• Scream

    Scream

    ★★★½

    One of biggest “simultaneously great and terrible” movies I’ve seen in a while. On paper and in many aspects in the actual film, the meta-awareness, the unabashed embrace of real-world culture, and the looseness with storytelling conventions are clever and refreshing. In many other ways, this induces eye-rolls like no other. You can make fun of stupid characters, but it doesn’t really justify employing them. You can wax eloquent about cinema, but it’s not quite effective in the form of…

  • Don't Look Up

    Don't Look Up

    ★★★½

    Watching this was, aside from the amusement derived from bitingly accurate satire, in no way a pleasant experience. I wanted to curl up in a ball, maybe cry, maybe vomit, maybe just go to sleep (it didn’t really help that I’m sick); I wanted to pray, repent, shout out to anyone who’d listen that they need to be saved. It’s Adam McKay, so of course it’s one-sided, not very nuanced, etc…but it’s also razor sharp in its attempt to get…

  • Licorice Pizza

    Licorice Pizza

    ★★★★½

    From the eclectic yet controlled pace to the unabashed wiliness, the continuous cascade of characters to the unpredictability and ambiguity of motives, the fever-dreamish atmosphere present in a slew of scenes…it felt like I was watching a Thomas Pynchon book on screen. PTA’s admiration for TRP, through the loopiness Inherent Vice, the slow chaos of Phantom Thread, and every other drawn inspiration from his movie arsenal, has become tangible. I love it.

    Don’t love senseless profanity, though it’s in practically every…

  • The Last Duel

    The Last Duel

    ★★★★½

    Ridley Scott attacks it all here: the corruption and debauchery behind the curtains of power that are ubiquitous throughout history; the antiquated role of femininity, summarized simply as bearing children (heirs) and keeping their mouths shut despite being victim to travesties; the concept of perception and interpretation, from a subtle, clandestine bat of the eyes to, grossly, the degree to which a rape was protested; the use of “defending honor” as an excuse for pride; the absurd dogma of old-age…

  • Spider-Man: No Way Home

    Spider-Man: No Way Home

    ★★★★★

    Taco Bell and Chipotle are two starkly different restaurants. Although they fall under the same umbrella of type of food produced and are therefore subject to comparison, the differences between them are palpable. 

    Taco Bell is predicated upon flashy, colorfully-assorted products that are delicious both to the eyes and mouth. It makes bank off of pleasing the crowd while also providing food that is addictive, even if you’re left hungry or a little guilty (or both) afterward. Chipotle, by contrast,…

  • House of Gucci

    House of Gucci

    ★★★★

    Patient yet swift. Humorous yet mature. Mild-mannered yet thrilling. House of Gucci, for its often-mellow two-and-a-half-hour runtime, is boatloads of fun, brimming with subtle comedy, gripping relational drama, crisp technical work and writing, and an overall concise care for the craft. Not to mention flawless performances all around. This is a perfect movie to watch in the dark late at night, letting its wonderful pace wash over you.

  • Halloween Kills

    Halloween Kills

    ★★★½

    SOMEWHAT SPOILERS AHEAD:

    I feel a bit uncouth in commenting on the lore and mythos of this franchise, given I’ve only seen two-and-a-quarter of the movies (three-and-a-quarter now, I guess), but here we go…

    Halloween Kills is an absolute enigma. I knew before even opening Letterboxd or checking the ratings that this probably didn’t have super high reviews and that most complaints would stem from any combination of its cacophonic nature, questionable writing, and subversion of traditional series story beats,…

  • No Time to Die

    No Time to Die

    ★★★★

    Sitting in an AMC IMAX and watching No Time to Die for nigh three hours felt, bear with me, oddly similar to sitting in one place and reading ~80% of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: cozy, relaxed yet engaged, thrilling yet tame. It’s not like I couldn’t tell that this film was as crazily long as it is, but every moment was necessitated, if not by narrative then by tone. The film basks in its scenic diversity, whether the…

  • Venom: Let There Be Carnage

    Venom: Let There Be Carnage

    ★★★

    I give this movie a 6.7/10. 6 of those 6.7 points come from the Eddie-Venom pairing alone. Everything else? Well…Requiem Mass is cool. The action is fun. It’s overall a very fun movie despite its deep pitfalls: Dickens would be proud, because it seems the writers have penned A Tale of Two Scripts, one of which is witty and smooth, the other of which is…uh…

    “Any last words?” as board-like as humanly possible.

    “No one escapes,” spoken mere seconds before…

  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

    Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

    ★★★★

    The Good:

    Everything to do with action, choreography, intensity -- pretty much everything that makes a comic-book movie -- is phenomenal. Enthralling, really. Putting to use some of the best visuals with which the MCU has ever graced the screen, Shang-Chi brings to life an incredibly vibrant, verdant, and refreshing story. The whole “Marvel movies are cut-and-paste” concept introduced as of late definitely has some merits (Black Widow, only two months ago, is a perfect example), but here it’s a…

  • Cruella

    Cruella

    ★★★★

    Disney made…an arthouse film?

    At first glance, it certainly seems like it. Gillespie’s technicality, first and foremost, is dazzling compared to a lot of the Mouse’s live-action output; it’s colorful, smooth, and built with brilliant care for shot composition and camera placement. There are moments that belong in a “The Beauty of…” video for their pure elegance alone. The air of the film, like its main character, is vivacious in all the right ways, emulated with a soundtrack/score that bucks…

  • Monsters vs Aliens

    Monsters vs Aliens

    ★★★½

    More based than I remember