A collection of reviews I’ve written for the fashion/culture publication Bellus magazine. The online reprints of the reviews are linked below:
Deadpool – 4 Stars (out of Five)
Deadpool is a “comic book movie” less in the sense that it has a rich mythology, but more in the sense that it’s unabashedly silly. Like his comic counterpart, the cinematic Deadpool is a manic Bugs Bunny figure, with a dialogue composed primarily of scatological one-liners delivered to both fellow characters and we, the audience. Sure, it acknowledges it lineage to the proper X-Men films [..] but its content makes it off-limits to those otherwise kid- and teen-friendly films.
Hail, Caesar! – 3 1/2 Stars
Hail Caesar! is one of “those kinds” of Coen Brothers films. It isn’t a work of pure genius like Fargo or No Country for Old Men, nor does it appear to have the cult appeal of Miller’s Crossing or The Big Lebowski. Hail Caesar! falls into the category of “also ran” Coen films; the ones existing in a strange limbo of not being terrible, but not quite memorable either. [..] The Coen Brothers’ Hail Caesar! isn’t the prestige picture like its film-within-a-film namesake. It’s just a breezy preview before the Coens’ next big attraction.
Zoolander 2 – 2 1/2 Stars
Zoolander 2 has a few fleeting moments showing the greatness that could have been, but it’s satisfied imitating the greatness that was. If that’s the best one could ask for, you’re better off just watching the original again.
It Follows – Four Stars
Although the film isn’t exactly perfect – some character seem to vanish for mere plot convenience – it’s earned its reputation as a festival darling. With an unsettling atmosphere and debatable commentary on sexuality, the film succeeds in using old tricks with new players.
X-Men: Days of Future Past – Four Stars
What made X-Men: First Class so appealing was that it returned the films to their comic roots: the conflict of the quasi-pacifist Xavier and the extremist Magneto, with Mystique embodying the struggle to choose between them. That struggle is still at the heart of Days of Future Past, coupled with the idea that we can and should always try to improve ourselves for the sake of the future. Add in the funniest use of “Time in a Bottle” since The Muppet Show and you’ve got a fun flick on your hands.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – 3 1/2 Stars
Director Matt Reeves (Cloverfield) has done with the franchise what no other director has done since the ‘70s: make an Apes film with crowd-pleasing action, not use said action to short-change the more heady ideas of the story, and pull off a story that makes one genuinely eager for the next installment.
Plus, the film drops James Franco for the sight of an ape on horseback jumping through fire whilst shooting two military-grade machine guns. That’s a win-win for everyone.