Hunt for the Wilderpeople – Movie Review

Hunt for the Wilderpeople is a pleasant comedy propelled almost exclusively by dry, character-driven humor. That’s a refreshing characteristic in a summer landscape bloated with contrived, action-heavy blockbusters and gross-out comedies led by men and women alike. Writer-director Taika Waititi is a creative force that will be increasingly nitpicked, considering his next film is Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok; independent filmmaking… Read more »


The Witch – Movie Review

After seeing The Witch for a second time, I’m certain it’ll be talked about for decades to come as a horror classic. It had been 13 months since I initially saw the film at its widely hyped premiere at the Sundance Film Festival (my initial thoughts can be found here), where I was left with an indelible… Read more »


Halloween-A-Thon Day 19, Bear Reviews Edition: Ringu

Note: The following contains spoilers. Imagine the scene. You’ve just returned home after vandalizing a woman’s resting place and climbing wells and thinking about ghosts and curses for many-a-nights and you sit down and the television turns out. Standing there is a bear on a unicycle and it slowly, menacingly unicycles towards the camera. You… Read more »


Halloween-A-Thon Day 18: Friday the 13th Part 7: The New Blood

Note: The following contains spoilers. In some ways I appreciate The New Blood more than most Friday the 13th movies. It at times manages to hit the “fun” tone that Jason Lives wanted to hit with better results, but the decision to have Jason face a telepath is probably an interesting one that was just… Read more »

the cabin in the woods holden curt jules dana marty mordecai 84805_gal

Halloween-A-Thon Day 17: The Cabin in the Woods

Note: The following contains spoilers. Early on in The Cabin in the Woods, our group of college kids visits an old gas station and gets warned about their doom from the station owner. The crotchety old fella is a cliché in every sense of the word, but while watching the scene I couldn’t help but… Read more »

Jason Lives Friday the 13th Part VI 29

Halloween-A-Thon Day 16: Friday the 13th Part 6: Jason Lives

Note: The following contains spoilers. I thought that I may have hit the nadir of the Friday the 13th franchise with A New Beginning, in which, just to remind everybody, a faux-Jason spends the movie slaughtering kids at a halfway house. But then I watched Jason Lives and found something even worse than the killing… Read more »


Halloween-A-Thon Day 15: Scream 2

Note: The following contains spoilers. I have conflicted feelings on Scream 2. While I really like the way they played with the villains’ motivations being responses to the common reasons people gave for violent behavior around the time the movie was released, the villains themselves didn’t quite come together for me, and they felt more… Read more »


Halloween-A-Thon Day 14: Friday the 13th: A New Beginning

Note: The following contains spoilers. Much of the bad word-of-mouth around A New Beginning stems from the fact that it doesn’t have Jason in it. Despite what people may say, this isn’t an inherent problem (the original film didn’t have Jason as the killer either, and we don’t even hear Jason’s name until the film… Read more »


Halloween-A-Thon Day 13: REC 2

Note: The following contains spoilers. REC 2 starts out very much as the Aliens to REC’s Alien. Meaning that the original was a group of ordinary people shoved into extraordinary circumstances that they have no real hope of overcoming and they get picked off one-by-one, while the sequel starts with an armed, highly-trained group (in… Read more »


Halloween-A-Thon Day 12: The Descent

Note: The following contains spoilers. One of the cave-dwelling monsters in The Descent attacks and scares the main group 56 minutes into a 96-minute movie. It’s a long time for the “villains” of the movie to not be active in terrorizing the main characters, but Neil Marshall masterfully builds tension throughout the first hour, and… Read more »

  • Friday-the-13th-friday-the-13th-11733336-1024-768

    Halloween-A-Thon Day 1: Friday the 13th

    First, an introduction. To get you all in the Halloween spirit this October, Cinematic Shadows is having a horror movie marathon. Every day we’ll watch a horror movie, and every day we’ll have a brief write-up on the film. These won’t be “reviews” as much as they will highlight one particularly interesting aspect of the… Read more »

  • bear

    Bear Reviews: Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

    It’s  in movies like Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol where you wish that the city of Dubai had bears roaming in it, just so that Tom Cruise would have one more obstacle in addition to a sandstorm that he has to deal with in that sequence. He can’t let nuclear launch codes get away, he’s chasing… Read more »

  • th

    Bear Reviews: Mission Impossible III

    I’m starting to just get frustrated now. Three movies into this series and Tom Cruise has yet to fight a bear. I realize that Cruise’s habit of doing his own stunts would mean he would probably try to actually fight a real bear (an ill-advised venture for any man or beast), but you’d think the… Read more »

  • American-Ultra-Exclusive-Clip

    American Ultra – Movie Review

    Note: this review is featured on the Phoenix Film Festival’s website.  American Ultra could be described as a stoner mixture of The Bourne Identity, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, and Bonnie & Clyde. But it could also be credited as a blazingly original story that navigates multiple genres with relative ease, particularly thanks to its dramatically affecting lead performances… Read more »

  • hero_MistressAmerica_2015_1

    Mistress America – Movie Review

    Note: this review is featured on the Phoenix Film Festival’s website.  Mistress America is Noah Baumbach’s polarizing new feature about a college student discovering herself alongside her soon-to-be stepsister. The most striking element of the film is how similar it is both thematically and narratively to Baumbach’s 2013 story, Frances Ha, which I loved. There, he navigated… Read more »

  • bear-blinkkig-eyes

    Bear Reviews: Mission Impossible II

    When watching the completely bear-free Mission Impossible II, there were two things that became clear to me: Tom Cruise is ridiculously charismatic. And this movie is terrible. Would a bear have saved this movie? I can’t say for sure, but I can’t imagine a reality in which Tom Cruise is doing his acrobat stuff to… Read more »

  • Bear Reviews: Mission Impossible

    It’s a new month, and that means Bear Reviews is taking a look back at a new slew of movies. For August, we’re doing the Mission Impossible Franchise. Having watched four out of five Mission Impossible movies over the span of a week, I’m honestly not convinced that animals exist in the MI universe, let alone that… Read more »

  • bear-with-present-b1415

    Bear Reviews: The Gift

      It has been many moons since I’ve felt so fundamentally betrayed by a movie as I did by The Gift. If fiction is all about making promises to your audience and following up on them, The Gift is a failure of this on a basic level. The movie promises that there will be A… Read more »

  • bear2

    Bear Reviews: Inside Out

      Inside Out gets five bears. This is so satisfying to finally type for only the second time. The bear-in-question is only in the movie for maybe five seconds, but that’s more Bear-Per-Frame than literally every other movie I’ve Bear Reviewed so far. Is it an ideal representation of bears in media? Not quite. The… Read more »

  • bear

    Bear Reviews: Captain America: The First Avenger

      As has often been the case in these Marvel movies, there are no bears in Captain America: The First Avenger. But does that mean that the movie gets no bears? Let’s not jump to any conclusions here. For while I do not normally award bears to movies that contain bare-chested men, I have made… Read more »