Kristofer Jenson

Contributing writer to C-Ville Weekly. Associate Film Editor of DigBoston. Host of Spoilerpiece Theatre.

Annabelle: Creation is a prequel to a spin-off series, and it might be the most fun you have at the movies this summer. Courtesy Warner Brothers

Annabelle: Creation is a great escape

Who would have known a prequel series to a reboot of a movie based on a book based on a hoax would boast some of the most delightful big-budget horror filmmaking in recent memory? The Annabelle series is one that should not work; kids, spooky dolls and overexplained mythologies are typically the undoing of any […]

Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, Detroit depicts the 1967 Algiers Motel incident that led to a three-day racially charged riot in the Motor City. Photo courtesy of Annapurna Pictures.

Unflinching eye: “Detroit” smolders with tension and brutality

The push for greater representation in cinema, both in front of and behind the camera, is sometimes derided as an academic one that places statistics ahead of quality, of checked boxes over realism. What these critics miss is that representation means greater diversity of perspectives. People of different races, nationalities, genders, religions and sexual orientations […]

I spy: “Atomic Blonde” has obvious twists

Whether it gets the acknowledgment it deserves, we are currently in what might be called a golden age of action filmmaking. Aside from the superhero flicks that seem to be holding the industry afloat, the last few years have seen sea changes in the genre’s presence in the culture. There are the high-profile blockbusters like […]

Bong Joon-ho explores the confluence of corporate farming, moral conflict and true friendship in Okja. Photo courtesy of Netflix

Movie review: Okja

Bong Joon-ho is back once again with Okja, a parable that goes to stylistic extremes to make an existential argument, broadcasting the film’s central metaphor from the very first scene while being far more emotionally and politically trenchant than anticipated. Snowpiercer could have been a straightforward action/sci-fi yarn, but in his hands, it becomes a […]

Discarded from society, The Bad Batch claw their way through a dystopian love story set in Texas. Photo courtesy of Neon.

“The Bad Batch” creates a kind of magic

The release of films in select theaters and on demand simultaneously may be good news for cinephiles in overlooked parts of the country, but the experience of watching a movie as intensely visual and stylistically unrelenting as The Bad Batch can’t help but be diminished as a result. Nothing is different about the composition—every shot […]

Spider-Man: Homecoming delights faithful fans and brings new ones along in Marvel Cinematic Universe’s instant classic update. Photo courtesy Columbia Pictures

Spider-Man: Homecoming weaves a brand new thrill

At first, the biggest surprise move made by Marvel was placing fan favorite (yet far-fetched) Thor on equal footing with the iconic Iron Man and Captain America in its Cinematic Universe. Now we accept the character’s presence as a given. Then the studio defied expectations by establishing phase two of its master plan with new-to-film […]

Baby Driver stars Ansel Elgort as a getaway driver whose heart is not in the robbery game. Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Baby Driver is a sweet, action-packed ride

Edgar Wright is best known as the master of comedic tributes to genre films that never stoop to parody due to his genuine affection for the source material. He is not the only director to self-consciously employ techniques and tropes from older films, but he is the best at balancing his modernist sensibilities with a […]

Transformers: The Last Night is so disjointed and confusing that it causes inauthentic responses based on audience conditioning, more like Furby reactions than real engagement.
PARAMOUNT PICTURES

New ‘Transformers’ flies apart on reckless plot

Homo sapiens as a species have survived this long partially due to mechanisms in our brain that evoke an instinctive response to stimuli when there is not enough time for a full intellectual analysis. For example, we notice and react to sounds or rustling bushes with curiosity and heightened senses before figuring out whether we […]

Zoë Kravitz, Jillian Bell, Scarlett Johansson, Ilana Glazer and Kate McKinnon star in Rough Night, which is neither a re-hashing of Bridesmaids nor the bawdy crowd pleaser it aspires to be. Courtesy Sony Pictures

Rough Night loses direction on gender gags

The story of Rough Night centers around a disastrous bachelorette weekend organized by an old friend who doesn’t know the difference between entertaining someone and monopolizing her time—which is a distinction the movie itself also has difficulty making. Featuring a terrific cast with great chemistry, a mix of A-listers and promising up-and-comers, and written and […]

The movie, such as their is one, intends to be an exaggerated version of the original TV series’ more preposterous plots, involving lifeguards taking down a massive crime ring because it happens to be located near their beach. Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures.

Movie review: Baywatch can’t save itself from a lack of focus

The big-screen Baywatch isn’t the worst movie ever made—just the most pointless. There are occasional laughs but it can’t be called funny. The performers are charming and committed, but it’s not exactly well acted. Everyone was hired for a job: They did it, took lunch, got paid and went home satisfied with a solid day’s […]

Lacking in atmosphere and intrigue, Alien: Covenant is an unwelcome departure in Ridley Scott’s popular action series. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Alien: Covenant fails to perpetuate the franchise

When a movie crash lands due to its own misguidedness, the common question is, “What were the filmmakers thinking?” In the case of Alien: Covenant, we know exactly what Ridley Scott was thinking because he won’t stop broadcasting the film’s metaphors or applauding the foreshadowing long enough to let it tell a worthwhile story. If […]

Chris Pratt stars in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 with an all-star cast of characters culled from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Courtesy of Marvel Studios

Movie review: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 keeps fans happy

The A-hole Avengers are back in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, with just as much swagger and ragtag chemistry as ever. It’s easy to forget that the first film was a risk for the unstoppable Marvel Cinematic Universe, a massive introduction to myriad characters, planets, teams and sci-fi concepts for a franchise wedded to […]

Anne Hathaway (above) and Jason Sudekis give compelling performances in Colossal, one of the strangest storylines to hit screens this year. Courtesy of Neon

Colossal turns odd comedic plot into dramatic gold

Everything about Colossal is a pleasant surprise. From its cute premise carrying actual dramatic weight, to every moment it made the choice to be better instead of safer, to the revelation of Spanish filmmaker Nacho Vigalondo demonstrating that his brand of humor and metaphor needs no further translation, it is difficult to recall a film […]

Ben Wheatley’s stylish Free Fire stars Armie Hammer, Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, Sam Riley and Michael Smiley in an overlong gun battle. Photo courtesy of A24

Movie Review: Free Fire can’t get out of its own way

Ben Wheatley’s obvious joy of filmmaking is contagious. It’s clear from everything he’s ever made that movement, color (or lack of it, as in A Field in England) and the extremes of human behavior compel him to create unique, kinetic films with an energy that bridges the gap between raw inspiration and technical perfectionism. Even […]

The Fate of the Furious starring Vin Diesel outshines the hard-driving, logic-defying stunts of the series’ seven previous films. Courtesy Universal Pictures

Movie review: Fast and Furious series gets better and better

After 16 years—old enough, as it turns out, to finally get its driver’s license—the Fast and Furious series finally has nothing left to prove. There’s no need to explain why good guys turn bad, how a particular bit of technology works or where an improvised ramp came from that Vin Diesel somehow knew would be […]

Keanu Reeves recurring role in the John Wick franchise gets more critic cred than his blockbuster Matrix franchise because of the quality sequel. Courtesy Lionsgate

The case for movie sequels (and how to stop making bad ones)

Conventional wisdom says, “The problem with Hollywood is they’re out of ideas. It’s all sequels and remakes. Maybe more people would see their movies if they stopped making sequels, reboots and whatever soft reboots are.” On its face, this is a perfectly reasonable demand. As ticket prices get more expensive, moviegoers want their money’s worth, […]

Sci-fi thriller Life stars Ryan Reynolds and Jake Gyllenhaal in a lackluster alien-turns-angry trope. Courtesy Sony Pictures

Movie review: Life lacks in human connection and atmosphere

Space. A previously unknown life form that is both beautiful and completely unknowable. Man’s double-edged quest to understand and dominate over all existence. Life really, really should have worked, and the extent to which it fails makes it the biggest waste of potential so far of 2017, if not the single worst film overall. Life […]

In Table 19, Anna Kendrick (right) tries to make the most of her place card, but can’t quite save the wedding story. Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

The communal Table 19 offers a disservice

Table 19 tells the story of an unlikely group of wedding attendants stuck together at the worst table, who were invited either perfunctorily or spitefully. Unfortunately it’s an accurate metaphor for the movie itself, which crams an impossibly talented cast into the lamest film of the year that appears to exist for no other reason […]

Jordan Peele’s Get Out, starring Allison Williams and Daniel Kaluuya (pictured), is an exposé on racial pandering that takes an unexpected turn.  Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Movie review: Get Out digs deep with powerful message

Jordan Peele’s Get Out is a perfect movie in its own right, a masterful effort in raising then subverting audience expectations while delivering a powerful message on a subject that has gone tragically unaddressed in film. It is also a revelation for Peele himself, half of the beloved comedy team Key & Peele, whose feature […]

The Great Wall (starring Matt Damon) may not be great, but it is at least a fascinating milestone in the shift of economic power in the movie world. Courtesy Universal Pictures

Chinese filmmakers eye the long game with The Great Wall

Zhang Yimou’s The Great Wall doesn’t really need to be “reviewed” in the traditional sense. It’s a dumb movie about monsters invading medieval China and the brazenly anachronistic army tasked with staving it off, like someone fell asleep during The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and attempted to recreate the Battle of Helm’s […]