jackkyser has written 65 reviews for films during 2021.

  • Cry Macho

    Cry Macho


    Among the many things I love about Clint Eastwood, chief among them is that he never makes the same movie twice. Even if you were to take the other two films in which he’s both starred and directed in the last decade or so (keep in mind, he’s directed eight additional films in that timespan), you’ll find interesting variations. Gran Torino (2008) is a re-examination of the tough guy persona Eastwood cultivated with Dirty Harry (1971), shown through a partly…

  • Jungle Cruise

    Jungle Cruise


    If the high bar of movies based on Disney amusement park rides was set by Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), then Jungle Cruise comes in somewhere slightly below that bar. It’s colorful, fun and a welcome diversion – which is to say, it offers the same moderate delights as the actual Jungle Cruise ride at Disneyland. The more I watched the film, the less I could remember if I’d actually ridden the ride. Many…

  • The Card Counter

    The Card Counter


    For William Tell (Oscar Isaac), there are two possible paths - one of salvation, and one of continued destruction.

    The scenes between William and Cirk (Tye Sheridan) are among the best written exchanges of Schrader’s career. There’s a constant dance happening between these two, as William considers following through with Cirk’s proposal to capture and torture Colonel Gordo (Willem Dafoe), the architect behind the atrocities committed against prisoners at Abu Ghraib. William has ample reason to choose this path -…

  • Springsteen On Broadway

    Springsteen On Broadway


    Note: I saw this show in-person for the second time last night - so although I haven’t technically watched Thom Zimny’s filmed version of the same event, I’m counting it anyway.

    I never thought I’d get to see this show again. Hell, after this past year, I wasn’t sure I’d ever get to see The Boss again, period. But Springsteen on Broadway is back, and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

    What’s changed since I saw it three…

  • Spartacus



    70mm print at the Museum of the Moving Image. Glorious to behold!

  • Flag Day

    Flag Day


    I flew into New York just in time to catch a screening of this film, followed by an in-person Q&A with Sean Penn and Dylan Penn. I’ve been eagerly awaiting Flag Day since its Cannes premiere (I’m sure it says something about me that this film and Stillwater were my “event” pictures of the summer), and I was quite moved by Penn’s earnest and impressionistic father-daughter drama.

    I deeply admire Penn’s work as a filmmaker (Into the Wild and The…

  • The Green Knight

    The Green Knight


    A late-night birthday treat. Utterly hypnotic, engrossing, tactile and bold - with The Green Knight, it feels like David Lowery has thrown down a gauntlet. This is what cinema can be - if you’re ready to go on the ride and get on the film’s peculiar wavelength, your patience will be rewarded. Otherwise, get out of the theater.

    Hearing Lowery speak about his influences for the film, I’m surprised he hasn’t mentioned The Last Temptation of Christ, as the third…

  • Stillwater



    Peruse the low scores from American critics on Tom McCarthy’s Stillwater, and you’ll find phrases like “overstuffed with ideas,” “confounds expectations,” and “overly ambitious.” This, of course, is how an inane, loud franchise installment (pick any one from this summer) scores higher on Metacritic than a thoughtful, admirably ambitious movie that tries something new.

    Stillwater admittedly falls into one of my favorite sub-genres - the mid-budget, leisurely-paced character drama from a major American filmmaker starring Matt Damon (see also: Downsizing,…

  • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

    Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid


    “What happened to the old bank? It was beautiful.”

    “People kept robbing it.”

    “Small price to pay for beauty.”

  • Joe Bell

    Joe Bell


    Mark Wahlberg is legitimately wonderful in this film - it’s so refreshing to see him in a character-driven drama again, and Joe Bell is a great reminder that he’s a terrific actor. And in a formal sense, this movie pulls off a shattering mid-film reveal with aplomb.

  • The Mummy

    The Mummy


    When I first saw this film with my grandma and cousin in the summer of ‘99, I was convinced it was four hours long. Watching it again, I can see why - The Mummy packs it in. I mean, there are enough memorable set pieces here for five movies. Brendan Fraser is the perfectly cartoonish swashbuckling hero we took for granted, and even seemingly throwaway expositional scenes are so creatively staged and given such life by Sommers (the scene in…

  • No Sudden Move

    No Sudden Move


    This movie is way too memorable to live on HBO Max for the rest of time. Let’s get a Blu-Ray release, pronto!