• The Favourite

    The Favourite

    ★★★

    100-word review: An 18th century costume drama seems like a good fit for Yorgos Lanthimos' directorial style, as the period is somewhat inherently silly with its wigs, dresses, and make-up. And The Favourite is, sometimes, just that; I love its hilarious take on ball dances for example. Overall though, this wasn't as 'out there' as I'd hoped, and have come to expect from the maker of one of my all-time favourite black comedies The Lobster. Stone, Weisz, and Colman do make for a powerful trio of female leads however, which is refreshing given the subgenre (men really are left to the margins).

  • Don't Worry Darling

    Don't Worry Darling

    ★★★

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

    100-word review: Florence Pugh and cults, it's already becoming a thing! I was on board with the twist initially when I still thought Alice was being drugged/brainwashed to think she's living in the 50s, while actually just being secluded from modern-day society (à la The Village); less so when it turned out Don’t Worry Darling is conceptually more like The Matrix instead! First half lingers too much, and doesn't quite manage to make the feminist point it's trying to, and which I was highly anticipating. P&P (Pugh and Pine) steal the show way more than Styles, to no-one's surprise probably.

  • Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Fall Off

    Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Fall Off

    ★★★

    100-word review: Give Rodney Mullen his own high-production documentary already! Until the Wheels Fall Off taught me lots about the doc's titular subject — how his mind works — but would've benefitted from a greater focus on the sport of skateboarding as a whole too, which would've helped me understand why, for example, his peers called Tony's tricks "lame" — as a layman, I can't see how they are. From a bit of internet research I found out that Hawk isn't widely considered the GOAT by insiders, but it's quite spectacular watching a piece of media that makes it feel like you're watching a GOAT.

  • All Quiet on the Western Front

    All Quiet on the Western Front

    ★★★

    100-word review: This third and latest adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front reminds me of 1917 (well duh), because both are excellent examples of how war films feature some of the best cinematography (people love to capture utter destruction and brutality beautifully), as well as Come and See (again, duh), because both are excellent examples of how I personally don't necessarily connect with a character on an emotional level simply because they endure one horror after another. An accomplished reiteration of the intended anti-war message for sure, but hopefully the 1930 'original' manages to move me more.

  • The Spirit of St. Louis

    The Spirit of St. Louis

    ★★★

    100-word review: The story of the first (solo) transatlantic flight between two major city hubs (from New York to Paris), based on the autobiography of the guy who achieved the feat: Charles Lindbergh. As an extraordinary character (interactions) author, a solo adventure by a man in a confined space over the vast ocean isn't necessarily what I'd typically look at Billy Wilder for, but watching The Spirit of St. Louis the hours in fact flew by (pun intended), also because…

  • Morbius

    Morbius

    100-word review: It wasn't even morbid (pun intended) curiosity that drove me to finally check this out, just a regretful obsession with completing thematic lists. The best movies are divisive; the worst movies, however, have the magic quality of bringing all people together in collective hatred. Morbius is one such movie: a culmination of the superhero-genre apathy — boring, predictable, bad-looking, and boring (again). Beyond sick and tired of all the superhero movies being about one guy fighting another with the exact same powers. Only thing I can root for is this new 'Matt Smith big movie/TV-star' timeline we livin' in now.

  • Thirteen Lives

    Thirteen Lives

    ★★★

    100-word review: Ron Howard’s Thirteen Lives is, as its positive average rating would suggest, a fine dramatisation of the Tham Luang cave rescue, but a definite disappointment for anyone who’s seen The Rescue, as last year’s documentary on the same event wins the head-to-head firstly in terms of suspense, and secondly in terms of the ‘characters’, who Mortensen, Farrell, Edgerton, Bateman, and Gleeson portray rather lifelessly; their real-life counterparts had better ‘arcs’ so to say. Didn’t feel two and a half hours long though, and it’s an amazing story, even if the documentary format so obviously fits it better.

  • The Black Cat

    The Black Cat

    ★★★

    100-word review: A pairing of Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi (yes Frankenstein's Monster and Count Dracula meet) in a 1930s Universal Pictures film; this could've been about picking flowers in the meadow and it'd still be categorised as a horror. But The Black Cat isn't about picking flowers — nor about the black cat (which does make appearances) really; there's satanic cultism, and live skinning, so the 'horror' tag is deserved. Story-wise The Black Cat doesn't rival the popular, often…

  • The Unknown

    The Unknown

    ★★★★

    100-word review: I'll be honest: the Hooptober 'Lon Chaney' category — whom I didn't know about beforehand — was probably the one I looked least forward to, but that goes to show how such film challenge rules can help one discover gems they'd otherwise never experience, which I'm thankful for, because The Unknown was truly a pleasure. Loved how innovative this picture was in terms of its macabre story, the body-doubling with a real-life armless man, and the film's 'progressive'…

  • Lord Shango

    Lord Shango

    ★★★

    100-word review: Kinda glad I couldn't find The Town That Dreaded Sundown anywhere online, so I had to resort to this film as my second '1970s regional U.S. film' Hooptober entry (after The Texas Chain Saw Massacre), as it was quite interesting, and probably my first ever western film with not a single white character (not with audible dialogue at least). Not so scary, but the scenes of Afrocentric mysticism and voodoo are the most memorable, precisely because of their ghastly…

  • Nosferatu

    Nosferatu

    ★★★

    100-word review: I was perhaps a bit too sleepy for a silent film; not to say those are boring or anything, just that the lack of dialogue, and continuous symphonic score, precipitate slumbering. Love seeing some of the super early 'special' effects here, fascinating to see, and sometimes hilarious too (the crates magically lifting into the cart for example). Max Schreck as Count Orlok looks like something that could surely scare the hell out of audiences back in the day.…

  • Werewolf by Night

    Werewolf by Night

    ★★★

    100-word review: If the MCU was gonna experiment some more, this was the place to do so: a TV special with virtually no obvious connections to the rest of the universe, and no big-name recognisable superhero characters. But the experimentation doesn't go much further than a black-and-white cinematography and perhaps a tad more gore. I would've liked it had they at least kept up the Universal Monster Movies aesthetic beyond the intro — and I wouldn't be opposed to the…