• Cobra

    Cobra

    ★★★

    A perfect microcosm of Reaganism at its most reactionary.

  • White Fire

    White Fire

    ★★

    What can you say about a movie in which a chainsaw fight segues seamlessly to a topless woman sunbathing on a powerboat and then a quick pan to the Blue Mosque, all before you hit the 20 minute mark?

  • Cats

    Cats

    ½

    Ironically, the same thing that keeps Cats from being a good bad movie is the same thing that keeps it from being good movie: a total lack of creativity. Something this wrongheaded really called out for an auteur who could put their personal stamp on it. Instead, we got the most deadly combination - a film that wasn't just bad, but also unrelentingly dull.

    UPDATE (Fall 2020):


    Sometimes I think of CATS and start to feel like some kind of…

  • Southern Comfort

    Southern Comfort

    ★★★★

    The antebellum Aguirre the Wrath of God.

  • Atomic Blonde

    Atomic Blonde

    ★★★

    Almost certainly how Andrei Tarkovsky intended for audiences to view ‘Stalker’ (1979).

  • Prisoners

    Prisoners

    ★★

    So much for Villeneuve the great stylist, this is workmanlike (though competent) direction married to an entirely preposterous premise. I can see where it wants to borrow from something like Sluzier’s ‘The Vanishing’ but too much plot (helped along by non-stop incompetent police work) buries any interesting psychological elements and we are left with little other than listless though brutal torture scenes. Is it about Abu Ghraib or the CIA torture program? If so, what exactly is it trying to say?

  • Midsommar

    Midsommar

    ★★★

    Aster undoubtedly has a masterpiece in him somewhere, but this isn't it. Much like with Hereditary, a lot of good qualities, but the film never seems to quite congeal into a satisfying whole. From a technical perspective, this film is mesmerizing, but the script probably needs something of a rethink. Aster is definitely a director to watch and it will be interesting to see what he does as he matures and begins to imbue his films with a little more life experience.

  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

    The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

    ★★★

    Very confusing as an Elvis comeback special.

  • Marriage Story

    Marriage Story

    ★★½

    Compelling acting all around, with Adam Driver and Laura Dern in particular shining, but who actually enjoys watching this stuff?

  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

    Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

    ½

    I’m not looking forward to a repeat viewing of this documentary on how Joe Biden’s empire will come to a fiery end 3 months from now either.

  • The Lighthouse

    The Lighthouse

    ★★★★

    Compelling as a vision of hell, with hell depicted as being trapped in a 19th century New England lighthouse and being gaslit by Wilhelm Defoe’s sea shanty pretensions and farts, but I don’t know if it has a lot to say beyond that. Still, what a vision! Visually arresting and impeccably acted, the film takes particular glee in repeatedly reminding us just how much more literary prior generations were to our own.

  • El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie

    El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie

    ★★

    A totally superfluous exercise in getting the band back together well past its ‘sell by’ date. The oh-so-convenient plot twists really felt contrived to inject some drama into something that was overall pretty lifeless. While I enjoyed seeing poor Robert Forster one last time, it troubles me that we are already into the 'nostalgia for prestige TV from 6 years ago' phase of human affairs.