“DARK ASSET”; let’s be honest here | MOVIE REVIEW

Telling spy stories to women in bars
Starring Byron Mann, Robert Patrick and Helena Mattsson

A super soldier genetically enhanced for maximum power; a living, breathing killing machine. The soldier escapes from a laboratory and must be stopped. Who is the real villain, the soldier or the scientists who created him? The new action film “Dark Asset” knows audiences have been here before and doesn’t seem to care. Writer/director Michael Winnick plays with time, and fills the screen with ... more >

In “Nina & Irena” filmmaker Daniel Lombroso interviews his grandmother, who survived the Holocaust

Revealing a tragic tale of loss

The filmmaker Daniel Lombroso continues to amaze me. I learned of his work early in the pandemic, encountering his documentary “White Noise” at the first (but not last) virtual AFI DOCS fest in 2020. That searing film—which was on my best-of-the-year list—introduced us to true believers in the cause of white supremacy, including a young Canadian woman who is among the most intriguing documentary ... more >

“THE CURSE OF WILLOW SONG,” one of the year’s most memorable films | REVIEW

Valerie Tian, Elfina Luk, Ingrid Nilson and Adam Lolacher
Directed by Karen Lam

Writer/director Karen Lam’s “The Curse of Willow Song” is an interesting character study and effective horror film crafted with an artful eye and the kind of picture modern horror (nay, modern film, in general) needs badly. This is a well-written film that doesn’t trade chills for logic and one that respects its audience by creating adult characters presented with honesty. Shot in black and ... more >

Please don’t go to sleep; “MEGALOMANIAC”

Nightmarish film will leave an impression on you
Starring Eline Schumacher and Benjamin Ramon
Directed by Karim Ouelhaj

Inspired by the true story of the “Butcher of Mons” who murdered five women between 1996 and 1997 (and was never caught), the new Belgian thriller “Megalomaniac” is an artful and unrelenting look at madness and murder through the eyes of a psychopath. What sets this film apart from the tonnage of serial killer films in existence, is the fact that writer/director Karim Ouelhaj examines the “sins of ... more >

Plot threads and character arcs dangling in the emptiness of it all; “BAD THINGS”

Molly Ringwald, Gayle Rankin, Hari Nef, Annabelle Dexter-Jones and Rad Pereira
Directed by Stewart Thorndike

Stewart Thorndike, the writer and director of the new horror film “Bad Things” loves “The Shining.” Thorndike really loves that picture and doesn’t want his audience to forget it, so he reminds us over and over again. While many a great film has been crafted out of homages to other works, it helps to have an endgame regarding your screenplay. These proceedings start out well enough as we ... more >

Something is rotten in Holdenfield the week before Halloween; “COBWEB”

Starring Woody Norman, Lizzy Caplan and Antony Starr
Directed by Samuel Bodin

The creators of the new horror film “Cobweb” and I are simpatico regarding the sad state of the modern horror film. My lack of patience with the unoriginality and lack of craft in most of today’s horror pictures is never-ending. In the twenty-first century it is rare to find a filmmaker who knows how to use mood to right effect. Make no mistake, there are some very talented horror filmmakers ... more >

Yes. But no. The “HEART OF STONE” review

Dull is the adjective that sticks the most
Gal Gadot, Jing Lusi, Jamie Dornan and Paul Ready
Directed by Tom Harper

Written by Allison Schroeder and Greg Ruka and directed by Tom Harper, the new Netflix action thriller “Heart of Stone” is the dictionary definition of ludicrous. Gal Gadot (trying hard to emote but coming off stiff as a board) stars as Rachel Stone, a technician for MI6 whose handler is Parker (Jamie Dornan, truly one of the most dreadfully uninteresting actors working today). Aping the 007 ... more >