• The Haunting of Bly Manor

    The Haunting of Bly Manor

    ★★★★

    The Haunting of Bly Manor set itself up for failure. As a standalone experience, Bly Manor is beautifully shot and brilliantly written, but when contrasted with The Haunting of Hill House, it pales in comparison. The emotional and dramatic payoff doesn't compare, and the ensemble of performers isn't as well-rounded. I really enjoyed Bly Manor, don't get me wrong, but was it wasn't Hill House.

    Flanagan knows how to write dialogue. A gothic-horror monologue drama doesn't necessarily sound enticing, but…

  • The Hunt

    The Hunt

    ★½

    Did 2020 really need an allegorical film about the climate plaguing American politics? Perhaps, but not The Hunt.

    The Hunt, from inception, was a terrible idea.

    Imagine, if you will, hammering a nail. As you go to hammer the nail, you miss and slam your thumb full force. That throbbing feeling of heat and pain? That is where The Hunt resides. It wanted to "nail" the concept, but instead, it missed, and it missed in the worst way. It gave…

  • Overlord

    Overlord

    ★½

    The greatest danger in art is an indifferent audience. Overlord made me feel indifferent. It's not a war film. It's not a sci-fi film. It's not a zombie film. I'm not sure what Overlord is; I sure as hell couldn't tell you anything important from the plot, and I just watched it. Woof.

  • 10 Cloverfield Lane

    10 Cloverfield Lane

    ★★★★

    10 Cloverfield Lane is stylistically brilliant. The acting performances, especially by John Goodman, are top-notch, the cinematography is gorgeous, and the set design works on multiple levels. However, the opening credits and post-escape extraterrestrial tie-in prevent Trachtenberg's debut from being a 4.5 or 5-star film.

    The Cloverfield franchise has grown into an anthology of sorts, which I am all for, but knowing about the global disaster is all the anthology needs to connect the films. The final 15 minutes are…

  • Best Wishes, Warmest Regards: A Schitt's Creek Farewell

    Best Wishes, Warmest Regards: A Schitt's Creek Farewell

    The importance of representation in television and cinema cannot be understated. I respect Schitt's Creek for all the work they've done both on and off-screen to ensure proper representation continues to grow in the industry. It's not about gay relationships; it's about true relationships. Dan Levy's assertion seems so obvious, yet television has been getting it wrong for decades. I'm looking at you Modern Family.

    A show like Schitt's Creek would struggle to find backing in the United States today,…

  • Swingers

    Swingers

    ★★★★½

    The 2 A.M. phone call scene in Swingers is iconic, not just because it's funny, but because it's relatable. As someone who hasn't been in the dating game in over a decade, I can only imagine this would be my reality if I were thrust unwillingly back into the world of casual bar encounters. Many would argue Swingers hasn't aged well with the invention of the dating app, but first impressions will always be awkward no matter how you arrived…

  • Impractical Jokers: The Movie

    Impractical Jokers: The Movie

    ★★½

    I'm a big fan of the Impractical Jokers, but I was not a big fan of Impractical Jokers: The Movie. If this film taught me one thing, it's this; the 22-minute formula works. The challenge scenes are genuinely funny, but the random punishments, forced flashbacks, and horrendous scripted scenes are not. The whole experience felt disjointed and long. The buildup to "we're friends, no matter what" was a major letdown. We get it, but that's not why people watch your program.

  • Made

    Made

    ★★★★

    Made is longer than it needs to be, and Vince Vaughn is on the verge of unbearable, but Favreau's directing potential is on full display. Favreau's dialogue is always sharp and comedic, but the way the camera lingers on the main character's conversations highlights his early directing style. Made doesn't have as much "life" as Chef or Swingers, but it does show the most raw skill.

    It had easily been a decade since I last partook in Made, and I…

  • Chef

    Chef

    ★★★★½

    I'm taking a deep dive into the works of Jon Favreau this year as a lead up to my first viewing of The Mandalorian. With the seemingly universal praise his efforts garner for the Disney+ project, I felt it necessary to rediscover his roots.

    Thus far, Chef is still my favorite directorial project from Favreau.

    Chef, similar to his debut Made, has life; the characters feel real and there is an undeniable energy to the project. I'm rarely a proponent…

  • A Recipe for Seduction

    A Recipe for Seduction

    I thought about giving this a 1/2 rating, but it's better than The Last Airbender.

  • National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

    National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

    ★★★★

    The audio commentary on National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation is 97 minutes of the entire cast desperately avoiding the fact that they hate Chevy Chase. They try to make the stories cute and cover up their feelings with an awkward laugh, but they're obvious. Beverly D'Angelo is strait up passive-aggressive, and Johnny Galecki does his damndest to keep the whole thing from derailing. It's one of the most uncomfortable audio commentaries I've ever listened to, and it is worth your time. It's a Christmas classic for a reason, even if everyone involved has seething hate for the lovable lead.

  • Dr. Seuss' The Grinch Musical

    Dr. Seuss' The Grinch Musical

    I had the pleasure of seeing Dr. Seuss's The Grinch Musical! when it toured a few years ago. As an avid supporter of live theatre, and season ticket holder of Broadway in Indianapolis, I see everything that comes through. The Grinch was not a show I had actively sought out, so my expectations were pretty low. I anticipated a one-act, classic structure, kid-centric romp, and in many ways, that is what I got. However, I must admit that despite the…