Courtney Howard

Raised in Northern California, and now residing in Southern California, Courtney has had a love of films ever since seeing her first in theaters at age 6 (‘E.T.’). She is a Rotten Tomatometer-approved critic, OFCS member, and contributing reporter/ film critic at both and Follow on Twitter: @lulamaybelle


Articles by Courtney Howard


SPOTLIGHT March 2018: Rachel Morrison, Cinematographer, Oscar Nominee for MUDBOUND

rachel morrison head 2Bringing a moving image to life takes much more than having the technical skills down pat. Capturing that collection of indelible images requires another special skillset – one that isn’t necessarily taught in school. It requires an understated ability to tap into the director’s vision and the actors’ emotions to produce breathtaking visual poetry. Cinematographer Rachel Morrison’s impressive body of work has long exhibited these traits. Rachel Morrison is a monumental cinematographer whose work is illuminated with nuance. Continue reading…

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BREATHE (RESPIRE) — Review by Courtney Howard

breathe posterMélanie Laurent has proven herself to be a multi-faceted personality. Not only is she a superb actress, appearing in such films as Inglorious Basterds and Beginners, she’s also a skillful storyteller with her work behind the camera. Her feature length directorial debut, The Adopted (Les Adoptés), is tender and touching, bursting with earned emotion. It reminds us of the preciousness and fragility of life. I found myself haunted and moved to tears by its beauty and strength. Her sophomore feature, Breathe (Respire), is equally as feminine and authentic, but demonstrates far more assured filmmaking. Continue reading…

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WILDCATS — Review by Courtney Howard

wildcats posterDirector Michael Ritchie’s film WILDCATS should’ve hit at the right time, with more women entering the workforce in the 80’s, but didn’t thanks to a tepid reception from critics and audiences alike. The general response was that it wasn’t as solid as Private Benjamin, Hawn’s career-defining comedy about a privileged trophy wife forced to find her identity in the Army after her husband dies. However, it’s my personal belief that Ritchie’s comedy about a girls-track-coach-turned-inner-city-football-coach – one whose abilities are underestimated by practically everyone – is a far greater, underappreciated, often misunderstood, and wildly feminist gem. Continue reading…

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BLADE RUNNER 2049 — Review by Courtney Howard

It’s taken 35 years to get a BLADE RUNNER sequel – and thank God the resulting product doesn’t disappoint. From what we’ve seen from other franchises that have experienced similar decades-long gestation periods (films like BLUES BROTHERS 2000, DUMB AND DUMBER TO, and TRON LEGACY), things could’ve gone enormously wrong when it came to BLADE RUNNER 2049. Yet much like MAD MAX: FURY ROAD, it never fails us. Director Denis Villeneuve’s entrancing, awe-inducing spectacle not only follows up on some major lingering questions that have haunted cinephiles, launching them into heated debates, but also marinates longer on Ridley Scott’s original heady concepts and gift for striking world-building. Continue reading…

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COCO — Review by Courtney Howard

There have been highly anticipated films before in Pixar’s history, but there probably hasn’t been a more high-profile animated feature than COCO. Throughout its years-long gestation, it’s found itself in both a just and unjust lightning storm of controversy. However, once all that fervor died down, what remained is the final product – and boy howdy is it an enrapturing experience. Brimming with life, rich cultural heritage, dazzling color, beautiful music, and incomparable animation, the team led by director Lee Unkrich and co-director Adrian Molina gift us with a celebratory affair that’s bound to strike the right chord. Continue reading…

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BABY DRIVER — Review by Courtney Howard

Driving a high-octane vehicle can be exhilarating. The simple participatory act of watching a visionary director’s feature can be equally electrifying. Leave it to auteur Edgar Wright to connect the two in a thrill ride for the eyes and ears, BABY DRIVER. This isn’t your daddy’s THE DRIVER, and it’s certainly not your DRIVE either. Wright has tapped a fuel-injected line into cinematic innovation. Homages and references abound, but this is no assembly-line movie – he’s taken the pieces and handcrafted something wholly original. Continue reading…

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