Monthly Archives

February 2016

by Ty Landis Film

The Witch | Robert Eggers

February 29, 2016

Robert Eggers’s debut film arrives prepackaged with the usual hype garnered by a Sundance homerun. Now a year removed from that successful premiere, however, assessments of The Witch have somewhat shifted into a less relevant realm concerning whether horror movies have to be really scary to be effective, or to leave a lasting impression. A portrait of paranoia circa 1630s New England—just five decades before the Salem witch trials—Eggers’s chilly tale of a Puritan family driven mad by satanic forces and familial discord mostly…

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#BlockbusterBeat by Matt Lynch Film

Triple 9 | John Hillcoat

So unreconstructed that it barely registers, John Hillcoat’s Triple 9 is a slickly crafted, but almost ruthlessly conventional crime thriller, winding up a handful of cops and crooks like little toys (all played to the hilt by a prestige cast) and watching them stumble into each other in…

February 25, 2016
by Chris Mello Film

Ip Man 3 | Wilson Yip

The most admirable aspect of Wilson Yip’s Ip Man movies is their disinterest in typical biopic aspirations. Instead these films favor strong martial arts action and introspective melodrama. Previous installments have reduced the relationship between Ip and his most famous student, Bruce Lee, to little…

February 10, 2016
by Peter Labuza Film

A War | Tobias Lindholm

In Tobias Lindholm’s A Hijacking, the filmmaker staged a Somali pirate hostage negotiation in real time. The film was all business, keeping any opinions about morality and politics close to the vest until its third act twist. Lindholm’s latest, A War, eschews laser-focused attention for quiet contemplation, and with…

February 9, 2016
#BlockbusterBeat by Matt Lynch Film

Hail, Caesar! | Joel & Ethan Coen

Sticking to a reliable and remarkably elastic formula, the Coen brothers’ 1950s Hollywood farce Hail, Caesar! is, like Burn After Reading or Raising Arizona, another deceptively fluffy screwball comedy belying a search for deeper meaning. Josh Brolin stars as Harry Mannix, head of production and fixer for Capitol Studios (certainly…

February 5, 2016
In Review | Online film and music criticism