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HELLBOY (2019)
"Without sequels, just an inferior reboot."
2 stars
Jay Seaver says... "It's kind of a shame that this relaunch of "Hellboy" didn't light up the box office, not because it's a particularly good movie which deserves success - it isn't - but because the chance of sequels and spin-offs was the best argument for starting fresh rather than having Guillermo del Toro direct another one to complete his trilogy. There's just enough potential here that you could see it getting refined into something better with another bite at the apple, but now it can't help but be seen as anything other than a misguided disappointment." (more)
"YouTube: The Movie."
3 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT BOSTON UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL 21: I haven't exactly warmed on "Clickbait" in the days between seeing it and sitting down to write about it - I certainly don't want to watch it again - but I've perhaps grown to begrudgingly accept that what came across as weaknesses may not entirely be so, especially for those whose ages and experiences are closer to those of its characters. It's got the same energy as the YouTube videos it comments on, and maybe that just can't translate to a feature-length film." (more)
"How Dirty Girls Get Clean"
5 stars
Peter Sobczynski says... "The year is still relatively young, I suppose, but is hard to think that there will be a more discomfiting cinematic experience this year that “Her Smell,” writer-director Alex Ross Perry’s brutally visceral drama that introduces viewers to a character that most viewers will write off as a spectacularly vain and self-absorbed monster after only a few minutes and then unsparingly observes her in unsparing detail as she goes completely off the rails thanks to a toxic combination of drugs, ego and neediness and then as she struggles to come to terms with everything that she lost along the way. For many viewers, it will all simply be too much—and at 135 minutes, it may strike others as too much of too much—but for those who are able to endure it all, his portrait of a toxic and self-destructive personality crisis writ large is a strangely compelling affair that is anchored by one of the most hellaciously go-for-broke performances that you will likely encounter on the big screen anytime soon." (more)
"It Follows"
4 stars
Peter Sobczynski says... "Man, what a difference a year makes. it was just about this time last year that the anticipation level for “Under the Silver Lake,” the mysterious new film from David Robert Mitchell (his first since the release of his indie horror hit “It Follows”), hit a fever pitch when it became one of the two U.S. films to play in competition at the Cannes Film Festival. Unfortunately, the word after the premiere was not particularly good and while some critics found some interesting things about it, many dismissed it as a weird and unfocused misfire from a talented filmmaker who had bitten off far more than he could possibly chew. After that, things quickly went downhill as its distributor decided to delay its summer release until Christmastime amidst rumors that Mitchell was working on a reedit. Then it was mysteriously yanked from the Christmas schedule at the last minute and disappeared from view until it was recently announced that the entire release of what was once considered to be a big-ticket item had been reduced to a grand total of two theaters this weekend followed by it hitting VOD this coming Tuesday." (more)
"Slight, but with two very charming performances."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... ""The Chaperone" is cheerier and more effervescent than it sometimes seems like it should be; it tells the story of a woman who finds happiness and otherwise makes a less-than-ideal situation better in small, pragmatic ways in a way that's faithful to its 1922 setting despite the modern instinct to want more confrontation and a sharper edge. This movie is pleasant and accommodating even when it seems like it maybe shouldn't be, but that's hardly a mark against it - it's a modestly delightful story that makes a virtue out of finding the best way to look at difficult situations." (more)
"Charming, beautiful, just generally well-done."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "There were only a handful of people in the theater for a 3D screening of "Missing Link" on a Sunday evening two days after it opened, and while there are potential reasons for sparse attendance in the description, I'm starting to wonder what more Laika has to do to get people to come out for their movies. "Missing Link" is, as is customary with this company's productions, whimsically designed, big-hearted, impeccably voiced, precisely and beautifully filmed one frame at a time, and just generally everything one might wish a movie for the whole family to be. What else do these guys have to do?" (more)
"High-grade kung fu."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "That "Master Z" took a few months to cross the Pacific means that the distributor was able to attach a preview for "Ip Man 4" to this spinoff from the previous film in the series, and while it might just not be a great trailer, it wouldn't be surprising if fans were more enthused about seeing this track continue than the main one. Less boxed-in by history and blessed with a top-notch cast, this "Ip Man Legacy" film doesn't have quite so much weight on it and can just be good martial-arts action." (more)
"Come for shenanigans, stay for principle (or vice versa)."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT BOSTON UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL 21: The question mark in the title of "Hail Satan?" does not truly indicate any sort of uncertainty; it is never unclear what sort of conclusions director Penny Lane wants the audience to draw where the Satanic Temple is concerned. Instead, it serves as the same sort of rhetorical device as the Temple itself - a quick, visible way to at least attempt reorienting one's perspective on something that can easily be taken for granted because it's so entrenched. It's a successful gambit, a good initial indication of how good both the film and its subject are at getting attention and making a point." (more)
"At last, something for adults."
5 stars
Rob Gonsalves says... "Some independent movies wear their miserablism as a badge of perverse pride. “We will make you look at despair, poverty, sickness, the fragility of existence,” they promise us, “for your own good. Eat your spinach and recognize our noble intentions.” These movies think being a depression delivery system is enough to qualify as art." (more)
"As good as a corporate crossover dream can be."
4 stars
Rob Gonsalves says... "There are times when the mostly rightly-acclaimed "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" is a bit much — mainly towards the end, because the movie is also a bit long. I can’t get mad at it, though." (more)

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