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Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
Make Up (2019) Liam Lacey Writer/director Claire Oakley's first feature is surprisingly powerful - and surprising - at first scanning as a potential horror before shape-shifting into a feminist art film. EDIT
Posted Jan 18, 2021
One Night in Miami (2020) Thom Ernst A powerful imagining of one of the most intriguing private gatherings in contemporary history, Regina King's directorial debut is a remarkable experience. EDIT
Posted Jan 14, 2021
Love Sarah (2020) Kim Hughes Stunning London location shots and delectable baked goods add sparkle to this tender-hearted coming-of-age/rom-com about three women coming together to honour a fourth. EDIT
Posted Jan 13, 2021
B-minus Climate of the Hunter (2019) Thom Ernst The melodramatic horror-thriller Climate of the Hunter is literally an acquired taste. That is to say, I watched it three times before I kind of "got" it. EDIT
Posted Jan 12, 2021
The Reason I Jump (2020) Thom Ernst This lovely documentary reframes the notion that people living with autism are lesser or compromised, instead highlighting their unique gifts. EDIT
Posted Jan 8, 2021
The Dissident (2020) Liam Lacey This disturbing film, equal parts personal tragedy, political outrage, and grisly crime documentary, depicts the brutal murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, elevating its subject to martyr status. EDIT
Posted Jan 7, 2021
Promising Young Woman (2020) Liam Lacey Conceptually of the moment and powered by Carey Mulligan's strong performance, this female revenge fantasy feels disjointed, jarring, and tonally off even as it makes its point. EDIT
Posted Jan 6, 2021
B Shadow in the Cloud (2020) Jim Slotek It's a fun ride through enemy territory, both human and demonic, and Moretz wields her weaponry with aplomb. The result may not win any Oscars, but it is a B-film in the best sense. EDIT
Posted Jan 4, 2021
B-plus Once Upon a Time in Venezuela (2020) Liam Lacey If there's a fault with Once Upon a Time in Venezuela, it feels too elegiac and poetically-crafted to represent the extent of the country's crash. It is less a microcosm of the larger disaster than one of its aftershocks. EDIT
Posted Dec 31, 2020
B-plus Soul (2020) Karen Gordon Making life seem beautiful no matter the challenge is part of what I got from Pixar's Soul. And after I wiped the tears and quietly contemplated the film's message, I felt a little better about the world in general. EDIT
Posted Dec 23, 2020
Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) Liam Lacey Lots of pricey effects can't save this muddled superhero revisit. EDIT
Posted Dec 22, 2020
C Roald Dahl's The Witches (2020) Jim Slotek Dahl demands some darkness and edge, but instead there's a bright Hollywood-y antic sense, and the overused and unconvincing FX only serves to further trivialize what we're seeing. EDIT
Posted Dec 22, 2020
News of the World (2020) Liam Lacey Director Greengrass' homage (of a sort) to the great Western director John Ford boasts both Tom Hanks and resonant contemporary themes. EDIT
Posted Dec 21, 2020
Wild Mountain Thyme (2020) Linda Barnard Despite solid source material, a strong cast, and a proven screenwriter, Wild Mountain Thyme is silly, flabby, and misguided and woefully marred by bad Irish accents. EDIT
Posted Dec 21, 2020
Monster Hunter (2020) Thom Ernst OK yes, it's based on a video game. But Monster Hunter is also fun and elevated (as expected) by the presence of Milla Jovovich, the reigning monarch of video game-based action films. EDIT
Posted Dec 17, 2020
The Midnight Sky (2020) Liam Lacey Despite many pluses (fervent score, solid cast, good visual effects sequences), Clooney's ruminative actioner is muddled and derivative, recalling better space dramas the director himself has appeared in. EDIT
Posted Dec 17, 2020
A-minus Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2020) Karen Gordon Viola Davis is an actor apparently incapable of a false note. She's a force of nature, playing a force of nature. She is perfection. EDIT
Posted Dec 17, 2020
B-plus Another Round (2020) Jim Slotek Amid the darkly comic question, "Do I think better when I drink?" an exceptional cast conjures midlife crises so real-seeming, we can smell their fear and heartbreak. EDIT
Posted Dec 16, 2020
C The Prom (2020) Liam Lacey The story lists forward in indulgent scenes that feel either too bloated (the musical numbers) or too thin (the dramatic ones). From camp to earnest messaging, it's like a sermon you believe, but still find too preachy EDIT
Posted Dec 11, 2020
A Let Them All Talk (2020) Karen Gordon Experiences, relationships, conversations, secrets, wounds, regrets, joys, etc. What starts as a wry comedy slowly morphs into something with intellectual and emotional weight. EDIT
Posted Dec 11, 2020
A-minus Wander Darkly (2020) Karen Gordon Miller and Luna are superb, traversing a range of emotional material without a false note. It's their anger, their confusion, and their love that breathes life into the movie. EDIT
Posted Dec 10, 2020
Queer Japan (2019) Liam Lacey A strong and well-made film illuminating (and celebrating) LGBTQ culture, much of it still underground, in contemporary Japan. EDIT
Posted Dec 9, 2020
The Legend of Baron To'a (2020) Liam Lacey This fun (and blood-free) low-budget action-comedy hits the right notes. EDIT
Posted Dec 3, 2020
Billie (2019) Kim Hughes Director Erskine sheds new light on an oft-told story that feels as resonant now as ever. EDIT
Posted Dec 3, 2020
Funny Boy (2020) Liam Lacey Though somewhat controversial, director Deepa Mehta's adaptation of Shyam Selvadurai's 1994 book neatly balances a heartfelt coming-of-age story against the Sri Lankan civil war. EDIT
Posted Dec 2, 2020
Rocks (2019) Kim Hughes A lovely, persuasive, and heartfelt film about teenage friendships and what family really means. EDIT
Posted Dec 1, 2020
B-plus Black Bear (2020) Jim Slotek Intriguingly weird, and only loosely tethered to its own reality, Black Bear is two movies in one - both on the theme of creativity-squeezed-from-pain, and both offering Aubrey Plaza the acting turn of her career. EDIT
Posted Dec 1, 2020
Stardust (2020) Kim Hughes A pointless, poorly conceived, and truly unnecessary film. EDIT
Posted Nov 27, 2020
C Happiest Season (2020) Thom Ernst A structurally efficient Christmas film that's rarely genuinely joyful. Though Duvall presents each scene as a gift wrapped in beautiful, hopeful packages, inside each one is yet another pair of socks. EDIT
Posted Nov 27, 2020
C Sweet Parents (2017) Jim Slotek Set in the New York of sitcom fame - where "broke" young people eat at restaurants, and live in "dumpy' flats, which would cost a broker's salary in rent - this morose drama would have worked better as farce. EDIT
Posted Nov 23, 2020
A-plus Sound of Metal (2019) Karen Gordon An engrossing deeply affecting, meticulously crafted movie. The tone is straightforward and naturalistic. The camera focuses on intimate connections between the characters. This is a thoughtful, grounded, human scale film. EDIT
Posted Nov 23, 2020
C-plus Vanguard (2020) Thom Ernst Let's be clear: Vanguard is not a great film. It's one of the lesser works in the Stanley Tong/Jackie Chan oeuvre. EDIT
Posted Nov 20, 2020
A Collective (2019) Liam Lacey One of those brutally truthful accounts that makes you question human nature itself. While the story is Romanian and specific, private wealth's hold over public welfare is a subject on everyone's minds these days. EDIT
Posted Nov 20, 2020
B-plus Mank (2020) Liam Lacey By making a film about a masterpiece, Fincher invites lofty comparisons the film can't match. It slips in and out of time like a drunk dream with gorgeously crafted sequences, but a lack of momentum and emotional connection. EDIT
Posted Nov 19, 2020
A The Twentieth Century (2019) Liam Lacey Rankin's treatment, combining Super-8 and 16-mm film, tinting, animation, puppets, cross-dressing performances, and theatrical sets, is a pyrotechnical tribute to a famously charisma-free bachelor politician. EDIT
Posted Nov 19, 2020
The Last Vermeer (2019) Karen Gordon Despite its rich true-life premise, Dan Friedkin's directorial debut scans like an episode of Law and Order: uneven and predictable. EDIT
Posted Nov 18, 2020
B-plus Donbass (2018) Jim Slotek What may surprise is how relatable the film is to our own situation, with its subplots of conspiracy, "anti-fascists," fake news, event actors and utterly malleable conceptions of reality. EDIT
Posted Nov 18, 2020
B Freaky (2020) Thom Ernst Freaky is an entertaining plunge into a satirical world of teenage slasher films, tossing aside charm for full-tilt gore, double-entendres and explicit sexual references. EDIT
Posted Nov 14, 2020
B-plus Martin Eden (2019) Liam Lacey Fitfully brilliant and almost equally exasperating. EDIT
Posted Nov 13, 2020
B-plus Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (2020) Liam Lacey With a steam-punk esthetic, CGI visuals, mass dance numbers and a score ranging in style from gospel to pop ballads to Broadway show-tunes, the sheer exuberance is uplifting. EDIT
Posted Nov 12, 2020
C Come Away (2020) Jim Slotek Awash in good intentions and weighed down by its grim premise, Come Away is a fantasy that fails to inspire, despite its star power and occasionally clever flourishes. EDIT
Posted Nov 12, 2020
The Climb (2019) Kim Hughes This comedic tale of complex friendship, powered by real-life friends and film co-writers Michael Angelo Covino and Kyle Marvin, scans as authentic and is highly entertaining. EDIT
Posted Nov 12, 2020
Major Arcana (2018) Thom Ernst This quietly compelling film, thought weirdly titled (Google its Tarot card connection), convincingly charts a man moving beyond a legacy of addiction. EDIT
Posted Nov 6, 2020
The Kid Detective (2020) Thom Ernst Reminiscent of Bobcat Goldthwait's World's Greatest Dad in its weird bleakness, director Evan Morgan's mystery/comedy is greater than the sum of its parts... or its lame title. EDIT
Posted Nov 5, 2020
B Let Him Go (2020) Jim Slotek Let Him Go doesn't reinvent the wheel. It is a genre thriller, where the good guys face impossible odds against cartoonish bad guys. But it plays out with style, violence that doesn't strain credulity, and with realistic consequences. EDIT
Posted Nov 4, 2020
Watson (2019) Liam Lacey Watson is a polarizing figure even among supporters, so director Chilcott's deference to her subject, though perhaps understandable, nevertheless diminishes her film's power. EDIT
Posted Nov 3, 2020
B The Cuban (2019) Jim Slotek There's a powerful heart at the core of The Cuban, and some distractions that detract from it. But it's Louis Gossett Jr. who performs the acting magic, popping in and out of consciousness and time-traveling in his head. EDIT
Posted Nov 3, 2020
Darkness in Tenement 45 (2020) Thom Ernst An intriguing premise and strong performances cannot save this relentlessly bleak sort-of thriller from collapsing under the weight of its imposed importance. EDIT
Posted Nov 3, 2020
Jimmy Carter: Rock & Roll President (2020) Kim Hughes Though not especially illuminating, this entertaining doc exploring Jimmy Carter's many musical associations is a star-gazer's delight. EDIT
Posted Oct 29, 2020
B-plus Love Child (2019) Liam Lacey Mulvad's strength here is a verité fly-on-the-wall technique, watching the couple through frustration, quarrels, and moments of lightness and joy, in a looping narrative that could be called Scenes from a Refugee Marriage. EDIT
Posted Oct 29, 2020