• A Zed & Two Noughts

    A Zed & Two Noughts

    ★★★★

    From trauma in Haddonfield to grief in Rotterdam. A couple of months ago, Remobo jogged my memory that I haven’t explored Peter Greenaway’s filmography, a UK auteur he described as “very snooty, yet somehow seductive.” Greenaway started in shorts, later carving out a niche in arthouse films, beginning in the early 80s with The Draughtsman’s Contract (1982).

    A Zed and Two Noughts (which spells Zoo) is the director's second feature. About two zoologists who (and it isn't a spoiler to…

  • Halloween Kills

    Halloween Kills

    ★★★½

    Honestly, the trauma trope crops up in nearly every horror movie, I mean you couldn't think of anything else!? Anyway, that out of the way, this is the second part of a yet unfinished Halloween reboot trilogy. Where the 2018 film dealt with individual PTSD, the 2021 sequel explores a collective traumatization in Michael Myer's childhood home town. I thought Halloween (2018) had a great beginning and ending, losing momentum in the weaker middle. Halloween Kills is more consistent from…

  • The Invisible Man

    The Invisible Man

    ★★★½

    Brilliant special effects for the era and funnier than I remembered. In James Whale’s 1933 version, the women are constantly anxious. A feistier girlfriend and subtler performance by Elisabeth Moss in the 2020 remake. Claude Rains channels a booming, memorable voice as the invisible man, his maniacal laughter is over the top though. Invisibility functions as a metaphor for the outsider living on the fringes of society. The freedom of doing what you want is quite mind-blowing, but also a…

  • Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

    Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

    ★★★

    Based on a book series by Alvin Schwartz and with a screen story written by Guillermo Del Toro. In the vein of IT, Stranger Things or Summer of 84, a horror with a cast of kids, only this time set in the 1970s with the Vietnam war on TV.
    The opening 20-30 minutes are great, the visit to the creepy old house, the conflict with the bullies. The rest of the film is good, just far more by the numbers.…

  • It Follows

    It Follows

    ★★★½

    Unsettling, probing cinematography is a character in itself, never letting you forget that an unknown presence is watching the events. Other reviews have noted the stylistic comparisons to John Carpenter who was an influence for writer/director David Robert Mitchell. I’m a fan of Disasterpeace’s retro synth score, especially the dreamlike track Jay which sets the relaxed mood, before the tracks Title and Detroit build the unease.

    A small-scale story, the original concept is the reason to watch. An allegorical approach…

  • Dune

    Dune

    ★★★

    Still trying to wrap my head around why I didn’t connect with Villeneuve’s adaptation as much as I wanted to (also known as part 1).
    The insect-like aircrafts look amazing and a remarkable world Herbert envisioned which is why it’s doubly frustrating that the performances left me cold, great actors who simply aren’t memorable. Part 1 spends time introducing us to the characters but the emotion and relatability is missing.

    Villeneuve’s browny colors are drab and muted, I would go…

  • Host

    Host

    ★★

    Lockdown screenlife found footage horror. A group of women take part in a seance during a social hangout on Zoom. Filmed on a low budget, decent tension, but forgettable characters and an overuse of jump scares. The video filters and Zoom lagging give Host a very zeitgeisty feel, and the script has its funny moments. Gotta say the story is quite average. Overpraised by critics, not as groundbreaking or well told as the Unfriended films. The gimmick obviously being that…

  • Freaky

    Freaky

    ★★★½

    Balancing, humor, bullying and horror. The slasher kills are inventive, Landon has fun subverting masked killer tropes, directly referencing Friday the 13th. Maria Sharapova-lookalike Kathryn Newton is good as the lead, though falling short of charismatic Happy Death Day star Jessica Rothe. Vince Vaughn looks like he had a blast with his quirky role. The wood shop teacher, Alan Ruck playing against type …what an arsehole, quite the departure from his role in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off!
    The group of…

  • Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

    Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

    ★★★★

    A book review, of sorts, so bear with me.

    This summer, Quentin Tarantino published his first novel, or rather ”novelization”, of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Spanning 400 pages, many characters are expanded on. For me, the best part not in the movie has to be the exciting Lancer TV western plot (which Rick Dalton stars in). In fact, the western storyline is so compelling, I wish Tarantino would shoot it as a stand-alone TV special.

    Overall, I enjoy…

  • Western Stars

    Western Stars

    ★★★★

    I’m not an avid fan of the Boss's post 80s albums, still the occasional inspired track, but the albums were hit-or-miss. 2019’s Western Stars was a nice comeback and my favorite of his late career albums. This concert film features orchestral versions of the songs, in-between we hear words of wisdom, see archival footage, and he provides commentary on the lyrics. In some ways, a promotional film to sell his new material, in other ways, a companion piece to the…

  • No Time to Die

    No Time to Die

    ★★★

    No spoiler mini-review. An "elevated" Bond adventure trying to be a respectable drama side-by-side with the usual action thrills. The best part might be the exciting pre-credits sequence. A script that goes for emotion, I enjoyed the film well enough, even if a wholehearted connection to the characters didn't quite happen, and the dumb Bond baddies drag the story down a tad. Worth seeing though I doubt I'll be returning to it often. Of the five Daniel Craig outings, I…

  • Dune

    Dune

    ★★★

    Review of the 137 minute theatrical cut

    Love the set designs and score by Toto/Brian Eno. The film has many problems, chiefly the clumsy inner monologue, repetitive exposition, and characters that are difficult to become invested in. Is the film homophobic or not? Having your main villain Baron Harkonnen be a sexual predator is certainly unusual in a mainstream blockbuster, and even more daring way back in 1965 when the book was published. Not every LGBT character need be sympathetic…