Concussion (2015)

Concussion (2015)

What’s most surprising about Concussion is that it doesn’t let the NFL off easy. Considering the league has its grubby, saccharine hands all over just about every aspect of American life, it’s fair to wonder if they’d strong-arm Columbia Pictures into making this a vapid puff piece with no lasting … Continue reading

99 Homes (2015)

99 Homes (2015)

99 Homes is a potent morality play, both exposing the criminality behind the housing collapse of the mid-2000’s and the lengths to which one man will go to provide for his family. It extracts just the right amount of anger about an issue for which everyone should be angry while … Continue reading

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

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

San Andreas (2015)

San Andreas (2015)

Save the dog-in-peril, there is nary a disaster movie cliché that goes unturned in San Andreas. It promises large-scale destruction, and that’s exactly what it delivers. Sandwiched among the visual effects showcases are sketchy dialogue and laughably generic character types, but director Brad Peyton and screenwriter Carlton Cuse are much more … Continue reading

The Age of Adaline (2015)

The Age of Adaline (2015)

Talk about having time on your hands. The Age of Adaline tells the story of woman eternally stuck at age twenty-nine. This is the kind of “forever young” scenario we all dream about, but Lee Toland Krieger’s film is much more interested in soapy melodrama and period piece costuming than … Continue reading

McFarland USA (2015)

McFarland, USA (2015)

McFarland USA is that steady, dependable inspirational sports film that Disney churns out and releases at will. The formula is practically as old as the medium itself, but director Niki Caro and her team have crafted a touching human story that supersedes the visually uninteresting sport at the heart of the … Continue reading

Fifty Shades of Grey (2015)

Fifty Shades of Grey (2015)

Fifty Shades of Grey may be the first film in history made specifically for the purposes of hate-watching. Adapted from E.L. James’s unbelievably popular novel (at its height it sold two copies every second), it can be said in absolute terms that whatever lusting and fantasizing readers of the book … Continue reading