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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.

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 [...]