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.

Film Festival The Berlin Syndrome
(dir. Cate Shortland)
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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)
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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
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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
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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)
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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…

Reviews xxx
4.0
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Let’s try this one more, hopefully last, time. Raise your hand if you wanted to see Fast & Furious star Vin Diesel reprise his role as the most extreme of extreme James Bond clones, Xander Cage, a.k.a., xXx? Now put your hand down if you happen to be Vin Diesel, his agent, manager, or anyone associated with his production company. Also…

Reviews Screen Shot 2017-01-20 at 12.30.44 PM
6.5
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Anyone who thought M. Night Shyamalan’s last film, The Visit, was something of a return to form for a filmmaker who, mostly by his own hand, had fallen on hard times, was, of course, grading on a generous curve. After the disastrous trio of The Happening, The Last Airbender, and After Earth (box-office and critical disappointments one …

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