‘Unicorn Store’ is a quirky, glittery directorial debut for Larson

Nearly two years after its Toronto International Film Festival premiere, Brie Larson’s directorial debut “Unicorn Store” (2017) officially hit Netflix for everyone to see and enjoy. It’s a colorful debut, full of bright paint and plenty of shiny spectacle. And those sparkles aren’t just for show. At its heart, “Unicorn Store” is a flawed story […]

‘Us’ scares, provokes, delights

With Jordan Peele’s breakout hit “Get Out” (2017), the director proved to the world that he possesses both a prolific power for story-telling and the ability to tacitly discuss America’s ongoing class and race-based struggles. Of course, fans have been eagerly waiting for more, and “Us” (2019) does not disappoint. With terrifying performances, the movie […]

‘Ash is Purest White’ is a tender enigmatic tale of loyalty, change

Let’s talk about righteousness. It is the prevailing idea of Zhangke Jia’s newest gangster film, “Ash is Purest White” (2018). Part love story, part crime drama, part political rumination, this film follows the relationship of crime lord Bin (Fan Liao) and his girlfriend Qiao (Tao Zhao) from the early 2000s to the present. “Ash is Purest White” […]

‘Mapplethorpe’ is an intriguing but tame film on the legendary provocative artist

“Mapplethorpe” (2018) is the newest biopic starring Matt Smith (of “Doctor Who” fame) as Robert Mapplethorpe, an iconic photographer of the 1970s whose subjects ranged from flowers to friends to an underground BDSM club. The movie follows Mapplethorpe from his early years as a starving artist with Patti Smith (Marianne Rendón), to his growing prominence […]

‘Bird Box’ a cage of bad ideas

Content Warning: This article mentions self-harm and suicide. ‘Netflix Original.’ This term has, in recent years, taken on an almost reverent meaning, symbolizing the epitome of production, entertainment and cinematic value. Yet some of Netflix’s recent forays into originality have proven that labels are sometimes undeserved; “Iron Fist” (2017–18) and “Disjointed” (2017–18) stand out as […]

‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ is a crime of a movie

Among recent movie franchises, none have managed to capture the imagination and wonder of a generation quite like Harry Potter. Both the movies and the books they were inspired by are regarded as charming, wonderous and, of course, magical. As part of the spin-off movie series based on a Hogwarts textbook, “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes […]

‘The Girl in the Spider’s Web’ gets caught in its own web

A scene in Sony Pictures’ “The Girl in the Spider’s Web” depicts Lisbeth Salander (Claire Foy) after she has been captured, beaten and bruised. She finds herself in a skin-tight latex bag with a vacuum that sucks the air from the bag, torturously suffocating her. With every move, the latex seems to tighten more until the scene becomes […]

‘Suspiria’ achieves visual perfection despite half-baked plotline

Since the remake of Dario Argento’s 1977 classic was announced last year, vintage horror enthusiasts have been impatiently waiting for the release of Luca Guadagnino’s “Suspiria.” The Palermo-born film director, best known for the universally acclaimed “Call Me by Your Name” (2017), left his distinctive mark on “Suspiria,” directing a movie that is much more macabre yet […]

‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ is musical fun but muddles its material

The stories of the British rock band, Queen, and the life of its lead singer, Freddie Mercury, are ones of personal identity, professional struggle and musical creativity. They are too many mountains of material for one film to climb, and “Bohemian Rhapsody” was destined for mediocrity when it decided to take on the challenge. Helmed by the insanely talented […]

‘Beautiful Boy’ portrays realities of addiction, lacks emotional insight

Content warning: This article discusses addiction. Addiction is the ultimate disruptor, ruining not only the lives of those who immediately suffer from it but everyone who encounters it, forever snarling life’s supposedly linear path. In “Beautiful Boy,” father David Sheff (Steve Carell) is left struggling after his successful son Nic Sheff (Timothée Chalamet) falls victim […]