‘Class of 1999’ – A Perfectly Disreputable B-Movie Experience

In a time when we’re skittish about whether schools should be open or teach online to combat COVID-19, here’s a movie about the fear of school that has no relevance whatsoever. This is Mark L. Lester’s “Class of 1999,” a nasty sci-fi pulp thriller from 1990 about a high school experience even scarier than surviving …

‘Antebellum’ Delivers Lectures, Empowerment and Zero Thrills

The “Get Out” formula isn’t as easy as it looks. Jordan Peele’s instant classic fused bigotry, horror and social awareness in a way that brought everyone to the table. An excellent movie will do that, no matter the positions it takes. “Antebellum” does nothing of the kind. The thriller uses a slavery story line to …

‘Wall of Mexico’ Offers Sumptuous Visuals, Vapid Arguments

The central gimmick behind “The Wall of Mexico” is a doozy. The story focuses on a wealthy Mexican clan and its working-class American help. Right away “The Wall of Mexico” grabs our attention, and the film’s dazzling camera work keeps it … for a while. We soon realize the tale’s dramatic elements hold little sway …

‘Run Hide Fight’ Packs Gritty Girl Power Without Woke Theatrics

“Run Hide Fight” shouldn’t exist in today’s marketplace. The gritty actioner follows a teen who, caught in the middle of a school shooting, does the unthinkable.  She fights back. The very premise sent film scribes into full pearl-clutching mode. In a way, that’s understandable. School shootings are part of our nightmarish “new normal.” Should they …

Why ‘The Comfort of Strangers’ Richly Deserved a Criterion Collection Face Lift

Paul Schrader’s “The Comfort of Strangers” is a one-of-a-kind thriller given new life courtesy of The Criterion Collection. It stars Natasha Richardson and Rupert Everett as Mary and Colin, a European couple who take a trip to Venice to get away from her two children and the routine of their relationship. One night, while getting …

‘Broken Hearts Gallery’ Proves Rom-Coms Aren’t Dead Yet

There’s life left in the rom-com template, even if Hollywood pushed most of these romances off to streaming services. Case in point: “The Broken Hearts Gallery,” a rom-com checking all the genre boxes sans apology. The wacky/supportive best friends The singular gimmick which brings the couple together The meet cute moment It’s set in, where else, …

‘Miller’s Crossing’ at 30: The Movie That Changed Everything for the Coen Brothers

Joel and Ethan Coen’s “Miller’s Crossing” begins with a lecture. We hear Johnny Caspar (Jon Polito), who is addressing a yet-to-be-identified figure, and us, providing a discourse on the subject of ethics. “I’m talking about friendship, I’m talking about class, I’m talking about…ethics.” Caspar is addressing Leo, played by Albert Finney and Tom, Leo’s right-hand …

‘The Unfamiliar’ Proves Unforgivable for Horror Fans, Hawaiians

Director Henk Pretorius’s British horror film, “The Unfamiliar,” is about Elizabeth, a British army doctor (Jemima West) who returns to her family after experiencing the trauma of war. Once at home with her husband (Christopher Dane) and two children, she immediately begins seeing and hearing demonic visions. Are these hallucinations or a result of Post-Traumatic …

‘Tenet’ Is a Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery Blurred by Hubris

“Does your head hurt yet?” … “I have no idea what I’m talking about.” Key characters in Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” utter those lines in the director’s latest jigsaw puzzle gussied up as a feature film. The meta moments land for all the wrong reasons. For those who found “Inception” too knotty, too obsessed with explaining …

Why ‘Flesh and Bone’s’ Bold Storytelling Got Ignored

Steven Kloves’ “Flesh and Bone” begins with the ominous sounds of wind chimes. Specifically, home-made chimes that are made from kitchen spoons, a detail that will linger with the viewer once the ending has made everything connect. What the sound of sprinklers was for Lynne Ramsay’s “We Need to Talk About Kevin,” chimes are for …