Clayton has written 70 reviews for films rated ★★★ .

  • 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 isn'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 than 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.

    🐀 🪤

  • 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

  • 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…

  • Mr. Baseball

    Mr. Baseball

    ★★★

    You had me at three balls, four strikes.

    A relic of fish-out-of-water, big dick American chauvinism that is entirely predictable but strangely comforting. The girth of Jack Elliot's (Tom Selleck) ignorance and arrogance is only matched by his heroic mustache, and until the cross-cultural bridges are inevitably mended in a language of mutual respect he never fails to amuse. If Jack Elliot (and his ironically Yankee-disqualifying mustache) isn't as potent a symbol for America's standing on the world stage to…

  • Godzilla vs. Kong

    Godzilla vs. Kong

    ★★★

    Contains exactly one good joke, one interesting relationship, a bonkers sci-fi tinge that would make Jules Verne dry-heave, two storylines - one of which is irredeemably terrible - and barely clears the bar of a trio of seriously agitated titans pummeling each other into metropolitan oblivion.

    And yet, Adam Wingard delivers.

    Godzilla vs. Kong brings whatever promise of its brutish title to fruition in mostly clear, often graphically dazzling orchestrations of grand scale pop mayhem. It barely makes a lick…

  • Casa de Lava

    Casa de Lava

    ★★★

    A touch dense for someone not learned in the colonial legacy of the Cape Verde islands. This is a meandering film intent on covering every nook and charred slope of the remote volcanic island along with the modest, colorful personalities that inhabit it. Mariana (Inês de Medeiros), the Lisbon-based nurse with the enchanting face, walks around in a deep red dress as if exuding the nearby lava and becomes enraptured with the local community. Particularly, with their avoidance of and…

  • Alex Wheatle

    Alex Wheatle

    ★★★

    Not the apogee of the anthology, but a unique wedge into the community fixed on examining the identity of a man who has none.

  • Mary Last Seen

    Mary Last Seen

    ★★★

    Durkin’s pre-MMMM fare lives and breathes as a trial run for that later effort, managing to scrounge up a creepy aftertaste by the time all 13 minutes have played their hand.

  • The Pillar of Fire

    The Pillar of Fire

    ★★★

    Endearing old experiment embodying the “cinema of attractions”. The woman at the center flutters her kaleidoscopic fabrics as if by wings, soaring into the future of cinema itself.

  • Saving Silverman

    Saving Silverman

    ★★★

    Plumbs some serious high school nostalgia for me. Definitely drags in parts on the rewatch but has enough inspired, juvenile kookiness and genuinely funny nuggets to convincingly lodge in the pleasure centers. For example:

    Ermy: "I'd rather go down in a hail of gunfire than go back to the big house!"

    Zahn: "We..."
    Black: "Ate her."
    Ermy: "Yah ate her?"
    Black: "Alive"
    Ermy: "My hat goes off to you. You boys are smart. That's the perfect crime!"

    Peet: "Give me…