• Those Who Wish Me Dead

    Those Who Wish Me Dead

    ★★★

    Like the raging forest fire that serves as its unofficial villain, Those Who Wish Me Dead ain’t great but unwatchable it ain’t. Jolie effectively spoofs her media persona while turning in an earnest performance - that’s a nice trick. Finn Little is incredible. Sheridan lost me when Jolie almost got struck by lightning twice in thirty minutes of screen time, but the film is clearly as much about his love for the heroic men and women of the brigade and…

  • Oxygen

    Oxygen

    ★★★

    Au Revoir Oxygene!!

    If I’m being honest, opening the movie with the rat was the worst possible thing for the film. I felt more for that rat anything that followed. I think it’s a flaw in the human CPU, but it’s there nonetheless. Oxygene is a serviceable enough thriller in the “confined space” sub genre, but it’s narrative limitations oddly belittle the story’s grander ambitions. There’s some taut ticking clock scenarios within the larger, master concern of depleting O2, though I was a bit apathetic when the mystery eventually steps into the broad light of day. Melanie Laurent is a good actress.

    🐀 🪤

  • Mother

    Mother

    ★★★★

    Mother’s ruthless amputation of moral sanity from the parent-child tether is both darkly funny and crushingly sad. The opening shot is still a stunner ten odd years later, juxtaposing the obsessive delirium of a parent with no roads left to travel against bucolic poetry.

    - typed on a pervert phone.

  • The Square

    The Square

    ★★★

    Ape-Man is possibly one of the strongest sequences of the 2010s, and one of the most potent vignettes shining light on the mammoth hypocrisies of those at the center of The Square. The remainder of its decathlon runtime is more of a scattershot affair, drifting between moments of slack-jawed brilliance, utter hilarity, unfortunate explicating, and watch-gazing. Sometimes I found traction in Christian’s great follies, others I wished more than anything I could see what that chimpanzee was doodling. What a fucking legend.

    Elizabeth Moss <3

  • Death Proof

    Death Proof

    ★★★★

    Viewed the truncated Grindhouse cut.

    Is there a better shot in Tarantino's oeuvre than Kurt Russell's fourth-wall break when he smiles at the camera and flicks his heater, before meting out heavy dollops of vehicular carnage? Chef's kiss. The patina of sloppiness foisted on this thing felt more forced this time around, as Tarantino can't help but fucking Tarantino his movie in the end. The decision to have two completely different ensembles of female characters? Still bold, and somehow it…

  • Breakdown

    Breakdown

    ★★★★

    I am the Donut King.

    One of those flicks I caught an inexplicably large amount of times growing up. It's funny how added years change your perspective on a film text. Breakdown's canvas used to feel gargantuan to me, an exploration of one couple's waking nightmare wrought on the vastness of desolate desert highways. While the scope of the events now feels significantly smaller and constrained with thirty-something eyes, especially with its brisk 90 minute runtime, I actually think the…

  • Alps

    Alps

    ★★★½

    Who wouldn't want a stranger "substituting" in for their dead loved one? Interesting post-Dogtooth experiment from Yorgos Lanthimos, which finds him continuing to parse, sequester, and cattle prod the elemental building blocks which define human interaction, and here specifically, grief and mortality. The film feels like a full-frontal assault on false consolation, hyperbolized to absurdist lengths. Trademark stilted deliveries and ink-black humor abound, crystallized most elegantly in the following:

    (To the grieving parents of their deceased daughter, a tennis player)…

  • Kinetta

    Kinetta

    ★½

    Too elliptical and elusive for its own good. You can see Lanthimos’ neurons beginning to fire here in his solo directorial debut, but his slowly unfolding tapestry centering on a trio of loosely related characters and one bizarre film project never coheres. It’s like trying to experience theater from the lobby, only catching faint impressions of the stage every time the door is cracked open by someone walking out to take a piss. Speaking of urine, I want to strangle the cinematographer. My craft stout keeping me company with its silky chocolate aromas and heroic 9% alc / volume was my only consolation. For completists only.

  • The Train

    The Train

    ★★★★½

    “Men are such fools. Men want to be heroes, and their widows mourn.”

    Handsome, muscular cinema that turns the vulgarities of screeching iron into something downright symphonic. Lancaster is fantastic. No face knows weariness quite like his, yet few also manage to be as comforting. John Frankenheimer’s The Train harkens back to old-fashioned cinema in the best senses of the word, where leading men conveyed the physical strain of a day’s work in merciless wides, and spectacle directors expressed a sensitivity…

  • Nas: Time Is Illmatic

    Nas: Time Is Illmatic

    ★★★

    If the life of Nasir Jones was the most street-decked, funked out venue for rhyme spitting your two legs had ever graced, then this examination of his roots and landmark debut album only takes you up to entrance to get in, flush with the velvet ropes. It's a good taste, full of interesting backstory and rough portraits of brothers and life on the streets in the Queensbridge projects, but ultimately just whets the appetite for a broader, more meticulous treatment.…

  • Devil in a Blue Dress

    Devil in a Blue Dress

    ★★★

    Didn’t connect with me as much as I’d hoped. I found the plotting semi-convoluted and the character work thin. That being said, Carl Franklin’s velvety period noir has a much subtler, richer subtext in its pot to stew over, and his canvas of the racially-charged hotbed of 40s Los Angeles aptly cashes the check. After numerous primers along the way, we finally fade to black not after tying off the final plot thread, or in a close up capitalizing on…

  • High and Low

    High and Low

    ★★★★★

    Perfection in halves, possessing first the single-location mastery of Sidney Lumet's 12 Angry Men and later the tightly wound procedural of David Fincher's Zodiac. Kurosawa's ticking clock thriller is all the more enjoyable for its modernity, swapping out the historical epic for 1960s police detectives and conniving business tycoons. This is a post-war Japanese society now starkly adoptive of Western culture yet maintaining hallmarks of its rigid conservatism.

    High and Low's bifurcated structure opens on a brilliant twist to the…