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 Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

“War, what is it good for?” asked the protest song first performed by the Temptations (later definitely re-recorded by Edwin Starr in 1969). That song answered the question with an unqualified, resounding, “Absolutely nothing!”, but Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (WTF), the second Tina Fey vehicle in just three months…

Reviews Screen Shot 2016-03-04 at 9.22.31 AM

Anyone looking for irrefutable proof that we are, in fact, living in the “darkest timeline” imaginable need look no further than London Has Fallen, the oddly unanticipated sequel to Olympus Has Fallen, the first of two 2013 terrorism-flavored, White House-related action films (the other being Roland Emmerich’s far superior, but alas, also …

Reviews Triple 9

A “gritty,” borderline nihilistic urban actioner featuring an all-star cast in showcase roles, including multiple Academy Award nominees (Woody Harrelson, Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiofor) and one actual winner (Kate Winslet), Triple 9 never rises above its unoriginal, derivative origin as a mash-up of better, well known genre…

Reviews Screen Shot 2016-02-26 at 8.24.57 AM

For at least some social critics, “whitewashing” – casting melanin-deprived actors in non-Caucasian roles (and the cycle of non-diversity that inevitably results – is the end all be all when it comes to evaluating the latest big-budget spectacle that regularly unspool across multiplex screens. To be honest, it’s an important, even vital, question to ask about any …

Reviews Risen

The “greatest story ever told” – or depending on your perspective, cynical and otherwise, the greatest story ever sold – gets another somber, serious, big-screen treatment in Kevin Reynolds (Rapa Nui, Waterworld, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves) latest attempt to move back into Hollywood’s good graces…

NP Approved Hail Caesar

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend us your ears (or really, your eyes and only for a few moments). We come here not to praise William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar (it’s received no shortage of acclaim over the last five or six centuries), but to praise the Coen Brothers’ latest film, Hail, Caesar!, an utterly delightful, unapologetically…

Film Festival Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 7.46.50 AM

Frank & Lola: The words “poor player,” “frets and struts,” “stage,” “sound and fury,” and “ultimately signifying nothing” (Macbeth, Act V, Scene 5) immediately come to mind in connection with Matthew Ross’ feature-length debut, Frank & Lola, a highly polished, slickly executed romantic drama that wastes standout performances from Michael …

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