‘Everything, Everywhere, All at Once:’ a multiverse of meaning

From “Rick and Morty” and “Into the Spider-Verse” to upcoming blockbusters like “Multiverse of Madness” and the “Flash” movie, the concept of traversing parallel universes is currently experiencing a cultural renaissance, and it is no great stretch of the imagination to see why. It’s fun to cast off from the hum-drum wasteland of our known […]

‘Ozark’ Season 4 Part 1: same stress, different day

Despite having long languished in its comparisons to Breaking Bad, “Ozark” has always been and remains one of the most electrifying shows on Netflix. The harrowing story of an in-too-deep financial advisor and his unassuming family being forced to launder Mexican cartel money in the boonies of Missouri, “Ozark” has, over its previous three seasons, […]

The mesmerizing mayhem of ‘The Blacktongue Thief’

The ability to imbue a narrative with a personality, a definite taste to the text and world the author has dreamt up, is a skill that is as essential as it is illusive. It’s not enough for a story to be interesting — its world must have an identifiable texture, its characters a color and […]

‘Inside Job’ shouldn’t stay a secret

It is a tired cliche at this point to say that any new adult animated series is like “Rick and Morty.” The off-the-wall imaginative adventure of the week chaotic comedy style of series existed long before Roiland and Harmon’s cartoon became the poster boy of the genre. “Futurama” was “Rick and Morty” long before “Rick […]

‘Midnight Mass’: The horrors of self-righteous faith

What is the purpose of faith? What are we supposed to receive from our dedication to a higher power? Are we supposed to receive anything at all or is that a selfish minimization of the point of belief? The societal role of religion, the lofty virtues and corrosive tendencies of fervent faith, has always been […]

Hilarious horror in James Wan’s ‘Malignant’

Whatever credit James Wan is receiving for being the standard bearer of modern horror, I can safely say it is not enough. Wan, like Wes Craven before him, is a champion of horror movie franchises, creating the “Saw” series in the 2000s and spending the last decade shepherding the “Conjuring Universe,” including the “Annabelle” films, […]

‘Reminiscence:’ Memorably Forgettable

Remember “Inception?” Over a decade ago, Christopher Nolan’s science fiction masterpiece surged into theaters to dazzle us with its unique premise, mind-bending plot and fantastical visuals. Well, writer-director Lisa Joy really hopes you remember “Inception” because she sure did when she made “Reminiscence.” Released in theaters and streaming on HBO Max, “Reminiscence” reeks of “Inception” […]

Acceptance, Aspiration and the Dream-like Fantasy of “The Green Knight”

Of all the sweeping epics of Arthurian legend, “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” has always stood tall among the crowd for how small and off-puttingly personal it is. While other knights set out to search for holy relics or slay dragons, Gawain’s adventure is one of self-discovery, our hero fighting to find what he […]

‘Infinity Train’ season four is the end of the line

“Infinity Train” was an animated anthology series created by Owen Dennis, which aired on Cartoon Network. The show revolved around an otherworldly train of endless cars that unsuspecting people get teleported to when they are faced with an emotional crossroads in their lives. Each train car contained its own unique pocket universe complete with puzzles […]

‘Kill 6 Billion Demons’ is worldbuilding insanity

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. An unassuming commoner is revealed to be the chosen one, teams up with a ragtag group of misfits and embarks on an epic journey, saving the kidnapped princess and liberating the kingdom from darkness and injustice to usher in an era of peace. Old hat right? Now, […]

‘Black Messiah’ unveils the FBI’s government sanctioned violence

The phrase “Black Messiah” is used only once in Shaka King’s “Judas and the Black Messiah,” but its use carries a great significance. The messiah in question is Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya), the chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party (BPP) during the late 1960s. He was an activist whose popularity and […]

‘Wonder Woman 84:’ The perils of trying when you shouldn’t

There is a certain liberation to not having any standards, cataclysmic failure freeing you from all expectations. The DC Extended Universe (DCEU) had this freedom. Like a skyscraper built on sand, their whole experiment has collapsed, and while some can still find shelter amidst the ruins, it’s rather shabby housing compared to what Marvel has […]

‘The Trial of the Chicago 7:’ how to make history worthless

In 1968, ten thousand demonstrators gathered in Chicago during the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in order to protest the Vietnam War. This counterculture gathering eventually culminated in the police and National Guard attacking the crowds with tear gas and batons. Charges were filed by the Justice Department against the organizers of the protests, including Tom […]

‘Bly Manor’ may not be scary, but it is lovely nonetheless

Netflix’s “The Haunting of Bly Manor” was cursed from its very conception. The show is the second entry in the “Haunting” anthology, preceded by the now-legendary “Haunting of Hill House.” “Hill House” was a heart-stopping series that seemed to master the horror genre. Being the follow-up act to anything that good is unenviable. Be too […]

‘Ratched’ is wretched

Ryan Murphy fascinates me. As someone who appreciates well-crafted narratives and gripping characters, his propensity to drive his premises into meandering self indulgence and cartoonish irreverence should nauseate me. From a writing standpoint he elicits more sighs of mediocrity than shouts of genius. And yet despite it all, Murphy’s keen eye for style and homage, […]

The underrated frozen hellscape that is AMC’s “The Terror”

Lost in the glow of “Better Call Saul” and “Breaking Bad,” AMC’s forgotten child, “The Terror,” remains one of the most underrated pieces of television ever ignored on the small screen. The 10 episode anthology series is a fictionalized account of Franklin’s Lost Expedition, a real life voyage of Arctic exploration undertaken by the British […]

Hoot recommends: quarantine edition

“Beastars” Okay, so hear me out. Paru Itagaki’s comedy manga “Beastars” about a bunch of anthropomorphic animals going to high school might look like furry fluff fodder—and it kind of is—but the series is a deeply emotional and gloriously insane masterpiece. I went into “Beastars” expecting a timewaster Zootopia race allegory about a city of […]

‘The Gentlemen’ review: unique, but not special

A unique storytelling gimmick is a tricky thing for a film to rely on, as it can either enhance the impact and appeal of a narrative, or it can distract and drain it. While not advertised around it, Guy Richie’s “The Gentlemen” is a movie entirely entranced and engorged on its own gimmick. The narrative […]

‘Jojo Rabbit’ review: the hilarious horror of childishness

There seem to be two schools of thought around addressing Hitler and Nazism in media. You can use comedy and satire to poke fun at Hitler and expose the fundamental flaws and childishness of Nazi ideology. With this direction, you run the risk of downplaying the magnitude of the horrors Hitler’s regime wrought. You can […]

‘Zombieland: Double Tap’—just watch the first one

There is an important scene midway through the first “Zombieland” movie that I think sheds light on it’s sequel’s failings. In it, our group of survivors, having formed an uneasy truce with each other, make a pit stop at an abandoned kitsch gift shop and joyously destroy all the knicknacks together in order to let […]