Room (2015)

Room (2015)

Watching Room is essentially the act of barely breathing and nearly crying for two hours. It’s a devastating, yet surprisingly uplifting celebration of life, survival instinct, and the impenetrable bond between mother and son. Featuring two of the year’s best performances, nearly unbearable suspense and raw emotion, and a knack for … Continue reading

The Revenant (2015)

The Revenant (2015)

At its most fundamental, The Revenant is as spare and simple a revenge story as they come. A man, betrayed by those he trusted, is left for dead only to survive and seek revenge. It’s with brute savagery and dreamlike beauty that director/co-writer Alejandro González Iñárritu (director of last year’s best … Continue reading

Amy (2015)

Amy (2015)

One of the more amazing things about Amy, Asif Kapadia’s tragic and sad documentary about the late singer Amy Winehouse, is just how much footage of Winehouse there was. Today we can all shoot video on the fly with smartphones, but Amy begins in 2001, when Winehouse was only eighteen. Much … Continue reading

Spotlight (2015)

Spotlight (2015)

Spotlight is one of the great investigative journalism films; compelling, flawlessly acted, and successful in its invitation to join in the hunt for the truth. It’s enough to make you think twice about the easy, convenient dismissal of the importance of newspapers in our digital times. Even with an ending … Continue reading

Brooklyn (2015)

Brooklyn (2015)

Brooklyn is a classic, beautifully shot romance that is one of the season’s true crowd-pleasing features. It doesn’t contain a lot of surprises or stakes, but commands attention with well-drawn, likable characters, a convincing sense of time and place, and a fantastic lead performance from Saoirse Ronan. It’s also a moving … Continue reading

Secret In Their Eyes (2015)

Secret In Their Eyes (2015)

Secret in Their Eyes, a remake of the 2009 Oscar-winning Argentinian film El secreto de sus ojos, is an old-school, taut, and endlessly involving thriller. The suspense-drama isn’t much in style these days, but this film is a swift reminder that the genre can still bring the heat. As adapted … Continue reading

Love the Coopers (2015)

Love the Coopers (2015)

Love the Coopers features no fewer than six dog reaction shots. Has a successful comedy ever contained this distraction and desperate plea for a chuckle, “awww,” or both? It’s really just the beginning of the problems for this confused, temperamental, and mostly miserable film. Love the Coopers is as much a comedy … Continue reading

Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon (2015)

Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon (2015)

Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon is a fast-paced, often hilarious look at the magazine the defined lewd, counter-culture humor. Most contemporary audiences likely know the name and its association with such timeless cinematic comedies as Animal House, Caddyshack, and Vacation. But in its heyday the … Continue reading

The Wolfpack (2015)

The Wolfpack (2015)

As the story goes, director Crystal Moselle met the “wolfpack,” otherwise known as the Angulo brothers, by chance in Manhattan in 2010. Struck by their Reservoir Dogs-esque black Ray-Ban sunglasses, leather coats, and waist-length hair, she became friends with the group and soon uncovered the kind of story documentary filmmakers dream about. … Continue reading

Spectre (2015)

Spectre (2015)

With Spectre, the James Bond series has once again reached a crossroads. The decision can really be simplified down to this: do we want to continue this dark, gritty charade or actually have some fun again? Spectre, despite its lush locales and trademark superb action set pieces, is a mostly … Continue reading