The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 deflates like a bad souffle

Posted in Movies, Reviews with tags , , , , , , on November 20, 2015 by Sarah

mockingjayposterHERE BE SPOILERS

Katniss Everdeen is the Girl On Fire, the survivor of multiple brutal televised child murder competitions, and generally a steely, boss bitch. She’s become the figurehead of a revolution, and after spending the previous movie starring in political attack ads, this time she’s out on the streets, trying to commit more murder and watching other people’s political attack ads. She spends most of the final chapter of her story staring vacantly into the middle distance as other people explain things to her, or tell her what to do next, and occasionally she pauses to listen to two unworthy boys she does not seem particularly interested in argue over which one of them should win her at the end of the movie. You know, like a prize. Continue reading

Angelina Jolie’s experimental, trying By The Sea

Posted in Movies, Reviews with tags , , , , , on November 17, 2015 by Sarah

By_The_Sea_posterAngelina Jolie’s third movie as a director, By The Sea, is like a curio cabinet. The cabinet itself is very well crafted and exquisite to look at, and inside are many interesting things. But really, no matter how pretty it is, all you’re doing is pawing through some junk. The film, which is also written by Jolie, is beautiful to look at and it contains some interesting ideas and turns, but the story is so thin it’s almost non-existent. The result is an uneven film that tests viewers’ patience as holes in the narrative are filled with unhappy stares and beauty shots of the Maltese coastline (standing in for the south of France). Continue reading

Fall Movie Preview: November 2015

Posted in Movies, Previews with tags , , , , , , on November 12, 2015 by Sarah

November 4


Saoirse Ronan stars as an Irish immigrant in the 1950s torn between a life in the new world and the one she left back home in the old. The movie has been getting great reviews, particularly for Ronan’s performance.


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Steve Jobs: Portrait of the Artist as an Asshole

Posted in Movies, Reviews with tags , , , , , on October 27, 2015 by Sarah

steve-jobs-movie-posterAfter much sturm and drang getting it to the big screen, the Aaron Sorkin-penned biopic Steve Jobs finally in wide release, where it face-planted for reasons ranging from “Michael Fassbender isn’t a star” to “everyone just spent their money on The Martian and they’re done with movies for the month”. (That second one has a lot more to do with it than anything else.) It’s too bad Steve Jobs was ever taken out of the arthouse, its natural habitat, because it’s actually a really good movie that doesn’t deserve to be remembered as a failure just because general audiences weren’t into it. It’s an excellent character drama featuring stellar performances from Fassbender and Kate Winslet, and if Aaron Sorkin seems like the kind of guy who imagines he’s the besieged lord of the castle of good taste, well. It doesn’t make his dialogue any less entertaining. Continue reading

Emily Blunt is Sidelined Action Heroine in Sicario

Posted in Movies, Reviews with tags , , , , , on October 8, 2015 by Sarah

sicario posterI FINALLY caught up with Sicario after it managed to avoid me for a couple weeks, and while I’m glad I saw it, it did not blow me away. It’s a highly competent movie featuring highly competent actors, made by a bunch of highly competent people, but it’s only intermittently engaging and it does not offer any ideas or insights deeper than your average Nightline special. Directed by Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners, Enemy) and starring Emily Blunt, Sicario is basically Steven Soderbergh’s Traffic with a dash of Michael Mann’s inscrutability. With Roger Deakins working as the director of photography, this is a gorgeous movie to look at, and Villeneuve puts together a few really tense action sequences, but in between the action beats the film is curiously flat, with characters who are all so painfully cool—and one who is epically dumb—that they’re more like ideas of people dreamed up by a sixteen year old boy who thinks CIA agents and hitmen are like, totally awesome. Continue reading

Fall Movie Preview: October 2015

Posted in Movies, Previews with tags , , , , , , , on October 1, 2015 by Sarah

October 2


Ellen Page and Julianne Moore star in this based-on-a-true-story about a terminally ill police officer trying to leave her pension to her partner despite everyone in her crappy New Jersey town being a bigot. The movie is set just ten years ago. Kind of mind blowing.


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Festival Coverage: TIFF 2015

Posted in Movies, Reviews with tags , , on September 30, 2015 by Sarah

I was lucky enough to attend the Toronto International Film Festival and see a bunch of movies—seriously, 17 in 6 days—which I reviewed over at If you missed any of my (stellar, superb, and other superlatives) TIFF coverage, you can find my reviews here:

About Ray

The Assassin

Beasts of No Nation Continue reading


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