• John Wick: Chapter 4

    John Wick: Chapter 4


    After the speeding freight train that was Chapter 3, the idea of this series putting John - and subsequently the audience - through the ringer yet again seemed impossible. Yet here we are, and Chapter 4 gives itself nearly three hours to pummel its lead to submission. Not to say that Chad Stahelski's methods so have become stale, as he constantly veers between explosive gunplay and staredowns taken straight out of a Western. While there are times when he recycles…

  • John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum

    John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum


    A case study on how to hit the ground running in terms of tension and spectacle. Sure, the previous films made a strong first impression with the most direct and badass exposition around (name someone else with a crazy pencil backstory). However, this one strips down the stakes to one simple pitch: what if John Wick was up against the world? The good news, then, is that from the countdown to the opening of his contract to the final underground…

  • John Wick: Chapter 2

    John Wick: Chapter 2


    Reshuffles the balance between balletic gunplay, bold colors, detailed lore, and character beats while keeping toe-to-toe with its predecessor. There isn't any action setpiece that surpasses the Red Circle sequence of the original, but pretty much all of them are only just behind in terms of how awe-inspiring they are. If nothing else, each one amps up the tension and the blood splattering that follows suit. Any action film would be grateful to have a moment as sublime as the…

  • John Wick

    John Wick


    Quaint in comparison to its gaudy sequels - especially in terms of the worldbuilding and fight choreography - but it nevertheless makes a mark thanks to how damn efficient it is. On top of the most effective use of flashbacks to grace an action movie, it gets so much done with only a few words at its disposal. Under less competent hands, the exposition that fleshes out John's history could feel cookie-cutter. However, the speedy pacing and the hushed line…

  • The Wizard of Speed and Time

    The Wizard of Speed and Time


    This guy and the Superman that flew around the world to reverse time would be great friends.

  • Inland Empire

    Inland Empire

    As if I'm actually able to come up with a star rating - let alone a thorough analysis - on a first viewing. Anyway, few things are as successful at creating an unnerving atmosphere quite like low-resolution digital cameras.

  • Saint Omer

    Saint Omer


    A solid tale about the fears of being a mother nestled inside a superb courtroom drama, which would sound like a runaway success if the filmmakers were better at switching between modes. Without question, it's at its strongest when the characters speak for themselves with no embellishments in their way. The static medium shots combined with the restrained cutting allows the words coming from the defendant to have as much weight as their expressions (it also helps that Guslagie Malanda…

  • Shazam! Fury of the Gods

    Shazam! Fury of the Gods


    Been a while since a movie suffered from sequelitis this hard. At least the last few Marvel sequels stumbled by carving a new niche for themselves, this is just content with doing a poor version of everything the previous film did well. Whether it's the family dynamics or the joys of being a kid with superpowers, the charm is largely absent. So what we're left with are action sequences that have the polish to feel expensive, but not the emotional…

  • My Year of Dicks

    My Year of Dicks


    Pretty sick that a project that name-drops the cinematic pinnacle of 1991, Cool as Ice, has an Oscar nomination now.

  • Scream VI

    Scream VI


    Starting to think the half-hearted nods to legacy sequels and elevated horror movies in Scream '22 were just the Radio Silence guys getting the gunk out of their system. Now that this is their second stab at the series, they can better focus on delivering the goods. And if I'm being honest, not only have they made that a reality, but they have also crafted one of the best-constructed sequels in ages. While the increase in scale is inevitable, I…

  • Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre

    Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre


    Guy Ritchie making what is essentially a more assured version of The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is enough to get my interest, but the superb ensemble is what gets my attention. He certainly has wrangled bigger casts before, but it's rare to see every single person have the time to shine. Whether it's Ritchie's old buddy Jason Statham or people going through a resurgence like Josh Hartnett, they embrace the frothy script as much as possible, and so we…

  • House Party

    House Party


    A sad state of affairs when a series has multiple low-grade direct-to-video sequels and the reboot manages to be worse at sincere entertainment than either of them. While the last few House Party sequels are much more irritating as comedies - especially in regards to how they view plus-sized women - you can at least feel the filmmakers having a good time coming up with jokes. Here, the so-called gags take the form of "look at the famous person we…