Monday, November 26, 2018

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

★½ - A Review by Cameron Kanachki

In my earlier years, I was a huge fan of the Harry Potter series, both films & books. However, over the years, my passion for the franchise has become more muted. Nevertheless, I still consider it to be an influential aspect of my childhood.

Which is why I am saddened to say that Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is an utter disappointment. The tenth film in the now-titled Wizarding World franchise, & set in 1927, the film follows Newt Scamander (played by Eddie Redmayne), who is applying to get his international traveling privileges reinstated at the Ministry of Magic after having them revoked due to his time in New York. While at the Ministry, he runs into Leta Lestrange (played by Zoë Kravitz), who is engaged to Newt's brother, Theseus (played by Callum Turner). Newt's travel privileges are eventually reinstated; however, Newt & Theseus must work to locate Credence Barebone (played by Ezra Miller), an Obscurial who was last seen in Paris, & may be Leta's long-lost brother, Corvus. Although Newt declines, he is eventually persuaded by Hogwarts Prof. Albus Dumbledore (played by Jude Law) to find Credence.

Meanwhile, dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (played by Johnny Depp) has escaped authorities while in transit to England with the help of his follower from the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA), Abernathy (played by Kevin Guthrie). Grindelwald is also after Credence, as Grindelwald believes Credence is the only one who can stop Dumbledore.

Newt returns to his home to find 2 old friends from New York: Jacob Kowalski (played by Dan Fogler), a No-Maj (Muggle); & his girlfriend, Queenie Goldstein (played by Alison Sudol). Queenie tells Newt that her & Jacob are trying to find her sister, Tina (played by Katherine Waterston), who is in Paris going after Credence along with Yusuf Kama (played by William Nadylam).

They find Credence at a circus in Paris, where he has befriended Nagini (played by Claudia Kim), a Maledictus who can transform into a snake. But as everyone descends on Paris, so does Grindelwald, as he plans to gather his followers & get them to rise up as he seeks pure-blood wizard domination.

The cast is a mixed bag. Waterston, Fogler, Sudol & Law are easily the standouts of the cast. Miller, Kravitz, & Turner are serviceable. However, Redmayne is underwhelming, & Depp (who shouldn't be in any films ever again for both on-screen & off-screen problems) is nowhere near menacing enough to be even a serviceable villain.

David Yates' direction is mediocre. While Yates is able to visually excite the audience, he can't get good performances out of some of his actors, & he doesn't manage to provide enough tension.

J.K. Rowling's screenplay is a mess. The plot is way too overstuffed, the narrative is incoherent, including many inaccuracies when it comes to Wizarding World history, the characterization is thin, & the dialogue is atrocious.

Colleen Atwood's costume design is excellent. The costumes are period-accurate, lovely to look at, & have that classic Wizarding World flair to them.

Stuart Craig's production design is amazing. The sets are period-accurate, lovely to look at, immersive, & also have that classic Wizarding World flair to them.

And the visual effects are polarizing. Some of the CGI is incredible; however, some of the CGI looks horrible, looking like obvious green screen.

This is easily the worst film in the Wizarding World franchise. Although it has some good performances & production values, they're overshadowed by incompetent direction & a terrible screenplay.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald was seen by me at the MJR Marketplace Digital Cinema 20 in Sterling Heights, MI on Friday, November 16, 2018. It is in theaters everywhere. Its runtime is 134 minutes, & it is rated PG-13 for some sequences of fantasy action.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The Grinch

★★★½ - A Review by Cameron Kanachki

I'll be honest: I never really got into watching all the classic Christmas specials when I was younger. I only remember watching Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman & The Little Drummer Boy once or twice when I was about 4, but I never watched A Charlie Brown Christmas or How the Grinch Stole Christmas!. In fact, the only Christmas special I really want to watch is The Star Wars Holiday Special. But I have seen my fair share of Christmas movies, like A Christmas Story & Home Alone.

The Grinch isn't perfect, but it's an enjoyably good Christmas family film. Based on the 1957 book How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss, the film follows The Grinch (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch), the infamous hater of Christmas from just north of Whoville. Living alone with his dog Max, The Grinch hates Christmas with all of his being, possibly because his heart is 2 sizes too small.

Mayor McGerkle (voiced by Angela Lansbury), the mayor of Whoville, has called for Whoville's Christmas to be 3 times larger this year, for which jolly citizen Bricklebaum (voiced by Kenan Thompson) is leading the way. The Grinch, absolutely displeased by this, concocts a scheme to steal the presents from all the houses in Whoville while dressed as Santa Claus, in the hopes of ruining Christmas for Whoville.

Meanwhile, young Cindy Lou Who (voiced by Cameron Seely), wishes to meet Santa Claus to thank him for helping her mother Donna (voiced by Rashida Jones) every Christmas. While trying to meet Santa Claus, she uncovers The Grinch's plan. Along the way, The Grinch will hopefully learn the true meaning of Christmas.

The cast is amazing. Benedict Cumberbatch has a lot of fun with his role, & his voice perfectly fits the character. The rest of the voice cast, especially Thompson & Seely, do great jobs as well. But this belongs to Cumberbatch, & he runs with it.

The direction by Scott Mosier & Yarrow Cheney is great. Although there's some usual debut bumps, they overcome those bumps with a lot of heart.

The screenplay by Michael LeSieur & Tommy Swerdlow is very good. Although the plot doesn't add anything new to the story, the characterization is excellent, & the dialogue is very humorous.

And the animation is wondrous. The animation is very colorful & very attentive to detail, adding up to what is one of Illumination's best efforts when it comes to the creation of the animated world of the film.

This is a solid animated film. It's not a masterpiece, but it might just be enough to make your heart grow 3 sizes bigger.

The Grinch was seen by me at the MJR Marketplace Digital Cinema 20 in Sterling Heights, MI on Friday, November 9, 2018. It is in theaters everywhere. Its runtime is 86 minutes, & it is rated PG for brief rude humor.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Boy Erased

★★★★★ - A Review by Cameron Kanachki

We shouldn't have to make films like this. It's 2018. Gay conversion therapy should be a thing of the distant past. It's been discredited by the entire medical community, yet many Christian churches still believe that it can work (which it can't), only 14 states have banned it, & our Vice President is a fervent supporter of this barbaric practice. It's been estimated that about 700,000 Americans have gone through this practice, all because the people around them can't accept the fact that they are LGBTQ+.

Boy Erased shouldn't be necessary. It shouldn't be something that needs to be seen. But sadly, it is. And it is a film of immense emotional power. Based on the 2016 book Boy Erased by Garrard Conley, & set in the mid-2000s, the film follows Jared Eamons (played by Lucas Hedges), the son of housewife Nancy Eamons (played by Nicole Kidman) & car-dealer/Baptist pastor Marshall Eamons (played by Russell Crowe).

Jared leads a simple, Christian life, & he continues this as he goes off to college. But once he gets to college, he starts to fully realize something: he's gay. He keeps this secret from his parents, as they are Baptist, & are in line with the evangelical beliefs on homosexuality. However, these plans are thwarted when Jared is forcibly outed by a classmate, Henry (played by Joe Alwyn). After consulting with fellow church members, Marshall gives Jared an ultimatum: continue his "act of sin," or try to "fix the problem." Not wanting to lose his family, Jared reluctantly agrees to go to conversion therapy.

Despite protests by Dr. Muldoon (played by Cherry Jones), Nancy drives Jared to Love In Action, a conversion therapy program headed by Victor Sykes (played by Joel Edgerton), with the borderline abusive Brandon (played by Flea) as his second-in-command. Jared befriends some people at Love In Action, namely Jon (played by Xavier Dolan) & Gary (played by Troye Sivan). He tries desperately to fix his "problem," but eventually realizes that it is not something that can be fixed, & is something that is just part of who he is. But the road to acceptance will be a long one.

The cast is spectacular. Lucas Hedges gives the best performance of his career, showing that he is a force to be reckoned with. Nicole Kidman gives one of her best performances ever. Joel Edgerton gives his one of his best performances. And Russell Crowe gives his best performance since Cinderella Man.

Joel Edgerton's direction is excellent. Edgerton thoroughly gets the message across without coming off as heavy-handed, & shows that he can direct as well as he can act.

Joel Edgerton's screenplay is phenomenal. Edgerton does a terrific job adapting the book, keeping the heart & soul of Conley's book, along with the message & an eventual light at the end of the tunnel.

Eduard Grau's cinematography is fantastic. Grau's camerawork is composed of a great long take & some astonishing close-ups, further heightening the tension between the family & between the members of the program.

And the score by Danny Bensi & Saunder Jurriaans is amazing. The score is led by a somber piano & mournful violins, further adding to the solemn tone of the film.

This is one of the best films of the year. It shouldn't be necessary, but it is. It's well-acted, well-directed, & well-written, but it is definitely an important film, one that will hopefully inspire people to take action & demand the ban of gay conversion therapy.

Boy Erased was seen by me at an advance screening at the Landmark Main Art Theatre in Royal Oak, MI on Monday, November 5, 2018; it will start showing at The Maple Theater in Bloomfield Township, MI & the United Artists Commerce Township Stadium 14 in Commerce Township, MI on Friday, November 9, 2018; it will expand further starting Friday, November 16, 2018. Its runtime is 114 minutes, & it is rated R for sexual content including an assault, some language & brief drug use.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Free Solo

★★★★★ - A Review by Cameron Kanachki

I think I'm not alone here in saying that I'm afraid of heights. I also think I'm not alone here in saying that I would never go rock climbing above the height of the rock-climbing course at CJ Barrymore's. But I think we can all agree we would never go rock climbing without any safety harnesses whatsoever.

And that is the subject of Free Solo, an absolutely thrilling & vivacious documentary. The film follows Alex Honnold, a free-solo rock climber, which means that he goes rock climbing without any protective equipment, which seems like an absolutely insane thing to do, but it's something to admire. A climber since he was 5, Honnold has lived almost his entire life with a deeply intense passion for climbing.

Honnold is preparing for his biggest climb yet: a free-solo climb of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. The climb is about 3,200 feet, traversing through difficult terrain, going up & down. It is incredibly dangerous, possibly the most dangerous of all of his climbs. He has thought about doing it since 2006, but he has pushed it off every year until now.

Everyone around Honnold is nervous about this attempt, from the directors of the documentary, to fellow free-solo climber Tommy Caldwell, to Honnold's girlfriend, Sanni McCandless. Honnold is absolutely sure that he can do this. But the attempt will prove to be intensely difficult for everyone involved.

The direction by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi & Jimmy Chin is excellent. Vasarhelyi & Chin manage to treat Honnold as someone who is determined but not insane (although what he is doing might end up sounding incredibly insane). Also, they make the film interesting & nail-biting, especially in the final half-hour.

This is one of the best documentaries of the year. It's a intensely thrilling documentary about a man who is determined to accomplish his big goal.

Free Solo was seen by me at the Landmark Main Art Theatre in Royal Oak, MI on Saturday, November 3, 2018. It is currently in 3 theaters in the Detroit area: the Landmark Main Art Theatre in Royal Oak, MI; the AMC Forum 30 in Sterling Heights, MI; & the State Theatre in Ann Arbor, MI. Its runtime is 100 minutes, & it is rated PG-13 for brief strong language.


★★★★★ - A Review by Cameron Kanachki

Dario Argento's 1977 giallo horror film Suspiria is considered by many film historians to be one of the best films of its genre. The film's striking cinematography, stylish direction, & terrific acting continue to be acclaimed many years after its release. Although I have never seen it, it is one that I plan to watch soon.

When I heard that they would be making a reimagining of Suspiria, I had mixed feelings. Although Luca Guadagnino is a terrific director, & the cast was amazing, I was a bit concerned that he might not be able to work well in this genre, this being outside of his usual drama films.

But I should've never doubted him. Suspiria is a spectacular reimagining of the original film. Based on the 1977 film Suspiria, & set in 1977 Berlin, the film follows Susie Bannion (played by Dakota Johnson), a young woman from a Mennonite family in Ohio, led by Mrs. Bannion (played by Małgosia Bela). She has moved to West Berlin to join the prestigious Markos Dance Academy, into which she has been admitted. The Markos Dance Academy has been reeling from the disappearance of student Patricia Hingle (played by Chlöe Grace Moretz). She had disappeared after alerting her psychiatrist Dr. Josef Klemperer (played by Lutz Ebersdorf), who himself lost his wife Anke (played by Jessica Harper) while in a concentration camp, that the academy is run by a coven. Patricia's notebook mentions The Three Mothers: Mother Tenenbrarum; Mother Lachrymarum, & Mother Suspiriourum.

While this occurs, the matrons of the academy are arguing whether Mother Helena Markos (played by XXXXX XXXXXXX) or Madame Blanc (played by Tilda Swinton) should be the leader of the coven. The matrons are Miss Tanner (played by Angela Winkler); Miss Vendergast (played by Ingrid Caven); Miss Griffith (played by Sylvie Testud); Miss Huller (played by Renée Soutendijk); Miss Balfour (played by Christine LeBoutte); Miss Millius (played by Alek Wek); & Miss Kaplitt (played by Brigitte Cuvelier).

The academy includes Olga Ivanova (played by Elena Fokina), Flava (played by Fabrizia Sacchi), & Sara Simms (played by Mia Goth), with whom Susie starts a friendship. Eventually, Susie rises to the top of the academy. But things start to turn more for the worse at the academy, leaving everyone to wonder what will happen to them.

The cast is fantastic. Dakota Johnson shows that she is not only a good a good actress, but a great one. Tilda Swinton is amazing once again. And Lutz Ebersdorf gives a great debut performance. Some have theorized that Lutz Ebersdorf is just Tilda Swinton in a ton of makeup, but I doubt it.

Luca Guadagnino's direction is excellent. Guadagnino goes for a muted style for this reimagining, & it works wonders. And he focuses in on pure terror rather than jump scares, which also works wonders.

David Kajganich's screenplay is brilliant. Kajganich does a great job of reimagining Suspiria by updating some stuff. Also, the plot is very intricate, the characters are intriguing, the dialogue is terrific, & the themes, such as motherhood, abuse of power & national guilt are very well-developed & well-thought out.

Sayombhu Mukdeeprom's cinematography is gorgeous. The color palette is very muted, with no primary colors, & that helps add to the creepy feel of the film.

Walter Fasano's editing is phenomenal. There aren't any bad cuts or edits, & the film is intentionally slow-paced, making it an intensely slow burn.

Giulia Piersanti's costume design is astonishing. The costumes are period-accurate, inherently muted, & very lovely to look at.

Inbal Weinberg's production design is spectacular. The sets are period-accurate, inherently muted, & absolutely immersive.

The makeup & hairstyling is outstanding. The makeup is absolutely transformative yet never over-the-top, especially for some characters.

The sound design is impeccable. The eerie sounds dig deep into the audience's souls, further increasing the tension.

And Thom Yorke's music is incredible. The original songs he wrote are beautifully made & terrifically written. And the original score is very eerie, helping build the tension.

This is not one of the best films of the year, but one of the best of the decade. It's a cinematic accomplishment of the highest order. It's definitely divisive, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Suspiria was seen by me at the MJR Troy Grand Digital Cinema 16 in Troy, MI on Saturday, November 3, 2018. It is currently in 2 theaters in the Detroit area: the MJR Troy Grand Digital Cinema 16 in Troy, MI; & the State Theatre in Ann Arbor, MI. Its runtime is 152 minutes, & it is rated R for disturbing content involving ritualistic violence, bloody images & graphic nudity, & for some language including sexual references.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Can You Ever Forgive Me?

★★★★★ - A Review by Cameron Kanachki

Comedic actors doing dramatic roles have a storied history in Hollywood. Robin Williams won an Oscar for Good Will Hunting, & Adam Sandler showed some amazing acting power in Punch-Drunk Love. Although there are some times where it hasn't worked out (any of Vince Vaughn's dramatic performances other than Into the Wild), it has worked out well for the most part.

Can You Ever Forgive Me? is a brilliantly witty yet dramatic portrayal of a truly astonishing series of literary crimes. Based on the book Can You Ever Forgive Me? by Lee Israel, the film follows Lee Israel (played by Melissa McCarthy), a writer. Once popular for writing several biographies of high-profile women, Israel has fallen on hard times due to her outdated writing style & her difficult personality, as she is an alcoholic.

One day, at a bar, she runs into old friend Jack Hock (played by Richard E. Grant), who is openly gay & also an alcoholic & a bit of a drug addict. They start to rekindle their friendship, & they are almost a perfect fit for a friendship, as they are both misanthropes.

Around this time, Israel becomes financially despondent, having to sell a Katharine Hepburn letter to get some money. While doing research for her upcoming book about Fanny Brice, she comes across a letter in a book about her. Israel sneaks it out of the library & sells it as well, albeit for a lower price than the Hepburn letter.

From here, Israel has a pleasant idea to make money: forge letters written by literary icons & sell them. She eventually gets Hock in on this, & for a while, their plan goes well, getting at least $200 per letter. But when a letter supposedly written by Noel Coward raises some eyebrows, their criminal enterprise begins to crash down.

The cast is fantastic. Melissa McCarthy easily gives her best performance yet. She is perfectly misanthropic & witty. Richard E. Grant is also phenomenal, & is the MVP here. He is perfectly sardonic.

Marielle Heller's direction is excellent. Heller's direction is subdued, & it handles the tonal shifts incredibly well.

And the screenplay by Nicole Holofcener & Jeff Whitty is amazing. Holofcener & Whitty do a great job of adapting from the source material, keeping Israel's trademark wit.

This is one of the best films of the year. It's a well-acted & well-written film about a series of letters that were also a huge crime.

Can You Ever Forgive Me? was seen by me at the Landmark Main Art Theatre in Royal Oak, MI on Friday, November 2, 2018. It is currently in 3 theaters in the Detroit area: the Landmark Main Art Theatre in Royal Oak, MI; The Maple Theater in Bloomfield Township, MI; & the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor, MI. Its runtime is 106 minutes, & it is rated R for language including some sexual references, & brief drug use.

Bohemian Rhapsody

★★½ - A Review by Cameron Kanachki

Queen was one of the greatest rock bands of all time. Their songwriting, their talent, & their stage presence made Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor & John Deacon legends. Only a film as legendary as them would suffice.

Bohemian Rhapsody, despite some promise, is not legendary. It's ultimately a middling film. Set from 1970-1985, the film follows Farrokh Bulsara (played by Rami Malek), a British luggage handler at Heathrow Airport of Indian Parsi descent. One night, Farrokh attends a concert at a nightclub for the band Smile. After the concert, he meets the band's guitarist, Brian May (played by Gwilym Lee), &  the band's drummer, Roger Taylor (played by Ben Hardy). Farrokh auditions to become their new lead singer, as their former lead singer, Tim Staffell (played by Jack Roth), leaves to join Humpy Bong; he eventually receives the role. After bassist John Deacon (played by Joe Mazzello) joins on, they become Queen.

After recording their debut album, Queen signs with EMI, hires John Reid (played by Aidan Gillen) as their manager, & hires Jim Beach (played by Tom Hollander) as their lawyer. Also, Farrokh changes his name to Freddie Mercury, & starts a relationship with Mary Austin (played by Lucy Boynton), eventually becoming engaged to her. However, as Queen goes on tour in the US, Freddie becomes confused about his sexual orientation.

In 1975, Queen records A Night at the Opera, but EMI executive Ray Foster (played by Mike Myers) refuses to have Bohemian Rhapsody released a single, saying it is too long. Despite mixed reviews, Bohemian Rhapsody becomes a smash hit.

Queen remains a successful band into the 1980s, but inner turmoil starts to threaten the band. Freddie's attitude & the musical direction threaten to tear the band apart. But when Live Aid comes up, Queen may have a chance at getting back to the top.

The cast is great. Rami Malek is fantastic as Freddie Mercury, almost looking exactly like him & acting like him. Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, Joe Mazzello & Tom Hollander provide great supporting performances. But Mike Myers is way too distracting in his short screen time, chewing up way too much scenery.

Bryan Singer's direction is poor. There's nothing of substance or style that really makes the film stick out, ultimately making the film feel dull. The Live Aid sequence is well-made, but it isn't enough to make the direction good overall. Also, Singer is a pedophile, & he should not be working in film at all.

The screenplay by Anthony McCarten & Peter Morgan is mediocre. The plot is basic, the dialogue is cheesy, & the narrative takes far too many liberties with historical facts.

John Ottman's editing is horrendous. The editing is comprised of one thing used way too much in film today: quick editing. It is so incomprehensible & could give you a headache.

Julian Day's costume design is amazing. The costumes are period-accurate, colorful, & absolutely lovely to look at.

The sound design is excellent. All the songs are excellently edited & mixed into the film, especially during the concert scenes, mainly the Live Aid sequence.

And the soundtrack is fantastic. There are so many songs by Queen that are played throughout the film, & all of them are spectacular.

This is a mixed bag of a film. Although the performances, costume design, sound design & soundtrack are great, everything else is a huge mess.

Bohemian Rhapsody was seen by me at the MJR Marketplace Digital Cinema 20 in Sterling Heights, MI on Thursday, November 1, 2018. It is in theaters everywhere. Its runtime is 134 minutes, & it is rated PG-13 for thematic elements, suggestive material, drug content & language.

Beautiful Boy

★★★★★ - A Review by Cameron Kanachki

Addiction is everywhere. It no longer affects just poor communities or marginalized communities. It affects us all, in one way or another. And many of us are helpless in fighting this disease.

Beautiful Boy is one of the most heartbreaking depictions of addiction I've ever seen. Based on the 2008 book Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction by David Sheff & the 2008 book Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines by Nic Sheff, the film follows David Sheff (played by Steve Carell), a freelance journalist. He is happily married to his second wife, Karen Barbour (played by Maura Tierney), & has three children: Nic (played by Timothée Chalamet), who is from his first marriage to Vicki (played by Amy Ryan); Jasper (played by Christian Convery); & Daisy (played by Oakley Bell & Carlee Maciel). They seem just like any other upper-middle class family.

Except they aren't. Nic went missing one night & came back showing signs of drug use. David takes him to a rehab facility, & Nic is eventually transferred to a halfway house, where he is given more freedoms. However, Nic goes missing, & when David finds him, he is shocked to hear that Nic was not only experimenting with marijuana, but he has also experimented with cocaine, ecstasy & crystal meth.

Nic goes through sobriety again, & he eventually goes to college to become a writer. However, he falls back into the same old habits again. As Nic's addiction continues, David tries harder & harder to save him. But it will take more than he alone can give.

The cast is spectacular. Steve Carell & Timothée Chalamet each give some of their best performances yet. Maura Tierney gives a terrific performance. And Amy Ryan does a lot with her limited screen time.

Felix van Groeningen's direction is excellent. van Groeningen's direction is very subdued, but still gets the message across without sounding preachy.

And the screenplay by Felix van Groeningen & Luke Davies is amazing. van Groeningen & Davies do a faithful job at adapting the books to film, never losing any of their emotional strengths.

This is an amazing film. It has excellent direction & great writing, but above all, it boasts some absolutely fantastic performances.

Beautiful Boy was seen by me at the Landmark Main Art Theatre in Royal Oak, MI on Friday, October 26, 2018. It is currently in 11 theaters in the Detroit area, including the Landmark Main Art Theatre in Royal Oak, MI; the MJR Southgate Digital Cinema 20 in Southgate, MI; the MJR Brighton Towne Square Digital Cinema 20 in Brighton, MI; & the AMC Birchwood 10 in Fort Gratiot Township, MI. Its runtime is 120 minutes, & it is rated R for drug content throughout, language, & brief sexual material.


★★★ - A Review by Cameron Kanachki

Many actors & actresses have gone behind the camera recently, especially in the past 2 years. Last year, Greta Gerwig did Lady Bird, which, as you all know, is my favorite film of all time. This year has given us even more directorial debuts by actors & actresses. Bradley Cooper has become an Oscar frontrunner for Best Director for A Star Is Born, & Paul Dano has received critical acclaim for his work on Wildlife.

Mid90s is a flawed but overall solid directorial debut for Jonah Hill. Set in mid-1990s Los Angeles, the film follows Stevie (played by Sunny Suljic), a 13-year-old boy in a broken home. His older brother, Ian (played by Lucas Hedges), is abusive, & his mother, Dabney (played by Katherine Waterston), struggles to keep the family afloat.

One day, Stevie rides his bike past a skateshop, & notices the skaters outside the shop. He returns there the next day. He then meets the group of skaters: Ruben (played by Gio Galicia); Ray (played by Na-kel Smith); Fuckshit (played by Olan Prenatt); & Fourth Grade (played by Ryder McLaughlin). At first, they merely tolerate Stevie's presence, but they eventually include him, nicknaming him "Sunburn."

Eventually, Stevie becomes a good skater, but after suffering a head injury while skating, Dabney becomes concerned that Stevie is getting involved with the wrong crowd; however, Stevie is defiant that he will stay in the group. But as Stevie starts to become like the people in the group, the group may end up falling apart.

The cast is amazing. Sunny Suljic proves himself to be a talented young actor. Lucas Hedges further cements himself as one of our best young actors. And Katherine Waterston further shows that she is one of the most underrated actresses in film.

Jonah Hill's direction is very good. Hill does hit a few bumps as to pacing & stylistic choices, but these are normal bumps for a debut director, & he does handle tonal shifts very well. I think he can only get better from here.

Jonah Hill's screenplay is good. Although the plot is a bit too aimless & the characterization is a bit thin with some characters, Hill is able to overcome those flaws with incredibly realistic (& hilarious) dialogue.

And the score by Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross is excellent. The score is very ambient in nature, & since I really enjoy those types of scores, it's no wonder that I enjoyed the score here.

This is a solid coming-of-age film. It is definitely flawed, but it's the cast & the score that truly save the film, & I know that Jonah Hill will definitely improve after this.

Mid90s was seen by me at the MJR Marketplace Digital Cinema 20 in Sterling Heights, MI on Friday, October 26, 2018. It is in theaters everywhere. Its runtime is 85 minutes, & it is rated R for pervasive language, sexual content, drug & alcohol use, some violent behavior/disturbing images - all involving minors.