‘Finding Yingying’ Review – More than a True Crime Documentary

At 26, Yingying Zhang leaves China to study abroad in the United States at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. A young ecologist filled with dreams, she aspired to one day be a married professor with children. Studying in the U.S. would provide her with greater opportunities, so her family back in Nanping, China did…

‘I’ll Meet You There’ Review – Flawed, But Warm and Important

I’ll Meet You There is the type of film where characters say things like “we can't move forward until we face the past.” It is not that this sentiment is untrue, but rather that writer/director Iram Parveen Bilal is working with such interesting ideas that rigid following of soapy cliches and blandness feel frustrating. The…

‘Critical Thinking’ Review – John Leguizamo Mines Culture and Excitement from Chess

Critical Thinking, the directorial debut of John Leguizamo (who boasts well over 200 credits on IMDb), falls into the subgenre of movies where inspiring teachers have to lift up underprivileged students. Coming after films like Freedom Writers and Stand and Deliver, which was infamously spoofed by South Park, "How do I reach these kids?", is certainly…

‘The Way Back’ Review – A Raw and Cathartic Redemption Story For Ben Affleck

Director Gavin O’Connor’s (The Accountant) The Way Back is the kind of sports movie that becomes a genre-defining classic. It is not one that abides by too many typical genre tropes. The film opts to deliver an authentic, vulnerable character study that leaves theatrics at the door. The Way Back follows an alcoholic construction worker…

‘Onward’ Review – Heartwarming Brotherly Love Makes Up for the Rest

Fantasy has seen a massive resurgence in the past decade thanks to popular series like Game of Thrones and The Witcher, as well as the modern rise of Dungeons and Dragons. Set within rich realms of wizards, dragons, and adventure- it seems obvious that Disney, with their own distinct brand of magic, would want to…

‘The Invisible Man’ Review – Innovative and Gripping to the Most Chilling Degree

The ludicrous days of Universal's failed "Dark Universe" may not be far behind, but director and writer Leigh Whannell makes it all feel like a fever dream with The Invisible Man. Instead of the previously announced more conventional adaptation of H. G. Wells' classic novel, that would mainly serve as a cog in a cinematic…

‘The Call of the Wild’ Review – Strong Storytelling Manages to Overcome Awkward Effects

The Call of the Wild is a classic tale that has withstood the test of time. Since it was first serialized in The Saturday Evening Post over a century ago in 1903, Jack London's story about the pull and power of nature has received numerous adaptations. The last one, 1997's The Call of the Wild:…

‘Gretel & Hansel’ Review – Superb Style Almost Makes Up for a Laborious Pace

The prospect of yet another take on the Hansel and Gretel fairy tale will probably make you roll your eyes at first. As one of the most popular Brothers Grimm stories, it has been through countless retellings and adaptations for more than two centuries. When you have versions of the tale that range from stoner…

Op-ed: ‘6 Underground’ Should Be Classified as a Form of Pollution

It might sound ridiculous to call Michael Bay an auteur, but when it comes to large scale action presented to you in the most machismo and commercialized way possible- there is no greater artist than Bay. The director began his career making music videos before shifting towards commercials, where his campaigns for Miller Lite and…

‘Richard Jewell’ Review – Clint Eastwood’s Kind Tale is Engrossing, Understated, and Moving

July 27th, 1996, a bomb exploded at Centennial Park in midst of the Summer Olympics. Two people died. A tragedy that has been largely forgotten, whether it be the mistreatment of Jewell or the bombing. Clint Eastwood's film is fantastically well-made, moving, and full of heart. Starring Paul Walter Hauser (I, Tonya, BlacKkKlansman), Kathy Bates,…