Author Mel Valentin

Mel Valentin hails from the great state of New Jersey. After attending New York University as an undergrad (politics and economics double major, religious studies minor) and grad school (law), he relocated from the East Coast to San Francisco, California, where he's been ever since. Since Mel began writing about film nine years ago, he's written more than 1,600 reviews and articles. He's a member of the San Francisco Film Critics Circle and the Online Film Critics Society.

Reviews John Wick

As the hope and optimism of the Obama Era gives ways to the hopelessness and pessimism of the Age of Trump, demoralizing some, but also spurring many into newfound political and social activism, escapism, regardless of shape or form, becomes all the more important, offering a bit of catharsis or emotional release when we need it…

Reviews Fifty Shades Darker

In or out of Hollywood, commerce, not art usually wins out. And with $160 million domestically and another $400 million internationally, Fifty Shades of Grey, a yawn-inducing “erotic”/BDSM drama, hit a virtual sweet spot, both for its producers looking for a return on their investment and the small army of readers who inexplicably made…

Film Festival The Berlin Syndrome
(dir. Cate Shortland)

Jean-Paul Sartre once said “Hell is other people;” he was right. Hell, however, is also a seemingly random stranger, Andi (Max Riemelt), an English teacher at a German sports academy in Berlin, who kidnaps Clare (Teresa Palmer), an Australian photographer with an avowed interested in East German architecture after a one-night stand. Clare …

Film Festival Golden Exits (dir. Alex Ross Perry, 2017)

Golden Exits: In less than a decade and four films, writer-director Alex Ross Perry (Queen of Earth, Listen Up, Philip, The Color Wheel) has shown incredible growth as a filmmaker. Each new film, a miniaturist character study in its own right, digs deeper into character and personality. Perry’s seemingly intuitive understanding of human nature…

Film Festival bad day for the cut

Bad Day for the Cut: A revenge-thriller by any other name is still a revenge-thriller and in the case of Irish import Bad Day for the Cut, it’s a rote, routine revenge-thriller, elevated – if it’s elevated at all – by the location (Northern Ireland), history and context (the “Troubles” make a long unwanted reappearance), and the central character, a pot-bellied…

Film Festival Screen Shot 2017-01-25 at 12.27.57 PM

Bushwick: The Second Civil War comes to the working-class neighborhood of Bushwick, Brooklyn in Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion’s low-budget, pre-apocalyptic actioner, Bushwick. Wasting little time, Bushwick opens in mid-invasion, with Bushwick’s central character, Lucy (Brittany Snow), a grad-school student making the visit home …

Film Festival The Big Sick (dir. Michael Showalter, 2017)

Anytime the phrase “crowd-pleaser” gets thrown into the descriptive mix for a film, mainstream or otherwise, emotional manipulation, often cheap, often predictable, isn’t far behind. Crowd-pleasers are like attention-starved 9-year-olds, ever eager for approval and appreciation, but sometimes – and this is one of those times – a crowd-pleaser…

1 2 3 4 27