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 It-Follows_review

With its primal preoccupations and more importantly, modest, often low, budgets, the horror genre can be the entry point for first-time or even second-time directors. For indie filmmaker David Robert Mitchell, the writer-director behind 2011’s underappreciated, under-seen coming-of-teenage-drama, The Myth of the American Sleepover, the horror genre offered him the perfect opportunity to venture into …

NP Approved The-Hunting-Ground

About two-thirds into director Kirby Dick’s (This Film is Not Yet Rated) latest documentary, The Hunting Ground, an alarming, but no less timely or essential, examination of the rape crisis on university campuses in the United States, one of the interviewees describes the personal arc undergone by several women Kirby features …

Reviews Kindsman-the-secret-service

Matthew Vaughn (X-Men: First Class, Kick-Ass, Stardust, Cake) may never direct an entry in the official Bond canon (No. 23, Spectre, is currently in production under Sam Mendes’ guidance), but Kingsman: The Secret Service, an adaptation of Mark Millar (Nemesis, Civil War, Wanted) and Dave Gibbons’ (Watchmen) comic-book ….

Reviews Seventh-Son-Review

An uninspired, derivative, bargain-basement action-fantasy directed by Sergey Bodrov (Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Khan, Prisoner of the Mountains) from a screenplay credited to Charles Leavitt and Steven Knight, Seventh Son finally arrives in multiplexes after seemingly endless delays, seemingly endless, that is …

Film Festival True Story (dir. Rupert Goold, 2015)

True-crime stories have long fascinated the general public, reaching back decades on film and television and probably centuries in print. Sometimes the how, but more often, the why becomes an obsessive subject of inquiry. The roots of crime, specifically murder where true-crime stories in print and on film are concerned, can be traced back to sociological, cultural, and psychological causes. Biology might play…

Film Festival The Nightmare
(dir. Rodney Ascher, 2015)

A fascinating, if frustratingly incomplete, exploration of “sleep paralysis” and night terrors through the eyes of several people uncovered by director Rodney Ascher (Room 237), The Nightmare offers more chills and scares than most mainstream and non-mainstream horror films. Where Room 237 focused on…

Film Festival The Stanford Prison Experiment (dir. Kyle Patrick Alvarez, 2015)

To call director Kyle Patrick Alvarez (C.O.G.) and one-time South Park screenwriter Tim Talbot’s The Stanford Prison Experiment, a chilling, disturbing, discomfiting dramatic recreation of the title experiment, a horror film might sound, at least initially, facile or simply wrong, but the increasingly humiliating, punitive encounters between “guards” and “prisoners” (student volunteers in…

Film Festival Last Days in the Desert (dir. Rodrigo García, 2015)

Reverential, respectful, minus the overt sermonizing and pontificating all too typical of New Testament-based or Biblical dramas, Rodrigo Garcia’s (Albert Dobbs, Mother and Child, Nine Lives) latest film, Last Days in the Desert, gives us a human Jesus (Ewan McGregor) – or as he’s called here, Yeshua – doubtful of himself, of his relationship with God, even of his voice. Not yet fully formed as the…

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