Clayton has written 28 reviews for films rated ★★½ .

  • Willy's Wonderland

    Willy's Wonderland

    ★★½

    Hope that’s clean enough for ya, boss.

    An inexplicably goofy, iridescent experience with killer sock puppets and Cage-inflected ASMR cleaning sequences. There’s just something so satisfying about a man doing his work and doing it well. I really wish Cage would just shut the fuck up once and awhile in this thing.

  • Possessor

    Possessor

    ★★½

    A scene of disinterested fucking turns multilayered quickly as we witness our possessor relive a brutal neck stabbing in POV; only then does the current brand of penetration become reciprocal. A "confrontation" scene stitched together with a garish red filter sees our possessor fighting with her host in the neuro-chemical muck of his mind. A psychic tether bridging parasite and host results in mind-bending, lysergic abstractions.

    These are the only moments in Brandon Cronenberg's Possessor that I truly liked. While…

  • Teeth

    Teeth

    ★★½

    Thoughts:

    - Only in movies could I jump from Persona to Teeth in the span of a few days.

    - The X-Men have been unfairly concealing the mutants with unglamorous powers from us.

    - As someone who works on films, I wish I had worked on Teeth. Just to have the story. I would literally pay good money to have been present at the pitch.

    - The puritanical satire in this is way more terrifying than the cavernous snarl of its femme…

  • The Morning After

    The Morning After

    ★★½

    Sensible plotting and character motivations are at a premium on this one, folks. The only sparks to be found are from the more than capable actors doing their best within lightweight neo-noir architecture. Some thoughts:

    1) Being real, I was hoping all along that Fonda's alcoholic has-been was guilty as sin. This would have justified my displeasure with her.

    2) The faux-jazzy score only reinforced how little this picture hit its marks.

    3) Every time Bridges' Turner asked about Fonda's kinda-husband Jackie, I couldn't be the only Coen fanatic out there filling in "Treehorn" in the dead air.

  • Our Idiot Brother

    Our Idiot Brother

    ★★½

    Carefree and slight to a fault. Gets interesting when Rudd's naive schlep smashes his hippie-dippie disposition and takes it personally, but the jokes are too hit and miss and punctuate an effort whose pacing is oddly sluggish. Strange feat for an 89 minute film with a superlative cast. Also, despite how much she did work in 500 Days of Summer for me, not a Zooey Deschanel fan. She's already become a caricature of herself by this point.

  • The Midnight Sky

    The Midnight Sky

    ★★½

    Clooney's earnestness as actor and filmmaker imbues The Midnight Sky with noble intentions and a resplendent celestial color palette, but the story is an unfocused mess and the big "reveal" was a dead heat between manipulative and obvious. Unlike the air on Jupiter's K23 haven, foundational questions of what or who we should care about is never clear, and unfortunately nothing during the 120 minute runtime made it any more crystalline.

  • The Devil All the Time

    The Devil All the Time

    ★★½

    There are some impressive narrative mechanics to the daisy-chain, generational violence in this sprawling backwoods sin-a-thon, but nothing that coheres into a full-fleshed statement of purpose or intent. If a world is going to be this artificially inflated with the corrosive menace of rotten apples, a point is customarily expected to emerge. I would have preferred to spend more time with Bill Skarsgård's PTSD damaged, bruising good ol' boy because Tom Holland, sweet and talented the boy may be, isn't…

  • High Life

    High Life

    ★★½

    The ambient noise in my living room was amped up during this one and as a consequence my viewing doesn't feel completely satisfying. I'll give High Life another go at some point. That being said, the interesting visuals and idea-rich screenplay can't compensate for the aloof storytelling. I often felt more marooned from the experience than the crew at the center of Claire Denis' first English-language film barreling toward a black hole in that large Zippo lighter. If your goal is to understand the nuance and texture of every grain of hair on Robert Pattinson's finely shorn, rim lit head, you're in luck.

  • The Crazies

    The Crazies

    ★★½

    Strangely, not crazy enough.

    Romero's 2nd Amendment wet dream scenario gets kudos for its metaphor envisioning the hysteria and bloodshed that comes with the hostile takeover of an inept government. Playing like the erudite horror auteur's riff on Dr. Strangelove, I was surprised to find the subtextual lacerations redundant and all together monotonous. The group that comprises humanity's last hope strains for interest and only comes alive in their myriad skirmishes with Uncle Sam's chemical squad, and the parallel thread…

  • Hungry Wives

    Hungry Wives

    ★★½

    Season of the Witch is a bizarre film that neither begins nor ends, but rather exists in a perpetual 2nd act homeostasis. Romero has a lot of fun disorienting with sharp transitional cutting, if not flat out jump cutting. It's the cinematic equivalent of getting smacked upside the head between every scene, or even within a single scene. It's refreshing, but conventional in and out points could also have a certain je ne sais quoi when peppered in liberally....sanity, maybe?…

  • Tenet

    Tenet

    ★★½

    With Tenet, Christopher Nolan seems intent on hammering his audience's cinematic vocabulary back to its ABC's. That's a lofty goal, but does it also make for an enjoyable movie?

    While on the surface an astounding technical exercise, which if it truly tracks would represent a first in cinematic storytelling, Tenet's white hot approach to narrative linguistics unfortunately is ice cold in anything resembling a human pulse. I found it occasionally thrilling and audacious, but more often unmoored and staggered from…

  • Variety

    Variety

    ★★½

    Chasing Amy meets Travis Bickle. Kudos to the subject matter's laudable point of view, naturalistic dialogue and presentation. The juxtaposition of the societally affirmed male gaze next to the perceived icky taboo of the feminine application comes through clearly, rendered via a slow burn of discouraged self-discovery. The grainy photography and lurid New York trappings are also to the film's credit. You can practically taste the ashy cigarette smoke and run your hands along the grime of the city's depreciating…