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About Defacto Film Reviews

Defacto Film Reviews is a unique site where the film critics are also filmmakers themselves. It will feature weekly reviews as well as lists and more.

Originally formed in 2002 under Defactoweb.com, our website’s chief film critic is Robert Joseph Butler. His top ten lists were featured under Movie City News.  His reviews have also been published at Michigan Movie Magazine and on Michigan’s longest running film school website, MPIFilm.com.

He later went on to to become an award-winning filmmaker of several independent short films including such festival hits as The Spirit of Isabel and Within, which won the Audience Choice Award at the 2015 Cinetopia International Film Festival.

Using grassroots support, the site is devoted to celebrating independent and art-house cinema, as well as to high-crafted films that tell engaging stories with vision, focus, and skill.

Defacto Film Reviews is a unique case where the film critics are also filmmakers themselves. We will give readers comprehensible, honest, and erudite analysis of each film.

The Irishman

By |11/15/2019|2019, 4-Stars, Film Review|

Martin Scorsese's "The Irishman" is truly a triumphant work of ambition and grandeur, and not just because of its groundbreaking de-aging digital effects that transform its older lead actors back into much younger looking men. [...]

Spotlight of the Week-The Sacrifice

By |11/13/2019|1986, 4-Stars, Defacto Spotlight|

Instead of resting at home, or laying up in a hospital bed, iconic director Andrei Tarkovsky was on set directing a film during the last stages of his life when he crafted his final masterpiece [...]

Last Christmas

By |11/13/2019|1-1/2 Stars, 2019, Film Review|

What is Last Christmas about? Second chances, Brexit, the homeless crisis, or George Michael? It seems no one from director Paul Feig to screenwriters Byrony Kimmings and Emma Thompson knew. In the 103 minute runtime [...]

Doctor Sleep

By |11/08/2019|2019, 3-1/2 Stars, Film Review|

Director Mike Flanagan has spent most of his career attempting to untangle the endless web that is the human psyche. Like many classic filmmakers, he attempts to untangle these webs through the genre landscape. With [...]

Spotlight of the Week-Once Upon a Time in America

By |11/06/2019|1984, 4-Stars, Defacto Spotlight|

Easily a piece of landmark cinema from the 1980's, the final film by Sergio Leone was truly his magnum opus. After taking 10 years to make, from the in-development process of numerous re-writes and drafts [...]

Dolemite Is My Name

By |11/06/2019|2019, 3-Stars, Film Review|

Based on the life of Blaxploitation actor, comedian, and pioneering independent movie producer Rudy Ray Moore, Director Craig Brewer's (Hustle and Flow, Black Snake Moan) latest film "Dolemite Is My Name" chronicles the behind the [...]

Harriet

By |11/04/2019|2 Stars, 2019, Film Review|

In American history, Harriet Tubman stands as one of its most courageous and empowered figures. She defied the odds as a prolific conductor on the Underground Railroad, helping to free over 300 people from slavery. [...]

Terminator: Dark Fate

By |11/03/2019|2019, 3-Stars, Film Review|

"Terminator" sequels have largely not had the best reputation. Since 1991's "T2: Judgement Day", every installment in the decaying franchise has either flopped at the box office or been met with less-than-kind reviews from fans [...]

Motherless Brooklyn

By |11/02/2019|2-1/2 Stars, 2019, Film Review|

In New York City during the 1950s, change is happening. The divides between races among the populace is causing protest and violence to spiral out of control. The rich are looking to the future, while [...]

JoJo Rabbit

By |11/01/2019|1-Star, 2019, Film Review|

  Once you watch the trailer and read the concept of Taika Waititi's "JoJo Rabbit" your mind asks if this film will even work? Does it even have to work? Does it even have to [...]

Pasolini

By |11/01/2019|2019, 3-1/2 Stars, Film Review|

Abel Ferrara's intense and exquisite account of the final hours of celebrated filmmaker and writer Pier Paolo Pasolini avoids the typical biopic trappings and cliches. Instead Ferrara utilizes a more fragmented, experimental, and even affectionate [...]

Spotlight of the Week-Martin

By |10/30/2019|1978, 4-Stars, Defacto Spotlight|

Often when the name George A. Romero is brought up in a film discussion, such masterpieces that instantly come to mind are his zombie titles such as,"Night of the Living Dead", "Day of the Dead", [...]

The Lighthouse

By |10/26/2019|2019, 4-Stars, Film Review|

After making a big splash with both critics and audiences with his directorial debut “The Witch”, writer/director Robert Eggers has returned with the anticipated nautical nightmare, “The Lighthouse”. Shot on actual 35mm Black and White [...]

Pain and Glory

By |10/26/2019|2-1/2 Stars, 2019, Film Review|

Every so often do we see a great auteur do their own riff on Federico Fellini's "8 1/2", the 1963 masterpiece movie that ultimately launched the meta, film within a film approach that would be [...]

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

By |10/21/2019|1-1/2 Stars, 2019, Film Review|

Five years ago, Angelina Jolie starred in a live action remake of Disney’s classic film, Sleeping Beauty. But this time, the film told the origins of the film’s villain, the titular Maleficent. The film presented [...]

Gemini Man

By |10/20/2019|2 Stars, 2019, Film Review|

Director Ang Lee has always been known to push boundaries in his work. Whether it be the breathtaking "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", "Brokeback Mountain" or more recently with 2012's "Life of Pi". Lee has had [...]

Zombieland: Double Tap

By |10/19/2019|2-1/2 Stars, 2019, Film Review|

Zombieland, USA, 2019. 10 years have passed since we last saw our heroes Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), Wichita (Emma Stone), and Little Rock (Abagail Breslin). In the time spent since the first film, [...]

The Laundromat

By |10/18/2019|2 Stars, 2019, Film Review|

Steven Soderbergh explores the true-life, largely reported Panama Papers scandal with his second feature released this year, "The Laundromat", though with a first-rate cast, the end results are very dull and never cohesive. Taking the [...]

Lucky Day

By |10/18/2019|2-1/2 Stars, 2019, Film Review|

As "Lucky Day" unfolds, you almost feel as if you just rented a post-Pulp Fiction 1990's spin-off movie from your local video store. Remember such titles as "Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead?", [...]

Judy

By |10/18/2019|2-1/2 Stars, 2019, Film Review|

Indeed superior to something dull like "Bohemian Rhapsody", but also nowhere near as complex as something like "La Vie En Rose", or as innovative as Todd Haynes "I'm  Not There", and not even as delightful [...]

The Addams Family

By |10/17/2019|2 Stars, 2019, Film Review|

The Addams Family has existed since the late 1930s. Created to be an inversion of the ideal American family, they are depicted as a band of creepy, ghoulish people whose interests deal with rather macabre [...]

First Love

By |10/16/2019|2-1/2 Stars, 2019, Film Review|

Prolific (and often provocative) auteur director Takashi Miike pulls no punches, literally, with his latest film “First Love.” At the jump we see a man’s beheading- another casualty of the long standing gang war between [...]

Parasite

By |10/11/2019|2019, 3-1/2 Stars, Film Review|

Bong Joon-ho returns to his homeland of South Korea, in his new film "Parasite". His audacious style and genre-driven sensibilities still reign supreme, yet this time his ideology and idealism is shaped into a subversive [...]

Rob Zombie Retrospective – Film Rankings (Worst to Best)

By |10/08/2019|2019, Commentary, Retrospect|

Rob Zombie; Hard rock icon, genre film enthusiast and one of the most unlikely auteur filmmakers of the 21st century. Zombie has forged a name for himself in the genre film community and is often [...]

Monos

By |10/05/2019|2 Stars, 2019, Film Review|

"Monos", the latest South American movie to come out of Columbia is an austere, deeply abstract, and equally frustrating film that gives no answers, or barely any clarity for its themes or ideas. All that [...]

Joker

By |10/03/2019|2019, 3-1/2 Stars, Film Review|

The character of The Joker has seen countless interpretations over the character’s near 80 years of existence. First debuting in the comic “Batman #1” in 1940, the character has become the most famous super villain in [...]

Abominable

By |09/28/2019|2 Stars, 2019, Film Review|

In the city of Shanghai, young teen Yi (Chloe Bennet) longs for a life of adventure in the aftermath of her father’s death. She spends her days doing odd jobs around the city to earn [...]

Ad Astra

By |09/20/2019|2019, 3-1/2 Stars, Film Review|

"Ad Astra" marks the seventh feature film, but the first major mainstream film, by auteur James Gray. Most of his previous films were intimate films set in New York City, this one is a grand [...]

3 From Hell

By |09/18/2019|2019, 3-Stars, Film Review|

It’s been nearly 15 years since the release of “The Devil’s Rejects”, the unlikely sequel to writer/director Rob Zombie’s first feature, “House of 1,000 Corpses”. “Rejects”, a film that polarized critics and audiences alike with [...]

The Goldfinch

By |09/16/2019|1-Star, 2019, Film Review|

As a child, Theo (Oakes Fegley) had a close relationship with his mother. He’s a bright kid with a promising future. That is until one day, when a visit to the art museum ends with [...]

Hustlers

By |09/14/2019|2019, 3-1/2 Stars, Film Review|

After the unexpected buzz out of TIFF left many suddenly scrambling to put this film on their awards radar, I can confirm that one of the year’s biggest surprises has arrived. Based on a “New [...]

It: Chapter Two

By |09/07/2019|2019, 4-Stars, Film Review|

Two years ago, we experience one of the best adaptations of a work by legendary horror author Stephen King, It: Chapter One. Nobody expected the film to be as big as it was, surpassing box [...]

The Nightingale

By |09/05/2019|1-1/2 Stars, 2019, Film Review|

15 minutes into "The Nightingale" involves a brutal murder, two rapes and an infant baby being thrown into the walls of a cabin. It is completely horrifying to endure. In fact its possibly the most [...]

Good Boys

By |08/26/2019|2019, 3-Stars, Film Review|

For as long as the genre has existed, comedies have attempted to test the limits of what can be shown on screen. Sure, their main goal is to make us laugh. However, sometimes the funniest [...]

The Angry Birds Movie 2

By |08/26/2019|2019, 3-1/2 Stars, Film Review|

Now that superhero movies are no longer the bottom barrel genre of the film industry, one genre still holds that title: video game movies. This is still a tough subject to crack, though that hasn’t [...]

The Art of Racing in the Rain

By |08/26/2019|1-1/2 Stars, 2019, Film Review|

Thanks to the success of A Dog’s Purpose, movies about the inner thoughts of dogs are becoming very popular. There are a number of books written about the subject, and some take some very creative [...]

Quentin Tarantino Retrospective–Best Tarantino Films, Ranked

By |08/22/2019|2019, Commentary, Retrospect|

Quentin Tarantino's is perhaps the most celebrated filmmaker to arise in the last 25 years. It is insane to think that someone with so much caliber and pristine only has nine films under their belt. [...]

Where’d You Go, Bernadette

By |08/21/2019|1-1/2 Stars, 2019, Film Review|

  About 15 mins through Richard Linklater's adaptation of Maria Semple's popular novel "Where'd You Go, Bernadette" you instantly know you are in for one painful ride. Everything from the contrived narration, to the Lifetime [...]

47 Meters Down: Uncaged

By |08/18/2019|2-1/2 Stars, 2019, Film Review|

The story of 2017's "47 Meters Down" is an interesting one to say the least. Initially titled "In the Deep", the original film was set straight to the DVD bin from the Weinstein Company and [...]

Fall Movie Preview 2019–16 Titles to Get Excited For

By |08/16/2019|2019, Commentary, Fall Movie Preview|

As summer is coming close to an end, 2019 has been a stacked this year with many great offerings such as Quentin Tarantino's "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood", Nuri Bilge Ceylan's little seen "The [...]

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

By |08/11/2019|2019, 3-Stars, Film Review|

For many of us, the Scary Stories books were a critical stepping stone in our adolescence. Seen as the middle ground between Goosebumps and Stephen King, these books lit the imagination of young readers ablaze, [...]

Dora and the Lost City of Gold

By |08/09/2019|1-Star, 2019, Film Review|

Disney isn’t the only studio turning their beloved animated properties into live action. Nickelodeon is also getting in on that. The studio has made an entire industry out of people’s nostalgia for the pop culture [...]

The Art of Self-Defense

By |08/08/2019|2 Stars, 2019, Film Review|

Writer-director Riley Stearns is obviously an admirer of martial arts, and with his sophomore feature "The Art of Self-Defense" he could have showed how noble things like self-defense and martial arts get co-opted by power, [...]

The Farewell

By |08/08/2019|2019, 3-Stars, Film Review|

Following her debut 2014 romantic dramedy "Posthumous", Chinese filmmaker Lulu Wang sophomore film "The Farewell" continues her quirky traits merged with deep characters, and the film holds many great influences that consist of Sofia Coppola, early Ang [...]

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw

By |08/02/2019|2019, 3-1/2 Stars, Film Review|

The Fast & Furious franchise has been with us for almost 20 years at this point, and it is still going strong. After the last two entries, Furious 7 and The Fate of the Furious, [...]

Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood

By |07/26/2019|2019, 4-Stars, Film Review|

Quentin Tarantino's 9th feature film, that is heavily borrowed from the title of Sergio Leone's "Once Upon a Time in the West" titled "Once Upon A Time In Hollywood" is a deft and masterfully made [...]

The Lion King

By |07/19/2019|1-Star, 2019, Film Review|

The Lion King is undoubtedly one of Disney’s most perfect films, and certainly one of the highlights of their last renaissance. It contains the most stunning example of their classic, traditional animation, as well as [...]

Robert Joseph Butler’s Love Immortal: Screening Information

By |07/19/2019|2019|

As some of you may know, Defacto Film Reviews founder and chief critic, Robert Joseph Butler has been working tirelessly over the past year on his first feature, Love Immortal. Starring Aphrodite Nikolovski (The Girl [...]

Stuber

By |07/13/2019|2 Stars, 2019, Film Review|

The possibility of bad Uber drives has become a joke on the Internet. The fact that you’re free to accept jobs from random people through the app means you’re more than likely to get someone [...]

Spider-Man: Far From Home

By |07/13/2019|2-1/2 Stars, 2019, Film Review|

As the first entry in the MCU post "Avengers: Endgame", “Spider-Man: Far From Home” understandably has much to live up to. Having to pick up the pieces and continue on the franchise after such a [...]

Crawl

By |07/12/2019|2019, 3-1/2 Stars, Film Review|

Who knew that of all the major studios in Hollywood, Paramount Pictures would be the one to release the most consistently vicious and tension-filled genre films of the late 2010's. After releasing last year's smash [...]

Too Old to Die Young

By |07/11/2019|2019, 4-Stars, Mini-Series, Review|

The versatile and innovative Amazon Prime brings Nicholas Winding Refn's new series "Too Old to Die Young" to its  streaming service, which debuted on June 14th, and I am sure they are hoping it will [...]

Midsommar

By |07/08/2019|2019, 3-1/2 Stars, Film Review|

Ari Aster's first feature, last year's sleeper hit, "Hereditary", was a film that haunted my dreams. Etched itself inside my soul. Made me think long and hard about my own mental state. A film that [...]

Yesterday

By |07/06/2019|2 Stars, 2019, Film Review|

In an age of social media, people are becoming so obsessed with the things of today that they are flat-out ignoring anything that came from the age before them. They don’t find interest in what [...]

The Last Black Man in San Francisco

By |06/27/2019|2019, 3-Stars, Film Review|

The timing for a film like "The Last Black Man in San Francisco" is right. Cities like San Francisco across American have been changing, due to mass migration along with the influx of banks and [...]

The Dead Don’t Die

By |06/27/2019|2 Stars, 2019, Film Review|

Jim Jarmusch's thirteenth feature film is a zombie film, but it is far from being brainless, but its also not that fun or as clever as it thinks it is. It holds ideas, however the [...]

Annabelle Comes Home

By |06/26/2019|2019, 4-Stars, Film Review|

The Warrens, Ed and Lorraine, investigated some of the most famous cases of hauntings, possessions, and demonic encounters ever recorded. They are generally considered to be the most prolific researchers of the paranormal in history. [...]

Anna

By |06/24/2019|1-Star, 2019, Film Review|

Director Luc Besson has been creating some influential female character within the action genre. From Leeloo in The Fifth Element to Scarlett Johansson’s character in Lucy, he is known for working primarily in female action [...]

Child’s Play (2019)

By |06/23/2019|2019, 3-Stars, Film Review|

With a remake of a film whose franchise is still going (and quite strongly, for that matter), the skepticism was real for this new adaptation of “Child’s Play”. Original creator, Dan Mancini, has taken his franchise [...]

Toy Story 4

By |06/21/2019|2019, 4-Stars, Film Review|

I’m sure like most of you, the “Toy Story” films have meant a great deal. Whether you watched them as a child, or have just been a fan of the films, the series has been [...]

Men in Black: International

By |06/16/2019|1-Star, 2019, Film Review|

In 1997, Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones starred in the science fiction/comedy film Men in Black. The movie was based loosely on the Marvel Comics property of the same name, which itself was based [...]

The Secret Life of Pets 2

By |06/10/2019|2-1/2 Stars, 2019, Film Review|

In 2016, Illumination Studios released their first original animated film since the original Despicable Me, a family film titled The Secret Life of Pets. Designed to focus on what our pets do when we leave [...]

Dark Phoenix

By |06/08/2019|2 Stars, 2019, Film Review|

As the Disney/Fox merger has now begun its empire, there remains one last X-Men film in the Fox pipeline — unless we ever get to see “The New Mutants” — before Disney completely reboots the [...]

Ma

By |06/03/2019|1-1/2 Stars, 2019, Film Review|

Bullying is an issue that affects people everywhere. In terms of films and TV, it’s mostly depicted in schools with kids, even though it does exist pretty much everywhere. For kids, it can be the [...]

Godzilla: King of the Monsters

By |06/02/2019|2019, 4-Stars, Film Review|

For as long as the monster movie has existed, Godzilla has been the staple of the genre; the “king of the monsters” so to speak. The towering, ancient, dinosaur-like creature has gone toe to toe [...]

Rocketman

By |06/01/2019|2019, 3-1/2 Stars, Film Review|

It’s hard not to compare “Rocketman" to the most recent music biopic of an acclaimed rock legend in last year’s Oscar-winning, mega-hit "Bohemian Rhapsody". Not only because they cover similar ground and even share some [...]

The Souvenir

By |06/01/2019|2019, 4-Stars, Film Review|

An extraordinary and deeply personal exploration on deep memories and experiences, British writer-director Joanna Hogg's  fourth feature film, "The Souvenir" is an astonishing origin story that is deeply auto-biographical, and the vision on display in [...]

Non-Fiction

By |05/31/2019|2019, 3-1/2 Stars, Film Review|

Greatly influenced by the works of Erik Rohmer that also plays out like an excellent Woody Allen comedy like "Husbands and Wives", French auteur Olivier Assayas has crafted a sharply written, greatly acted, and richly [...]

Under the Silver Lake

By |05/30/2019|2019, 3-Stars, Film Review|

I really wanted to rate "Under the Silver Lake" a higher rating, in fact there is a lot to love about the film. It is technically marvelous, aesthetically rich, beautifully shot, and Andrew Garfield once [...]

Booksmart

By |05/26/2019|2019, 4-Stars, Film Review|

  Every few years, a teen comedy comes around that makes an impression on its core audience. Going as far back as 1978’s "Animal House", to “The Breakfast Club”, “Clueless” to “Mean Girls”; and more [...]

Brightburn

By |05/26/2019|2019, 3-Stars, Film Review|

Most superhero movies are based on comic books, we’re pretty familiar with that. The characters with fully established fan bases are the films that are guaranteed to make the most money in theaters. That’s why [...]

Aladdin

By |05/26/2019|2 Stars, 2019, Film Review|

As Disney continues to remake every last one of their classic animated films, they are starting to dig into the films of the last Disney Renaissance. Many of their classics from the 80s and 90s [...]

Michigan Short Film Round-Up (May 2019 Edition)

By |05/24/2019|Commentary, Film Review|

Short films just as feature films invoke emotions. Sadly there isn't much of a market for short films since there are so many of them, and people prefer to not spend their hard earned money [...]

Her Smell

By |05/24/2019|2019, 3-Stars, Film Review|

Nauseating by design and visceral in experience, with a running time that is about 30 minutes over-long,  "Her Smell", the sixth feature from indie film writer-director Alex Ross Perry (Queen of Earth, Listen Up Philip, Golden [...]

A Dog’s Journey

By |05/20/2019|2 Stars, 2019, Film Review|

Two years ago, we received A Dog’s Purpose, a family-friendly comedy about a dog named Bailey. Voiced by the perfectly cast Josh Gad, Bailey attempts to find out what his purpose is on Earth as [...]

Pokémon: Detective Pikachu

By |05/10/2019|2019, 3-1/2 Stars, Film Review|

The Pokémon franchise has been with us ever since the mid-90s, and has gone on to become a staple of people’s childhoods. Kids everyone, at some point, find themselves in possession of Pokémon cards, or [...]

Ash Is Purest White

By |05/09/2019|2019, 4-Stars, Film Review|

An official selection at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, where it was in competition for the Palme D'Or that went to Hirokazu Kore-eda's masterpiece, "Shoplifters" (placed 3rd in my top 10 last year), yet the [...]

UglyDolls

By |05/04/2019|1-Star, 2019, Film Review|

Thanks to the success of The Lego Movie, films based on popular toy lines are coming back into fashion. No, it’s not a new trend, but they’ve become more successful than ever, and have become [...]

The Intruder

By |05/04/2019|2 Stars, 2019, Film Review|

  Screen Gems, a division of Sony, has made a solid track record of churning out mid budget, campy, stalker thrillers over the past decade. 2009’s, Beyonce-starring, “Obsessed”, 2015’s “The Perfect Guy” and 2016’s “When [...]

Avengers: Endgame (Spoiler-Free)

By |04/25/2019|2019, 3-1/2 Stars, Film Review|

After the devastating loss at the hands (fingers?) of Thanos (Josh Brolin) that turned half of all living creatures into dust, we find our heroes desperate and reeling from the biggest loss imaginable.  Just to [...]

The Curse of La Llorona

By |04/20/2019|2-1/2 Stars, 2019, Film Review|

For anyone who may be getting tired of the interconnected nature of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there is one franchise that doesn’t waist its time assuming you’re all caught up with the larger story. That [...]

High Life

By |04/19/2019|2019, 3-1/2 Stars, Film Review|

Claire Denis's English-language debut, the high minded sci-fi film "High Life" continues her attempt at exploring and rather transcending genre films, "Trouble Every Day" was her terrain into horror, and "Bastards" was a modern neo-noir, [...]

Hellboy (2019)

By |04/14/2019|2019, 3-Stars, Film Review|

After the attempt at making a third feature in Guillermo Del Toro’s Hellboy franchise fell through, the studio decided to scrap everything and start over. This time, with a brand new cast, edgier rating and [...]

After

By |04/14/2019|1/2 Star, 2019, Film Review|

    The “Good Girl/Bad Boy” formula has been a staple of modern romance for as long as anyone can remember. No matter how many wish to deny it, there’s something about the rebellious type [...]

Missing Link

By |04/12/2019|2 Stars, 2019, Film Review|

Missing Link, the latest film to featuring the big-footed creature that has eluded our sight, is the latest from the animation studio Laika. Coming off their hugely successful, Oscar nominated film Kubo and the Two [...]

Unicorn Store

By |04/12/2019|1-Star, 2019, Film Review|

Brie Larson is certainly taking some ambitious steps in her professional career. At the age of 28, she’s already become a professional actress, winning an Oscar and starring in the billion dollar Captain Marvel; as [...]

Pet Sematary

By |04/06/2019|2019, 3-Stars, Film Review|

Death is a natural part of life, but it is also one of the most controversial subjects of our society. Everyone processes the concept in a different way. Some are able to accept it and [...]

Monsterpalooza 2019: Douglas Schulze’s Mimesis: Nosferatu

By |04/05/2019|2019, Commentary|

In 1992, a decade before Michigan took a great interest in film with tax credits and film incentives, and the growing accessibility of digital film technology that makes it even more disposable than ever to [...]

Shazam!

By |04/05/2019|2019, 3-Stars, Film Review|

After their biggest success to date with last year’s “Aquaman”, Warner Bros. and DC are taking things down to a much smaller scale with the hero, "Shazam!", formerly Captain Marvel… I know, it’s confusing. Shazam! [...]

3 Faces

By |03/30/2019|2019, 3-Stars, Film Review|

It's now been nine years since Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi was banned from making films in his own country, yet he has continued to rebel as all artists do, and the result of his stubbornness has [...]

Dumbo

By |03/30/2019|2 Stars, 2019, Film Review|

The craze of Disney remaking their classic animated movies with live action and CGI effects continues, and whether you like it or not, so does their success. The quality of these movies very greatly, depending [...]

The Beach Bum

By |03/29/2019|2019, 3-Stars, Film Review|

Iconic independent filmmaker Harmony Korine has now spent three decades writing and directing feature films that explore the decadence of youth culture and even mankind as a whole . He has made many films exploring [...]

Gloria Bell

By |03/22/2019|2019, 3-1/2 Stars, Film Review|

Chilean writer-director Sebastián Lelio's US remake of his 2013 Chilian romantic dramedy "Gloria" is surprisingly a radiant joy that succeeds and actually exceeds the original. Little often do Hollywood remakes of foreign films ever work, [...]

The Russian Five

By |03/21/2019|2019, 3-1/2 Stars, Film Review|

One of the greatest underdog stories in all of sports history is that of the Red Wings, specifically their decades long journey to the Stanley Cup in 1997. Steering the way to their win is [...]

Us

By |03/21/2019|2019, 3-1/2 Stars, Film Review|

Jordan Peele’s directorial debut “Get Out” was essentially the film of 2017. The film that shook the world, the “little engine that could” so to speak. Grossing nearly $300 million off a puny $4 million [...]

Birds of Passage

By |03/21/2019|2019, 3-1/2 Stars|

Part gritty crime drama with the execution of a origin story that plays out like a ethnographic documentary, Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra's follow-up to the Oscar nominated "Embrace of the Serpent" new film titled "Birds [...]

Apollo 11

By |03/18/2019|2019, 3-Stars, Film Review|

There was one point in our history where we wanted to touch the stars and explore what lies beyond our planet. Even if for some it was only to beat out the Russians (who have [...]

Wonder Park

By |03/16/2019|1-1/2 Stars, 2019, Film Review|

Imagination is something that every kid has. There is no question about that. When you’re young, you’re view of the world isn’t as well-rounded as when you’re an adult. As a result, you believe that [...]

Captive State

By |03/16/2019|2019, 4-Stars, Film Review|

One of the worries we have as a society is the level of power governments have. Some places in the world are free for the people, while others are dictatorships. The people of those countries [...]

Everybody Knows

By |03/14/2019|2019, 3-1/2 Stars, Film Review|

Dramatically involving and multilayered in theme and tone, "Everybody Knows" is every bit as deeply compelling and engaging as Iranian auteur Asghar Faradhi's previous films that include the two Oscar winners "A Separation" and a [...]

Triple Frontier

By |03/13/2019|2019, 3-1/2 Stars, Film Review|

When a group of former Special Ops reunite to take down a South American drug lord and steal his mansion full of money, they get more than they bargained for when things go awry and [...]

Captain Marvel

By |03/08/2019|2-1/2 Stars, 2019, Film Review|

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has taken audiences to many strange places. We’ve explored different planets, galaxies, past decades; but never have we gone back to the 1990’s. We’ve also never had a female-led film in [...]

Never Look Away

By |03/06/2019|2-1/2 Stars, 2019, Film Review|

Each year the Academy Awards nominates that one handsomely polished Best Foreign Language film that ends up being very schmaltzy and contrived, and most of the time they are just a foreign language variation of [...]

A Madea Family Funeral

By |03/04/2019|2 Stars, 2019, Film Review|

  Having declared this to be the final Madea film, Tyler Perry seems ready to hang up the wig and the muumuu and end his decades long saga of the wisdom-sprouting, tough-as-nails old woman audiences [...]

Greta

By |03/02/2019|2-1/2 Stars, 2019, Film Review|

Stalkers have been a popular subject of thriller and horror films for many years. The fear of being followed by someone makes a great story for the genre. When we put ourselves in places we’re [...]

Capernaum

By |02/28/2019|2019, 3-Stars, Film Review|

Nadine Labaki's third feature film, the Oscar nominated Lebanese film "Capernaum", is a bleak and deeply disturbing neo-realist film that is unpleasant and emotionally draining to endure, but also essential and piercing enough where it [...]

Climax

By |02/28/2019|2019, 3-1/2 Stars, Film Review|

French provocateur Gaspar Noe is back with his new film "Climax", and this time the film ironically received far less boos and backlash that he is used to. Even with his provocations that often include [...]

Road to the Oscars: 2019 Predictions

By |02/22/2019|2019, Oscars|

This insane Oscar season finally comes to an end this Sunday night, which will not have a host and, after so much controversies and mix-ups, all 24 categories will be aired live. Ratings are projected [...]

1st Annual Defacto Film Awards: Robert Butler’s Picks

By |02/22/2019|2018, Commentary|

To celebrate the Oscars, I am pleased to announce the Best of 2018 nominees and winners in fourteen categories. I selected the top five picks in the following categories: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best [...]

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

By |02/22/2019|2019, 4-Stars, Film Review|

It’s easy to remember the days when DreamWorks wasn’t necessarily the highest standard for animated family fare. Back in its early days, they were known for essentially making mockbusters of Disney and Pixar films, with [...]

Road to the Oscars: Alfonso Cuarón Retrospective

By |02/21/2019|Commentary, Oscars|

Alfonso Cuarón is a pure filmmaking genius. He's directed a total of 8 very impressive feature films. I've seen every single one, and everyone is impressive in their own right. What makes Cuarón such a [...]

Isn’t It Romantic

By |02/16/2019|2-1/2 Stars, 2019, Film Review|

WARNING: Spoilers Ahead! Romantic comedies have been a staple in the film industry since the very beginning. The classic story of man meets woman is part of everyday life, and a movie that adds hints [...]

Happy Death Day 2U

By |02/15/2019|2019, 3-1/2 Stars, Film Review|

It hasn’t even been two years since the surprisingly good Happy Death Day, from Universal and Blumhouse, hit theaters. From the initial trailers, it seemed like a slasher version of Groundhog Day, an opinion shared [...]

Alita: Battle Angel

By |02/14/2019|2019, 3-Stars, Film Review|

After being stuck in production limbo for nearly 20 years, the long-awaited big screen adaption of the classic manga has finally arrived. Penned by James Cameron and directed by Robert Rodriguez, “Alita: Battle Angel” combines [...]

Road to the Oscars: Paul Schrader Retrospective

By |02/14/2019|Uncategorized|

With many stellar screenplays in his array that include Sydney Pollack's "The Yakuza" (1975), Brian De Palma's "Obsession" (1976), Johnny Flynn's "Rolling Thunder" (1978), Peter Weir's "The Mosquito Coast"(1986), Martin Scorsese's "Taxi Driver" (1976), "Raging [...]

Road to the Oscars: A Star Is Born

By |02/09/2019|2018, 3-Stars, Film Review, Oscars|

For being a fourth version of the classic cinematic version, the 2018 version of "A Star is Born" is an impressive directorial debut that showcases Bradley Cooper as an actors director, and if all else [...]

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part

By |02/09/2019|2019, 3-1/2 Stars, Film Review|

In 2014, Warner Bros. relaunched their long dormant animation division with the adventure comedy The Lego Movie. Based on the construction toys of the same name, the film completely exceeded everyone’s expectations and became something [...]

The Prodigy

By |02/07/2019|2-1/2 Stars, 2019, Film Review|

  “The Prodigy” follows an idealistic couple welcoming their son, Miles. Miles has proven himself to be wise well above his years, hence the title Prodigy. When Miles grows to be 8, he begins to [...]

The Wild Pear Tree

By |02/02/2019|2019, 4-Stars, Film Review|

Mature by design, evocative of Turkey's current culture and political climate, and artfully executed, Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s latest feature film, "The Wild Pear Tree" is a film made by a modern artistic master. We are [...]

Miss Bala (2019)

By |02/02/2019|2-1/2 Stars, 2019, Film Review|

You would think director Catherine Hardwicke would have had a steadier film career, one that would have mirrored Sofia Coppola or Claire Denis. Her debut film was the independent Sundance darling "Thirteen" which went on [...]

The Kid Who Would Be King

By |01/29/2019|2019, 4-Stars, Film Review|

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ The King Arthur legend is one of the oldest in our history. The timeless story of a kid from nothing who discovers that he’s destined to rule as a king against those who wish [...]

Road to the Oscars: BlackKklansman

By |01/27/2019|2018, 3-Stars, Film Review, Oscars, Uncategorized|

  Spike Lee's "BlackKklansman" purports itself in being a satirical comedy about racism that ties in modern parallels with the current Trump administration and the script comes off potent, yet too ham handed and forced to [...]

Serenity (2019)

By |01/24/2019|1-1/2 Stars, 2019, Film Review|

Serenity is a difficult film to review. It’s not rare for a films marketing to sell you something completely different from the final product. As a reviewer, I try to keep my head clear of [...]

The Standoff at Sparrow Creek

By |01/24/2019|2019, 3-1/2 Stars, Film Review|

After hearing of a deadly shooting at a Police funeral nearby, a militia group barricades themselves in a warehouse when they suspect one of them is the shooter. From writer/director Henry Dunham, in his directorial [...]

The Upside

By |01/21/2019|2019, 4-Stars, Film Review|

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Whether you like it or not, friendship is something our species can’t live without. The feeling of affection between us humans is something that’s been with us since the beginning of time. We depend [...]

2019 Oscar Nomination Predictions

By |01/20/2019|2019, Commentary, Oscars|

The Golden Globes, the Critics' Choice Awards have came and gone, and the British Academy Awards made their favorites known. The road to the Oscars narrows it's journey on early Tuesday morning, the Academy will [...]

Road to the Oscars: Bohemian Rhapsody

By |01/19/2019|2-1/2 Stars, 2018, Film Review, Oscars, Uncategorized|

Crafting a biopic of music icon Freddie Mercury and the rock band Queen, the latest Oscar hopeful contender movie "Bohemian Rhapsody" offers your typical biopic cliches and trappings. The film opens up live, only to [...]

Glass

By |01/18/2019|2 Stars, 2019, Film Review|

The recent years have been quite kind for filmmaker, M. Night Shyamalan. After resurrecting his career with the likes of “The Visit” and the surprise “Unbreakable”-connected, “Split”, it would seem that Shyamalan has completely reinvented [...]

Countdown to the Oscars: Green Book

By |01/12/2019|2018, 3-Stars, Film Review, Oscars|

During the era of deeply polarizing political times with charges of racism running rampant against the current President and his administration, one could say so many films released in 2018 dealt with issues of racism. [...]

Replicas

By |01/12/2019|1-Star, 2019, Film Review|

In an era filled to the brim with smart, sophisticated Science Fiction (Blade Runner 2049, Arrival, Under the Skin), it’s only fitting the month of January would bring us the bastard cousin of such acclaimed [...]

Shoplifters

By |01/08/2019|2018, 4-Stars, Film Review|

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Renowned Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda continues his spirit of Yasujiro Ozu that he has done so often with his impressive filmography that includes "Like Father, Like Son", "Nobody Knows", and "Still Walking" have all [...]

The Best Films of 2018 – Noah Damron

By |01/08/2019|2018, Film Review, Top Ten|

1 - Hereditary (d. Ari Aster) As a viewer, I long to have my imagination set on fire. Not only is that when I get the most creativity, but it’s when I get the [...]

The Best Films of 2018 – Robert Butler

By |01/07/2019|2018, Film Review, Top Ten|

1. Roma (d. Alfonso Cuaron) Hands down, the finest piece of cinema of 2018. A fragmented period piece of a specific place and time, the story of a year in the life [...]

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Cold War

By |01/05/2019|2018, 3-Stars, Film Review|

⭐️⭐️⭐️ Acclaimed Polish filmmaker Pawel Pawlikowski follow up to his exceptional, Oscar-winning "Ida" is a step backwards from its predecessor, but it still offers a lot of engaging and impressive moments that makes it a [...]

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch

By |12/30/2018|2018, 4-Stars, Film Review|

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Since the beginning of the film industry, we have been provided linear stories. These stories are just one pathway, with characters that follow the path and learn lessons that reflect real life until they [...]

Vice

By |12/27/2018|2018, 3-Stars, Film Review|

⭐️⭐️⭐️ While messy and at times choppy with overstuffed stylistic devices that at times will make you cringe while other ones certainly impress, Adam McKay's "Vice" is a step up from "The Big Short". It's [...]

Welcome to Marwen

By |12/26/2018|2018, 3-1/2 Stars, Film Review|

⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2 There are moments in life that are hard to look past. Some people suffer through events so traumatic that the mere memory of it can haunt them and make it difficult for them to [...]

Mortal Engines

By |12/22/2018|2-1/2 Stars, 2018, Film Review|

⭐️⭐️1/2 WARNING: Possible Spoilers Ahead! Fantasy has always been one of the most popular genres for storytellers to work in, and audiences to experience. The advantage to fantasy is that the world in which the [...]

Aquaman

By |12/21/2018|2018, 3-1/2 Stars, Film Review|

With the DCEU currently undergoing a massive change in their approach to their greater Cinematic universe after the critical and financial disaster that was Justice League, one film that was always seen as a giant [...]

Anna and the Apocalypse

By |12/20/2018|2018, 4-Stars, Film Review|

Do you like High School Musical or La La Land, but wish they had more… zombies? If you answered yes, then boy do I have the perfect movie for you. Anna and the Apocalypse is [...]

Vox Lux

By |12/20/2018|3-1/2 Stars, Film Review|

⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2 By exploring the cross between celebrity, school shootings, terrorism and pop music, "Vox Lux" is perhaps one of the most bold, often formally daring films of the year that certainly bites off more that [...]

The Mule

By |12/19/2018|2018, 3-Stars, Film Review|

Reviewed by Michael Powell Family. It is the focus of the starring roles of Clint Eastwood in his post-Mystic River career resurgence. Whether he is directing himself (Million Dollar Baby, Gran Torino) or being directed [...]

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

By |12/16/2018|4-Stars, Film Review|

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ With the rise of live action superhero movies, we often forget the true nature of characters’ comic book origins. We associate our favorite heroes with a more serious environment thanks to such projects as [...]

The Favourite

By |12/15/2018|3-Stars, Film Review|

⭐️⭐️⭐️ Acclaimed director Yorgos Lanthimos blends a mix of delirious humor with his usual approach of bleakness and despair in this unique period piece that is filed with skillfull direction, astonishing visuals, along with effective [...]

Roma

By |12/13/2018|2018, 4-Stars, Film Review|

Depicting a year in the life of a high-class family in 1970’s Mexico told from the perspective of their housemaid, Roma plays like a love letter to the women who raise us. Although motherhood isn’t [...]

Burning

By |12/10/2018|2018, 4-Stars, Film Review|

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ The South Korean thriller "Burning" written and directed by Lee Chang-dong is a masterfully crafted suspense drawer that holds sweltering tension as it unfolds with beguiling mystery. In the era of the Me Too [...]

Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle

By |12/09/2018|2018, 3-1/2 Stars, Film Review|

⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2 The Jungle Book has been a staple in children’s literature for many decades. Even though the book is comprised of many stories with different characters, the three stories about the young boy Mowgli are [...]

The House That Jack Built

By |11/30/2018|2018, 4-Stars, Film Review|

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Currently being sanctioned by the MPAA, Lars von Trier's new film is certainly going to stir up controversy among audiences and critics. It is an audacious and deeply disturbing film with a career defining [...]

The Possession of Hannah Grace

By |11/30/2018|2 Stars, 2018, Film Review|

⭐️⭐️ When it comes to demonic possession, most movies portray the initial effects of said possession. It’s become common place for films to focus on the character and their encounters with an evil force bent [...]

At Eternity’s Gate

By |11/27/2018|2018, 4-Stars, Film Review|

Aesthetically impressive to the eye and fragmented by design, artist and filmmaker Julian Schnabels interior exploration of Vincent Van Gogh's final years of his life is a artful, roving, and richly experimental film that avoids [...]

Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2

By |11/27/2018|2018, 4-Stars, Film Review|

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ In 2012, Disney gave us Wreck-It Ralph; the story of a video game villain who sets out on a journey to prove he can be a hero. One of the best of the CG [...]

The Ten Best Films of 2017

By |01/26/2018|2017, Film Review, Top Ten|

The DeFacto Film Reviews chief film critics, Robert Butler and Noah Damron share their favorite films of the year. As the country continues to be more divisive and polarized everyday than it has in [...]

Blade Runner 2049

By |10/06/2017|2017, 3-1/2 Stars, Film Review|

Blade Runner 2049 (2017, USA, d. Denis Villeneuve, 163 minutes) 3.5/4 Stars 1982’s Blade Runner has become one of the most polarizing and discussed films of the past several decades. From numerous re-edits [...]

TIFF 2017 Review: I, Tonya

By |09/14/2017|2017, 3-1/2 Stars, Film Review, TIFF 2017|

I, Tonya (2017, USA, d. Craig Gillespie, 119 minutes) 3.5/4 Stars Anyone who was alive in the early 90’s remembers the giant scandal involving figure skater, Tonya Harding, and the vicious attack against [...]

TIFF 2017 Review: mother!

By |09/14/2017|2017, 4-Stars, Film Review, TIFF 2017|

mother! (2017 USA, d. Darren Aronofsky, 121 minutes) 4/4 Stars To quote TIFF Artistic Director, Cameron Bailey, mother! essentially begins where Black Swan ends. If that doesn’t intrigue you at all, then this [...]

It

By |09/08/2017|2017, 3-Stars, Film Review|

It (2017, USA, d. Andy Muschietti, 135 minutes) After years of delays and production changes, the big screen adaptation of Stephen King’s beloved novel finally makes it way to theaters. In case you [...]

Tulip Fever

By |09/02/2017|1-1/2 Stars, 2017, Film Review|

Tulip Fever (2017, USA, UK, d. Justin Chadwick, 107 minutes) 1.5/4 Stars Tulip Fever is a hot mess, there’s no way of getting around it. As a film that has sat on the [...]

Dunkirk

By |07/22/2017|2017, 4-Stars, Film Review|

Dunkirk (2017, USA, UK, France, d. Christopher Nolan, 106 minutes) 4/4 Stars I feel as though I should begin this review with a bit of a warning. My personal favorite film of all [...]

War for the Planet of the Apes

By |07/14/2017|2017, 3-1/2 Stars, Film Review|

War for the Planet of the Apes (2017, USA, d. Matt Reeves, 140 minutes) 3.5/4 Stars The modern Apes trilogy has proven that prequels aren’t always a bad thing. In fact, they can [...]

Spider-Man: Homecoming

By |07/09/2017|2017, 3-1/2 Stars, Film Review|

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017, USA, d. Jon Watts, 133 minutes) 3.5/4 Stars As someone who fondly remembers seeing the original Sam Raimi Spider-Man film at just five years old, the character of Spider-Man has been a [...]

Logan

By |03/31/2017|2017, 3-1/2 Stars, Film Review|

Logan (2017, USA, d. James Mangold, 137 minutes) 3.5/4 Stars Since last years smash success Deadpool broke new ground for R-rated Superhero films, it was only fitting to see Hugh Jackman’s final portrayal [...]

Elle

By |02/07/2017|2017, 4-Stars|

Elle (2016, France, d. Paul Verhoeven, 130 minutes) by Noah Damron This one of the strangest and most compelling films to come out in 2016. Directed by Paul Verhoeven, "Elle” follows, Michelle (Isabelle [...]

Split

By |02/07/2017|2017, 3-Stars|

Split (2017, USA, d. M. Night Shyamalan, 117 minutes) by Noah Damron After falling on hard times with films such as “Lady in the Water”, "The Happening’ and “The Last Airbender”, M. Night Shyamalan, [...]

Bye Bye Man

By |01/24/2017|1/2 Star, 2017, Commentary, Film Review|

The Bye Bye Man (2017, USA, d. Stacy Title, 96 minutes) by Noah Damron It wouldn’t be January without a C-level horror film and this year is no different. From the director [...]

Live By Night

By |01/24/2017|2-1/2 Stars, 2016, Commentary, Film Review|

Live By Night (2016, USA, d. Ben Affleck, 128 minutes) by Noah Damron As the poster child for career comebacks, Ben Affleck has proved himself to one of the best Directors working [...]

La La Land

By |01/08/2017|2016, 4-Stars, Film Review, Top Ten|

La La Land (2016 USA, d. Damien Chazelle, 128 minutes) by Noah Damron There is so much to say about La La Land and yet, also very little. La La Land is [...]

Jackie

By |01/04/2017|2016, 3-1/2 Stars, Film Review|

Jackie (2016, USA, d. Pablo Larrain, 96 Minutes) by Noah Damron Jackie truly surprised me. Not just with it’s amazing performances, beautifully crafted cinematography or superbly detailed production design, but by how unflinching [...]

Top 10 Films of 2016

By |12/24/2016|2016, Film Review|

by Robert Joseph Butler 2016 will be a year that will be remembered for its long list of celebrity deaths and for being a polarizing election year. While we are living in very polarizing times [...]

Remember

By |03/23/2016|1-1/2 Stars, 2016, Uncategorized|

Remember (2016, Canada/Germany, d. Atom Egoyan, 94 Minutes) By Jesse Stringer   Remember follows the character of Zev Guttman, an elderly man suffering from dementia who also happens to be an Auschwitz survivor. [...]

10 Cloverfield Lane

By |03/13/2016|2016, 3-1/2 Stars, Film Review|

10 Cloverfield Lane (2016, USA, d. Dan Trachtenberg, 103 Minutes) by Jesse Stringer 10 Cloverfield Lane came into the public consciousness as abruptly as a new Beyoncé album. About midway through January, a [...]

The Olives of Wrath

By |03/08/2016|Commentary|

by Barry Germansky   Just as The Leopard (1963) can be seen as Italy's answer to Gone with the Wind (1939), Rocco and His Brothers (1960) can be seen as Italy's answer to The Grapes [...]

Out of Which Past?

By |03/08/2016|Commentary|

by Barry Germansky   Richard Kelly's Donnie Darko (2001) proves there is no such thing as genre outside the enterprise of convenient label-making. Due to the malleability of language, any work of art can fit [...]

Invasion of the Adulthood Snatchers

By |03/08/2016|Commentary|

by Barry Germansky   The adult world is polymorphously corrupt and lacks the imagination to recognize that "The Way Things Are" is merely a byproduct of a deteriorating sense of possibility, an epistemological rejection of [...]

Steven Spielberg, Schindler’s List, and the Crisis of Representation

By |03/08/2016|Commentary|

by Barry Germansky   With Schindler's List (1993), Steven Spielberg achieved what so many other filmmakers had deemed impossible. This masterpiece was a breakthrough in the historical epic, the comprehensive dramatization of the horrors of [...]

Zootopia

By |03/07/2016|2016, 3-1/2 Stars|

Zootopia (2016, USA, d. Byron Howard, Rich Moore, & Jared Bush, 108 Minutes) by Jesse Stringer For the past few years, there appears to have been a small competition between Disney Animation Studios [...]

The Invention of the Extraterrestrial

By |03/07/2016|Commentary|

by Barry Germansky   By introducing the idea of the extraterrestrial on overt scientific terms, H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds (1898) externalized the limits of human consciousness to a greater extent than any [...]

Regression

By |03/07/2016|1-1/2 Stars|

Regression (2016, Canada/Spain, d. Alejandro Amenábar, 106 Minutes) by Jesse Stringer   In the early 90’s, there was a sudden outbreak in paranoia over a speculated increase in Satanic cult rituals across the [...]

Knight of Cups (2016, USA, d. Terrence Malick)

By |03/04/2016|2 Stars, 2016|

At this moment, it’s apparent visionary Terrence Malick has given up on narrative filmmaking. He has now become a one-trick pony where his distinctive style has sadly reached a level of endless self-parody. [...]

Triple 9

By |02/28/2016|2016, 3-Stars, Film Review, Uncategorized|

Triple 9 (2016, USA, d. John Hillcoat, 115 Minutes) by Jesse Stringer It is learned early on in this film that Triple 9 is a police code meaning officer down. This provides the [...]

A Tribute to Paddy Chayefsky

By |02/28/2016|Commentary|

by Barry Germansky   Paddy Chayefsky is tied with Tennessee Williams as my candidate for the most original dramatist of all time, that most elusive of organizational variables. These writers may appear to be an [...]

1999: An American Odyssey

By |02/28/2016|Commentary|

by Barry Germansky   Sam Mendes' American Beauty (1999) is the last Best Picture winner I fully endorse to date. It is a sleek, color-coded sampler of J.D. Salinger's novel The Catcher in the Rye [...]

Eddie the Eagle

By |02/26/2016|2 Stars, 2016, Film Review|

Eddie the Eagle (2016, USA/United Kingdom, d. Dexter Fletcher, 105 Mins) by Robert Joseph Butler In the opening act of "Eddie the Eagle" the film hints at being a fresh and unconventional sports [...]

Pulp Revenge: Thoughts on the Ending of Raiders of the Lost Ark

By |02/25/2016|DVD Pick of the Week|

by Barry Germansky   This is cinema of control. How can one explain the existence of past, present, and future Nazis? One cannot, at least not at the fundamental level of explanation. How can one [...]

2016 Oscar Predictions

By |02/24/2016|2016, Commentary, Oscars|

Usually the Oscars are easy to predict by late December. However, this season is looking to be a more competitive contest. While Leonardo DiCaprio and Brie Larson are clear front-runners, most of the other categories [...]

How to Be Single

By |02/22/2016|2 Stars, 2016, Film Review|

How to Be Single (2016, USA, Christian Ditter, 110 Minutes) by Robert Joseph Butler Uneven, unromantic, and mostly unfunny, “How to Be Single” is a chick flick that avoids chick-flick trappings and formulas, [...]

Deadpool

By |02/20/2016|2016, 3-Stars, Film Review|

Deadpool (2016, USA, D. Tim Miller, 108 Mins) by Robert Joseph Butler Based upon Marvel Comics’ most popular and unconventional anti-hero, Deadpool unfolds with a lot of twisted humor, and its a clever [...]

The Witch

By |02/20/2016|2016, 4-Stars, Film Review|

The Witch (2016, USA/UK/Canada, d. Robert Eggers, 93 Minutes) by Jesse Stringer What does it take to make a horror film truly scary? In recent years, it seems that question has become more [...]

Where To Invade Next?

By |02/13/2016|2 Stars, 2016|

Where to Invade Next? (2015, USA, d. Michael Moore, 119 Minutes) by Robert Joseph Butler The problem with Michael Moore is that his latest films like Capitalism: A Love Story, and now Where [...]

Zoolander 2

By |02/12/2016|1-Star, 2016, Film Review|

Zoolander 2 (2016, USA, d. Ben Stiller, 102 Minutes) by Robert Joseph Butler Ben Stiller's Zoolander 2 is a complete waste of time and human effort. At times it feels like a bizarre [...]

The Lobster

By |02/07/2016|2016, 4-Stars, Film Review|

The Lobster (2016, Ireland/Greece/USA, d. Yorgos Lanthimos, 118 Minutes) by Jesse Stringer In a dystopian future, single people are arrested and held by authorities at a luxury hotel. There, they must find a [...]

Hail, Caesar!

By |02/05/2016|2-1/2 Stars, 2016, Film Review|

Hail, Caesar! (2016, USA, d. Joel & Ethan Coen, 106 Minutes) by Robert Joseph Butler Hail, Caesar!, the latest comedic satire from Joel and Ethan Coen, is very disappointing. Nowhere near as personal [...]

Kung Fu Panda 3

By |02/02/2016|2016, 3-Stars, Film Review|

Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016, USA, d. Jennifer Yuh Nelson & Alessandro Carloni, 95 minutes) By Robert Joseph Butler Now a huge DreamWorks animation franchise and trilogy, Kung Fu Panda 3 is so [...]

Jane Got a Gun

By |01/31/2016|1-Star, 2016, Film Review|

Jane Got a Gun (2016, USA, d. Gavin O’Connor, 98 Minutes) By Jesse Stringer Since 2011, Jane Got a Gun has undergone more production problems than a film would ever hope to. Originally, [...]

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Mustang

By |01/29/2016|2015, 3-1/2 Stars, Film Review|

Mustang (2015, Turkey, d. Deniz Gamze Ergüven, 97 minutes) by Robert Joseph Butler Female writer-director Deniz Gamze Ergüven Oscar nominated feature film debut “Mustang” is a timely and relevant film of female empowerment [...]

Moonraker

By |01/28/2016|DVD Pick of the Week, Film Review|

Moonraker (1979), the most outlandish of the first 14 James Bond masterpieces (which are also the only entries I consider "official"), defies virtually every standard of knowledge and canon of respectability known to our species. [...]

Thoughts on the Homespun Wisdom of L. Frank Baum, the Oz books, and The Wizard of Oz (1939)

By |01/28/2016|Commentary, DVD Pick of the Week|

by Barry Germansky L. Frank Baum may lack the linguistic brilliance of Lewis Carroll, but he is certainly a formidable wordsmith. What is more, he possesses two qualities that are almost as rare (if not [...]

13 Hours

By |01/15/2016|2015, 3-Stars, Film Review|

  13 Hours: Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (2016, USA, d. Michael Bay, 144 mins) by Robert Joseph Butler Michael Bay's brutal and intense 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi is his most [...]

Son of Saul

By |01/14/2016|2015, 4-Stars, Film Review|

  Son of Saul (2015, Hungary, d. László Nemes, 107 Minutes) by Jesse Stringer The film opens out of focus. From the depth comes a figure walking toward the camera. All of a [...]

The Revenant

By |01/13/2016|2015, 4-Stars, Film Review, Top Ten|

  The Revenant (2015, USA, d. Alejandro G. Innaritu, 156 Minutes) by Robert Joseph Butler Brutal in depiction, visceral in experience, and visually arresting to endure, The Revenant is a visionary and astonishing [...]

Creature from the Black Lagoon

By |01/13/2016|DVD Pick of the Week|

Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) is endlessly rewarding. The rubber Gill-man suit at its core has the abstracting power of an African mask, and director Jack Arnold instinctively recognizes this epistemological state of affairs [...]

The Top 10 Films of 2015

By |01/12/2016|2015, Film Review, Top Ten|

by Robert Joseph Butler An aging actress realizing her career is quickly passing by. Two great animated films in one year, as well as two great wintry westerns in one year. A brilliant study of [...]

Anomalisa

By |01/12/2016|2015, 4-Stars, Film Review, Top Ten|

  Anomalisa (2015, USA, d. Charlie Kaufman & Duke Johnson, 90 minutes) by Robert Joseph Butler It was only a matter of time before idiosyncratic and renowned screenwriter turned director Charlie Kaufman, the [...]

Carol

By |01/12/2016|2015, 4-Stars, Film Review, Top Ten|

  Carol (2015, USA, d. Todd Haynes, 118 Minutes) by Robert Joseph Butler An undeniable highlight of the year, Todd Haynes’s sixth feature is an exquisite adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s 1952 novel [...]

45 Years

By |01/07/2016|2015, 4-Stars, Film Review, Top Ten|

  45 Years (2015, United Kingdom, d. Andrew Haigh, 95 Minutes) by Robert Joseph Butler Writer-Director Andrew Haigh’s (Weekend - 2011) "45 Years" is one of the most engaging and profound examinations of love [...]

The Shining

By |01/06/2016|DVD Pick of the Week, Film Review|

The Shining (1980) is the fullest representation of Stanley Kubrick's self-conscious alienating lens. The film is more about Kubrick, the polymorphous satirist, than Stephen King, the modern master of the colloquial horror tale. This version [...]