• Pig

    Pig

    ★★★½

    A grizzled recluse who's rejected society and lives out in the woods with the one he loves---a skilled truffle-hunting pig. I bet Nicolas Cage lives for roles like this.

    Perhaps more so than any film I've seen since 1999, Pig feels like a spiritual sequel to Fight Club. Not only do both stories trace their roots back to Portland, Oregon (Fight Club author Chuck Palahniuk was living in Portland when he wrote the original novel, Pig is set there) but…

  • Fantômas: The Dead Man Who Killed

    Fantômas: The Dead Man Who Killed

    ★★★½

    As the web of crime spun by Fantômas grows larger (with him and his gang engaging in an ever-widening variety of antisocial activities) Part Three of this serial establishes that these criminal actions aren't coming from a place of greed as much as they are a sick compulsion. Fantômas just really likes seeing the terror, suffering, and confusion his sharp intellect creates. His criminal plots are so far-reaching and elaborate that he's now a borderline Keyser Söze that could very…

  • Misery

    Misery

    ★★★★½

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    Rob Reiner's Misery could've been so much darker. It could've been so much more about pain and neglect and addiction and extended hours of just hellish torture. In other words, it could've been more like the Stephen King novel on which it is based. Instead it's more of a thriller-as-comedy, with Reiner reining in the actual misery and opting instead for good rhythm & energy.

    But since audience members still generally enjoy things they find humorous more than things they find…

  • Traffic in King's Road, Chelsea

    Traffic in King's Road, Chelsea

    ★★★

    A Year of Film History Challenge 2022
    (watching a little bit of film history month by month, decade by decade)
    --

    If this is what passed for traffic back then, I'm kinda jealous.

    Also, films like this always feel about as close as I'll ever get to seeing a ghost.

  • A Blueprint for Murder

    A Blueprint for Murder

    ★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    Joseph Cotten comes to town to visit his hospitalized young niece, who has mysteriously fallen ill. She dies. The child's father (Cotten's brother) had already passed away a few years earlier, leaving behind two children from a previous marriage and a wife. With his daughter now gone, a sizable inheritance would be passed on to the remaining son Doug (Freddy Ridgway) when he's of age. If the son were to die too, then his wife Lynn (Jean Peters) would inherit…

  • Fantômas: Juve Against Fantômas

    Fantômas: Juve Against Fantômas

    ★★★★

    Part two of the original five-film Fantômas serial is where we really start to see the villain of the title in full. He's revealed to be not just a suave thief who kills those who stand between him and his loot, but a completely ruthlessness mass-murderer who will wipe out everyone on a passenger train he's robbed just so there are no surviving witnesses to his crime. And like every good super villain, he now has a gang of thugs…

  • Nightmare Alley

    Nightmare Alley

    ★★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    The Carnival Geek was a frightening and fascinating social phenomenon. Imagine: a whole subset of people---usually individuals heavily addicted to alcohol or other drugs---who were hired by carnivals to run around on a stage chasing chickens...which they would then catch so they could bite their heads off. This was an actual profession a person could fall into, common enough to have its own familiar title. Geek.

    Nightmare Alley starts out with a Geek and a Carnival and I kinda wish…

  • Fantômas: In the Shadow of the Guillotine

    Fantômas: In the Shadow of the Guillotine

    ★★★½

    Fantômas---a very clever thief. Distinctive, romantic, deeply manipulative. He's bad, but we're not quite sure how bad until the end.

    Overall this introduction to the famous French character of page and screen is okay. Kinda cute. A little bit experimental (not Méliès experimental tho) but mostly standard early silent era theatrical style, filmed on indoor sets with a lot of straightforward full body shots. The writing is good, principle performances decent, but not exactly a stunner overall...although it certainly was engaging enough to have me ready to see just where it goes in II.

  • Metropolis

    Metropolis

    ★★★★★

    Say what you will about the rabble-rousing robotic Maria of Metropolis (who cocks her eyebrow more than a Dreamworks protagonist) but she knows how to throw a hell (Hel?) of a party... which is at least partly why I like to occasionally throw on this vision of the future in the wee hours of the new year (that and it's good to start the year looking forward with a sense of grand ambition, even if you have to borrow it…

  • Le Samouraï

    Le Samouraï

    ★★★★

    Patient, sharp, skillful, solitary, deceptively empty in some ways, like the warrior trying to keep their head clear so they can act on finely-tuned instinct, and not be distracted by the usual nagging human thoughts or feelings. Moves confidently (brazenly) through any location for every unspoken purpose. Has unending nerve, hardly seems to break a sweat, feels little need to overtly explain anything. I'm talking of course about both Le Samouraï and its main character Jef Costello, a French hitman…

  • Best F(r)iends: Volume 1

    Best F(r)iends: Volume 1

    ★★★★

    What starts out as a quirky buddy crime comedy with hints of dramedy featuring the reunited duo of Greg Sestero and Tommy Wiseau (stars of the 2003 cult disasterpiece The Room) eventually ends up going full glossy neo-noir, with quite a few nonsensical and surreal flourishes along the way (and even apart from the presence of Wiseau himself).

    Unlike The Room which was the brainchild of Wiseau, Best F(r)iends: Volume 1 comes to us courtesy of Sestero and has him…

  • 12 Tiny Christmas Tales

    12 Tiny Christmas Tales

    ★★★½

    Christmas nostalgia is given an unusual surreal twist when familiar holiday themes are put through the blender that is animator Bill Plympton's bizarre imagination. The difficult life of a gifted loud tie is explored and Blitzen the reindeer travels to Las Vegas to do stand-up, amongst other odd mini-tales. This holiday special originally produced for Cartoon Network is so fast-moving and changes gears so quickly (and dramatically, and weirdly) that I had trouble keeping my focus on it, if that…