• Cinephilia

    Review: The Dead Don’t Die

    Filmmaker Jim Jarmusch is nothing if not versatile, as can happen with a career that spans more than three decades. His early works helped shape a burgeoning independent film scene, while lately he’s indulged in bigger budgets and bolder narratives; 2013’s Only Lovers Left Alive is perhaps one of the best vampire films in the genre, and 2016’s Paterson established Adam Driver as an impressive acting talent beyond the small screen. Jarmusch returns to cinemas this week with The Dead Don’t Die, tackling the zombie film genre as only he could: painfully self-aware, desperate to be funny and so utterly pointless it’s weirdly enjoyable. Corralling an ensemble cast to fawn over,…

  • Cinephilia

    Review: The Last Black Man in San Francisco

    The debut feature film from Joe Talbot (director) and Jimmie Fails (star), The Last Black Man in San Francisco is a labor of love in every sense of the word, a story these two childhood friends have been crafting for years. While it seems like acclaim and adoration have found them overnight (at least, since its premiere at Sundance earlier this year), only a project that has been nurtured and developed and nudged along with the greatest of care and attention to detail could become a final product as fine and well-crafted as this. Rivaling the likes of Barry Jenkins and his remarkable filmmaking in Moonlight, The Last Black Man in San…

  • Just This

    Review: Late Night

    Late Night

    I didn’t know it before seeing Late Night, but apparently jokes involving Doris Kearns Goodwin, the prolific and fascinating historian and author (Team of Rivals, The Bully Pulpit), are a sure-fire way to get me to love your movie. The joke is thrown in during an early encounter quality control agent-turned-comedy writer Molly Patel (Mindy Kaling) has with the host of the late night variety show she’s recently been hired onto. Emma Thompson is that host, Katherine Newbury; it’s a role that cements Thompson’s own iconic character along the lines of Meryl Streep and Miranda Priestley. The moment, though fleeting, is indicative of the film’s sharp wit and intelligence throughout. Neither is wielded…

  • Cinephilia

    Review: Pavarotti

    Ron Howard is at a point in his career (and probably has been for some time) where he can essentially take on whatever projects he likes. He’s long since earned the right to both helm massive blockbusters (most recently 2018’s Solo: A Star Wars Story) and usher pet projects into the world on his own terms. Such seems to be the case with Pavarotti, a documentary recounting the life and work of larger-than-life opera tenor Luciano Pavarotti. Here, Howard liberally channels his knack for creating an emotional moment with an audience, something typically reserved for third-act miracles in his well-known narrative films (Apollo 13, Backdraft, In the Heart of the Sea), in order…

  • Cinephilia

    Review: Ma

    Producer Jason Blum and his filmmaking shingle Blumhouse have made a name for themselves in the horror movie space by consistently delivering scares to grateful audiences and box office returns to grateful investors. The formula is simple: keep the budget low and the action high; a solid script and impressive cast are both a bonus that only help pad the bottom line. With over twenty titles listed as in progress on IMDb, Ma (directed by Tate Taylor) is the latest theatrical release in a veritable horror movie factory, and it fits so well into Blum’s formula that it almost doesn’t matter how wacky the whole thing is by the third act.…

  • Cinephilia

    Review: Non-Fiction

    With popcorn buttered and perfect seats secured at the movie theater this weekend, you might want to buckle in before the previews end and Olivier Assayas’s latest, Non-Fiction, begins. Because once it does, you’re in for a non-stop, sharp-witted, word-heavy treat that will keep you engaged (and giggling) from one moment to the next. In less talented hands, a film that talks (and talks) its way through the death of the publishing industry, the complicated relationships we find ourselves in and just how absurd all of it is at the end of the day would be a heavy-handed bore. Thankfully, Assayas is quite talented indeed. Starring Juliette Binoche (one of the…