Kristofer Jenson

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

Matthew McConaughey leads a small group of Civil War rebels to challenge the Confederacy in Free State of Jones. Photo: STX Productions

Film review: Free State of Jones suffers from ambition

Free State of Jones has heart, it certainly has brains, yet any semblance of a body for either to do its job properly is nowhere to be found. Supposedly the story of Newton Knight, the controversial leader of a rebellion against the Confederacy in Jones County, Mississippi, Jones is little more than a sequence of […]

Colin Farrell stars in The Lobster, an odd, societal critique that operates way outside the box. Photo: A24

Film review: The Lobster is a unique, bizarre surprise

It’s little surprise that The Lobster, the English-language directorial debut of award-winning Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos (Dogtooth), has left quite the impression on audiences and critics alike. In its limited release it has garnered rave reviews and generated word-of-mouth notoriety that reaches far beyond its modest marketing campaign. What is surprising is just how comfortable […]

X-Men: Apocalypse, starring Jennifer Lawrence, finds Fox studios losing territory in the superhero franchise market. Photo: 20th Century Fox

Film review: X-Men: Apocalypse has too many heroes, loses cred

When Marvel first sold the film rights to its biggest properties —Spider-Man, X-Men, Fantastic Four—it was not yet aware of the gold mine that awaited it with The Avengers series. And at first, Sony and Fox were doing interesting things with their acquisitions; the first two Spider-Man movies by Sam Raimi are industry-defining milestones for […]

Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe are The Nice Guys in Shane Black’s latest detective duo film. Photo: Warner Bros.

Film review: The Nice Guys

For the first time in his impressive career, the Shane Black formula never clicks. The Nice Guys, a somewhat enjoyable mystery-comedy, feels more like a filmmaker doing an impression of the writer-director than the work of the man himself. First, an assessment of what makes Black’s work stand out. More than any other modern filmmaker, […]

Captain America (Chris Evans) and Ironman (Robert Downey Jr.) tussle over superhero rights in Civil War, the latest franchise installment. Photo: Walt Disney Company

Captain America: Civil War plays off Marvel subplot

The world is a different place than it was eight years ago, when Iron Man launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s unprecedented ascendance to critical and commercial acclaim. Superhero movies, once seen as a pariah on the medium, have become the main cash cow for major studios. And we’re way past the point of making movies […]

Emerging filmmaker Jeremy Saulnier shoots Green Room, starring Alia Shawkat and Anton Yelchin, full of cleverly constructed, violent thrills. Photo: West End Films

Film review: Green Room scores with a convergence of values

It’s not just cultures that clash in Jeremy Saulnier’s Green Room, when a series of unfortunate events finds left-wing punk band The Ain’t Rights playing at a remote club for neo-Nazi skinheads. After bassist Amber (Alia Shawkat) accidentally witnesses the scene of a murder in the club’s green room—the place acts go before and after […]

The ’80s youth culture feature Everybody Wants Some!! is earning comparisons to director Richard Linklater’s cult classic, Dazed and Confused. Photo: Paramount Pictures

Film review: Everybody Wants Some!! appeals to base instincts

If there’s one thing Richard Linklater knows, it’s spiritual sequels. His last film, the award-winning Boyhood, evoked much of the same feelings as his before series (Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Before Midnight) in its exploration of the inherent drama of something as simple as the passage of time. His rotoscoped mind trip Waking Life was […]

Disney’s update of The Jungle Book, starring Neel Sethi as Mowgli, retains all the wild fun of the 1967 animated original. Photo: Disney Enterprises

Film review: The Jungle Book gets a magical restyling

No matter how cynical you may be about the Disney brand, no matter how aware you are of the manipulation of your sentimentality, five minutes in, The Jungle Book will make you forget or not care as you find yourself becoming a believer. The recent spate—and forthcoming slate—of Disney live-action remakes of its own catalogue […]

Ben Affleck dons the Batman mask to challenge Henry Cavill’s Superman in a battle to set up the sequel. Photo: Warner Bros.

Film review: Batman v Superman is all about the future

We’ve reached, it seems, a place in our relationship with comic book movies that the particulars of an individual plot matter less than the promise of future installments. The parts of Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice that work are those that are almost completely devoid of meaning to the movie around them, […]

Allegiant stars Shailene Woodley (second from left) and Theo James (middle) as multi-faction heroes charged with leading an escape from dystopian Chicago. Photo: Summit Entertainment

Film review: Allegiant is overwhelmed by predictability

As maligned and oversaturated in the market as they are, there’s a real value to the dystopian young adult sci-fi/fantasy tropes that target the tween demographic and are, ideally, familiar to adults who have not forgotten their own journey to emotional maturity. When the genre works, these novels and films can be useful primers on […]

Zootopia stars Jason Bateman (Nick Wilde) and Ginnifer Goodwin (Judy Hops), who give new life to the well-worn genre of animated animals. Photo: Disney

Film review: Zootopia proves Disney’s growth is creative gold

Disney can be accused of many things—cultural appropriation, setting unreal expectations for children, censoring the brutality of old folk tales for mass audiences and thereby dulling their messages—but one thing Disney has mastered in recent years is maximizing the potential of its acquisitions. If you’re a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you have Disney’s […]

The controversial Gods of Egypt, starring Gerard Butler as the villain, fails through a preposterous, tangled plot and a disengaged cast. Photo: Lionsgate

Film Review: Gods of Egypt goes off the rails

At the advance screening for Alex Proyas’ megabudgeted misfire Gods of Egypt, someone in the row in front of me turned on his phone in plain sight of those behind him and started texting. Under normal circumstances, I’d be more than happy to yell at a complete stranger over this sort of thing, but when […]

Robert Eggers’ directorial debut, The Witch, stars Anya Taylor-Joy who is suspected of causing supernatural events in 17th-century New England. Photo: RAFY/A24

Film review: The Witch is an unsettling, skillful revelation

“A New-England Folktale” reads the subtitle for the much-hyped (all of it earned) The Witch, the feature film debut from writer-director Robert Eggers. One would be forgiven for interpreting this as a mark of revisionist horror, but there is nothing revisionist about Eggers’ film. In fact, there’s much that is revolutionary. The Witch follows a tight-knit […]

Deadpool stars Ryan Reynolds as a physically and mentally scarred (anti) superhero with a personal agenda. Photo: 20th Century Fox

Film review: Deadpool plays it up to a niche genre

In the culmination of a tease that began with Ryan Reynolds’ pointless and tonally inconsistent cameo in 2009’s disastrous X-Men Origins: Wolverine comes the psychotic, violent, traumatized, fourth-wall-breaking and utterly hilarious Deadpool. Hilarious, that is, if you have more than a passing familiarity with the tropes of comic book films. The jokes in Deadpool tend […]

George Clooney stars as Baird Whitlock, a movie star kidnapped by a secret “study group” of communist screenwriters, in the Coen brothers’ latest farcical flick. Photo: Universal Pictures

Film review: Hail, Caesar! finds humor in the absurd

Hollywood farce Hail, Caesar! is a masterstroke of screwball absurdism from the Coen brothers, as they return with the subgenre of technically impeccable yet thematically anarchic comedy they practically invented. Harkening back to their output in the 1990s, Hail, Caesar! is a satirical genre parody and period piece in the vein of The Hudsucker Proxy […]

Charlie Kaufman’s animation feature Anomalisa is a fascinating, experimental film about breaking through the Fregoli delusion. Photo: Paramount Pictures

Film review: Anomalisa is confident and full of contradictions

True to classic Charlie Kaufman form, everything about the writer/co-director’s latest film, Anomalisa, is wholly unconventional from conception to execution, yet is entirely accessible to anyone who’s felt hopelessly disconnected from other people. It’s a film full of contradictions; it’s a stop-motion animated film with a hard-R rating about isolation and identity, but it’s funny. […]

Combat drama, 13 Hours, champions the American soldier while avoiding political overtures about the 2012 attack on American bases. Photo: Paramount Pictures

Film review: Michael Bay’s 13 Hours stays out of the political fray

When news first broke that Michael Bay would be making the inevitable Benghazi movie, the (non-tinfoil-hat-wearing) world was of two minds. The most prominent reaction was groaning at two of today’s most tiresome utterances: Michael Bay and Benghazi. Those two references in the same sentence was reason enough to dismiss 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers […]

Starring as a man left for dead in The Revenant, Leonardo DiCaprio braves the elements, hoping to emerge with an Oscar. Photo: 20th Century Fox

Film review: DiCaprio suffers beautifully in The Revenant

It may seem sarcastic or strange to praise a movie for having an unengaging story to tell, but in the case of Alejandro González Iñárritu’s The Revenant, its lack of reliance on narrative is precisely its saving grace. Thanks to unnecessary yet spectacular attention to detail, unrelenting technical perfectionism and a pathological commitment to discarding […]