Plus iconic performances from Jessica Chastain and Bruce Willis. (First published April 15th, 2022, on Substack and Patreon.)
A snappy, snarky, never-ever sentimental concoction of cartoon chaos meets hip heist flick. Its breezy swagger extends to the delightful animation, organic and mellow, hot and cool at the same time.
A screaming deluge of metal and rubber devoid of drama, suspense, and elegance. Instead it’s random vehicular chaos enacted with the same energy of a four-year-old smashing his toys into one another.
An ultra-low-budget marvel, a perspective on societal disruption and disorder as everyday precariousness comes for those previously sheltered from it. Barely speculative, maybe terrifyingly prescient.
“Hunger Ward,” an unvarnished vérité look at starving Yemeni children and the medics trying to save them, best encapsulates the human experience of pain and resilience that all the nominees embody.
A vicious, delicious Hollywood sendup, deconstructing — like a wrecking ball deconstructs — indie filmmaking, cinematic violence, and the industry’s treatment of women. Write what you know? Hoo boy.
An appalling melange of insipid disaster drama and implausible romance with a bit of dystopian satire thrown in. This is a crass cash-in meant to prey on our pandemic anxieties, not grapple with them.
I love the initial cynicism of this sendup of Christian cinema, and love even more how it goes on to punch up rather than down, and embraces sincerity and friendship with good cheer and gentle zing.
A winsome Tilda Cobham-Hervey leads a rote rags-to-riches tale, though its rampant sexism is a villain women will recognize. Needs to be seen, even if it’s not quite the tribute Helen Reddy deserves.
The chill zen and goofy charm of GenX’s philosopher-fools remains intact, but their latest adventure is too familiar a retelling. Still, “Be excellent to each other” won’t ever not be worth heeding.