The Brothers McMullen (1995) Edward Burns

In the mid-90s it seemed every studio was trying to find the next big little indie title, so there were lots of smaller character-driven films being foisted upon the audience, and while a lot of the studios have eschewed that for sure-things and tentpoles, some studios still take chances. But in the 90s it seemed…

The Dark and The Wicked (2020) – Bryan Bertino

Bryan Bertino who wrote and directed the now iconic horror film, The Strangers, delves into supernatural territory with this unnerving little film that occasionally misses the mark by leaning too heavily into its scares while presenting the idea of a demonic presence as more of a hunting animal, preying on the weakest, separating them from…

Us (2019) – Jordan Peele

Jordan Peele who delivered the incredible Get Out, followed it up with Us, another highly enjoyable horror film layered with scares and social commentary. While there may be some flaws in the film it doesn’t change the fact that it’s hugely enjoyable, filled with fascinating twists and turns, and a fantastic performance by the always…

Uncharted (2022) – Ruben Fleischer

Some questionable narrative choices and other stylistic angles held Uncharted back from being a solid blockbuster and probably crippled its chances of turning into a franchise, which is too bad, because despite the drubbing it took, most of the film is really fun, and there’s a nice interplay between Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg who…

Tropic Thunder (2008) – Ben Stiller

Ben Stiller directed the ultimate Hollywood satire with Tropic Thunder. He developed the story with Justin Theroux, and the pair wrote a script with Ethan Cohen. It’s sharp, pointed, and under its endlessly quotable dialogue and performances is a skewering look at Tinsel Town. Everything seems to be a lie, from promotions to images to…

Avatar: The Way of Water (2022) – James Cameron

It’s been thirteen years since writer/director James Cameron introduced to the distant world of Pandora, and its blue-skinned, lean humanoid inhabitants the Na’vi, who live in harmony with their planet. It’s been thirteen years since we left Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and his wife, Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) and their family has grown, with three children…

Barbarian (2022) – Zach Cregger

Wow. Writer/director Zach Cregger blew me away with this one, completely subverting my expectations while playing with the traditional horror rules in this fantastic thriller of a film. From his framing to camera movement to casting to the way he doles out the story, Cregger plays with an increasingly film-savvy and educated horror audience and…

Lady in White (1988) – Frank LaLoggia

Frank LaLoggia scarred a number of my generation with his film Lady in White, which he wrote and directed. I remember countless friends, and others telling me how much it freaked me out. I had seen it once in the late 80s, just as I was getting into horror movies as a late teenager, and…

TIFf ’22: Patrick and the Whale

I have been enchanted by cetaceans from the first time I heard whale song in my early teens. They fascinate me. And while our history with our fellow mammals is violent and bloody at best, we’ve slowly begun to put that behind us as we work to learn more about these amazing beings we share…

Heat 2 (2022) – Michael Mann & Meg Gardiner

Iconic Holywood writer/director Michael Mann pairs up with acclaimed novelist Meg Gardiner to revisit and expand on the world of cop Vincent Hanna, thieves Neil McCauley and Chris Shiherlis and the pursuit of their goals before and after the events portrayed in the 1995 film. Coiled like a spring, this crime thriller ratchets up the…