• Nightmare Alley

    Nightmare Alley

    ★★½

    The most handsome average film of the year. If the marketing rollout didn’t inspire confidence, maybe it’s because the film is turgid and unmoving. It looks nice, feel free to queue up any Production Design bracket slots. And the ensemble cast, in their individual parts, are occasionally actually lovely to watch. As a full bodied film, running 2.5 hours, however, it never finds the hooks or emotional acuity to justify what it asks of the viewer, never rewards their time…

  • A Hero

    A Hero

    ★★★

    Asghar Farhadi said on Twitter, “How can you associate me with a government whose extremist media has spared no effort to destroy, marginalize, and stigmatize me in past years?”

    He did not wish to be associated with the Iranian government, especially as a sympathizer, when his true belief is that the country has badly handled matters of crisis and doing nothing to protect its people from COVID-19. The premier Iranian director of the moment asked to be withdrawn from Oscars…

  • Bruised

    Bruised

    Halle Barry needs people in her in real life corner to tell her things like not to direct movies.

  • The Paperboy

    The Paperboy

    ★★★

    I’ve given a lot of thought to having a properly usable scale that rewards peculiarity over technical triumph. A college film, of course, needn’t be held to the standard of a maestro filmmaker. The way of making movies is different. But we can prize the small way of making movies, that celebrates the joy of simply doing the thing, over fussy academic works, too. I’d like to be able to do both. The way most college films go, you probably…

  • Euphoria: Trouble Don't Last Always

    Euphoria: Trouble Don't Last Always

    ★★★★

    Poignant and true, the follow up episode of Euphoria is recovery done quickly. This is what we talk about when we talk about recovery. This is what I work so hard to help others with and why it’s worth the fight when nothing else is. I started working my way through Euphoria, again, on my fifth year of recovery. And now, the show finally shows what I’ve been looking for in it. I was either very interested or completely disengaged…

  • Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town

    Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town

    ★★★★

    We can distill the pure success of Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town down to the unique specificity of its choices. The film consistently repackages Christmas legends into cutely entertaining song breaks. It introduces great new characters to the season — Topper the Penguin; Burgermeister Meisterburger; the Winter Warlock — and freshly envisions their place in Claus’ origin story. The animation runs on splendid childlike nostalgia, while Fred Astaire is master of ceremonies, like it’s the perfectly mannered old school…

  • Frosty the Snowman

    Frosty the Snowman

    ★★★½

    “Dad, it’s going to make me cry,” Ezra said, already welling up, matching Frosty on-screen as he was becoming liquid. She made me cry, too, a little, it was such a beautiful, good little moment. Frosty is a beautiful, good little moment, too, a Christmas post card that translates a fun song into an animated story. In a pool of melted snow, it shows the body outline of what Rankin and Bass specials would become, formative, sweet in its concision, expert at knowing just what image and sweet song would stick in a little kid’s mind like the first sheet of snow. Happy birthday, Frosty.

  • Fade to Black

    Fade to Black

    “Hola Hovito!” Join my dear friend Kevin & I as we explore Jay-Z’s album The Blueprint. Three Letters and Five Mics is a Spotify Music + Talk show, where we look at all the defining albums awarded Three Letters and Five Mics by XXL Magazine and The Source, and place a few key tracks into their historical and social context. It’s a blast! More to come from thetwingeeks.com

  • 8-Bit Christmas

    8-Bit Christmas

    Meandering retro A Christmas Story that is about wanting a Nintendo but not really about videogames. The only notable game featured is… Rampage? Weird choice, but it does tell us how bad the Power Glove was. Between The Wizard and A Christmas Story, maybe watch one of those. But, I’ll watch 16-Bit Christmas. Let’s go HBO. And make it about the videogames.

  • 14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible

    14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible

    ★★★

    In bed with a cold watching people climb a bunch of mountains in six months. I think I’ve walked up a few decent hills in the last six months. Inspiring and the footage makes real how death defying these goals are. I always wonder what it would take to do any mountain. I’d like to do a small one. It looks like, for a big one, that ends can’t possibly justify the means. That’s what movies are good for, I can see someone else do it, and not move the rest of the day.

  • The Trouble with Harry

    The Trouble with Harry

    ★★★

    Hitchcock turns the dial from suspense to morbid comedy. The overall effect is slightly diminished, since Harry really is not too much trouble, nobody is all that bothered by his death. But it is an amusing scenario played out with a jaunty Bernard Herrmann score and bright autumnal colors shot in the daytime. It’s a simple, uncomplicated diversion from Hitchcock, a curiosity that only asks, what if Rope were inverted and light humor were it’s only directions to the audience.

  • Silent Night, Deadly Night

    Silent Night, Deadly Night

    ★★½

    There aren’t enough Yuletide franchises. Alt Christmas movies make for interesting subjects but franchising out a series of seasonably related films seems to be an autumnal hobby. I think it ought to be done in the Winter too. At best, there are initial films that sing the spirit of the holiday like Gremlins and then there’s no Christmas in the next one, or these movies just get remade. But Christmas deserves longer running franchises. It is bankable — the money…