Movie reviews Archive

Preview of Oscars 2018

March 2, 2018 Matthew Kauffman Smith

My expectations for the Academy Awards this year are low. I always expect—and even enjoy—the campiness. I know I’m going to hear songs that make me cringe. I know there is going to be stilted dialogue. I know host Jimmy Kimmel will make President Trump jokes. I also know that last year is impossible to beat. Last year I predicted Moonlight would win, and after La La Land accidentally won the award, I was ready to retire from predictions forever. I watched last year’s ceremony, but I do not remember anything but the last five minutes. To close out the […]

Not actually a review

February 24, 2017 Matthew Kauffman Smith

Put your proverbial blindfolds on for a minute and ponder the contrast of two movies. Movie A impressed critics enough to earn a cumulative score of 83 on Metacritic and scored two Golden Globe nominations. By contrast, Movie B annoyed critics, earning a paltry score of 40 on Metacritic and earning two nominations for the Razzies, which serve as the anti-Oscars and dole out awards for the worst movies and performances of the year. There always seems to be a movie that racks up nominations but goes home empty-handed. Okay, blindfolds off. Movie A? 20th Century Women. Movie B? Suicide […]

Open Season on Awards

January 27, 2017 Matthew Kauffman Smith

It’s open season. Not duck season, not deer season. It’s awards season, and you don’t even need a permit to collect your bounty. The next month will bring not only the most prestigious film and music award shows but also some lesser-known—but perhaps more interesting—award shows. By the way, my opening you just read was terrible. Dreadful. Hokey. But it could have easily been an introduction at an awards show. The Golden Globes ushered in 2017 awards season two weeks ago, and the next month will bring not only the most prestigious film and music award shows but also some […]

A Hologram for the King

(, , , , , , )
May 13, 2016 Vic Thiessen

German filmmaker Tom Tykwer doesn’t get much respect in North America. This has always been a mystery to me, because in Europe he’s considered one of the greats and he’s been one of my very favorite directors since he made one of my 25 favorite films of all time, Run Lola Run, in 1998 (it’s the only one of Tykwer’s films that was critically acclaimed in North America). In the brilliant opening scene, we learn that Alan has lost his house, his wife, and his car. His personal life feels like a roller coaster and his work isn’t going well […]

Top 10 Films of 2015

January 27, 2016 Melodie Davis

Editor’s Note: We’ve given up trying to regulate the creative geniuses who review films for Our critics here have selected anywhere from 4 to 10 films for their “Top 10 List”; some go in reverse countdown order, and we’ve retained their formats. The writers also give their reasons how they came up with the number of films they included! OH, AND SPOILER ALERT IN JERRY’S SHORT LIST!! Finally, at the very end of this feature, we’re introducing a movie list from Nancy Myers. The films that made her list here all rate “5 stars” in her estimation. Nancy is Mennonite blogger […]

Four Screenings at the Avalon Theater, Washington, D.C.

November 6, 2015 Jerry L. Holsopple

Nelly (Nina Hoss), a German nightclub singer, but also a Jew and a death camp survivor, enters occupied Berlin at the beginning of Phoenix to have her face reconstructed after the disfiguring caused by a bullet wound. She emerges with a new face, one at least different enough that her husband, Johnny (Ronald Zehrfeld), doesn’t recognize her. She discovers that she now has a claim to considerable wealth because all of her family has been killed in the camps. Johnny, believing she is dead, wants to get some of this money. Nelly, instead of claiming to be herself, enters into […]

99 Homes and Beasts of No Nation

October 23, 2015 Michelle D. Sinclair

Movie intensity has ratcheted tighter in recent weeks as Oscar time approaches. Since Hollywood leans heavily on franchising and remakes to make bank, we’re lucky there are still incentives to make movies that balance the bombast, films with no chance of winding up on novelty T-shirts. Two recent releases—99 Homes and Beasts of No Nation—are classic award-season fodder, though Homes is a quiet film and will probably not get much attention come February. However, both topics (the recent foreclosure crisis and child soldiering in Africa) are the kind of thing we grow numb to in the news, and sometimes it […]

Highlights of the Edmonton International Film Festival

October 16, 2015 Vic Thiessen

I had the privilege of spending the first 10 days of October watching 20 films at the Edmonton International Film Festival (EIFF). The EIFF is quickly becoming one of the continent’s better festivals, with a top-notch selection of foreign and independent films scheduled for release over the next few months. Below you will find capsule reviews of eight of the most important films I watched (in alphabetical order): My favorite film at the Edmonton International Film Festival is an extraordinary filmmaking achievement. Made by German director Sebastian Schipper, Victoria was filmed in one shot lasting 140 minutes. Bikes vs Cars […]