Kidman, looking haggard and sallow and baked to a crisp by the unforgiving SoCal sun, plays … Continue reading Karyn Kusama’s DESTROYER Starts Weird, Finishes Strong

DRAGGED ACROSS CONCRETE is a Cold Rush of Nasty and Subversive Noir

There is no time to spare once the curtain opens on Dragged Across Concrete, S. Craig Zahler's latest gritty genre opus, his most intentionally provocative yet, slyly, his most subversive. It's a challenging, prickly, heavy mood piece soaked in shadow and light, and it jumps right into the seedy underworld of these lost souls. Every frame seems … Continue reading DRAGGED ACROSS CONCRETE is a Cold Rush of Nasty and Subversive Noir

The Academy Awards are Dying From Self-Inflicted Wounds

For the past few months, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has been slowly killing its Oscar telecast. It's been death by a thousand cuts: a host controversy has plagued the entire season; the inclusion of milquetoast crowdpleasers as legitimate contenders also seem particularly egregious in a year where there has been wonderful … Continue reading The Academy Awards are Dying From Self-Inflicted Wounds

WIDOWS is a Rare, Engaging Thriller for Adults

Widows is the rarest of major studio films, a strictly adult-oriented thriller with very little in the way of pomp and circumstance, directed by Steve McQueen with attention to performance over plot. It's a showcase for an incredible, and incredibly deep, roster of acting greatness. While it may not carry that intensity all the way … Continue reading WIDOWS is a Rare, Engaging Thriller for Adults