• The Red Balloon

    The Red Balloon

    ★★★★★

    > First Watches 2023

    "Fly away, balloon."

    Somehow a 34-minute short French film with maybe four lines of dialogue about childhood innocence, purity, and magical realism is easily one of my favorite films of all time.

    First, the film genuinely looks like a painting come to life in just about every scene. The cinematography here is absolutely outstanding. Because
    of its vivid visual language, it makes sense that there is so little dialogue because everything is felt at that age. And…

  • Shazam!

    Shazam!

    ★★★★

    > First Watches 2023

    "The wisdom of Solomon. The strength of Hercules. The stamina of Atlas. The power of Zeus. The courage of Achilles, and The speed of Mercury."

    I put this film off for so long. I'd mostly heard it was good, but just had very little interest in it, or anything DC honestly. It wasn't until James Gunn's The Suicide Squad that I decided to give DC another chance after abysmal Birds of Prey.

    I gotta say, more of…

  • M3GAN

    M3GAN

    ★★★★

    > 2023 Releases Ranked
    > Film Code Podcast Full Review

    "People like that don't go to Heaven."

    M3GAN is that b*tch and you better recognize. Or she'll rip your ear off.

    This was pure, delightful, campy fun. James Wan and Akela Cooper is a match made in movie heaven. They understand how to make stories with stakes no matter how ridiculous the premise is. That's talent.

    I had more fun with this film than I ever thought I would. It looked tailor-made…

  • A Man Called Otto

    A Man Called Otto

    ★★★★

    > 2022 Releases Ranked

    "You are not an idiot."

    Is it too late to add Tom Hanks to the Best Actor race?

    Hanks delivers a magnificent performance that makes up for what he did in Elvis and Pinocchio. I know some people fear remakes as they think they will overshadow the originals or get undeserved praise that the original never got, but this only makes me want to see the original more.

    This is a sweet, touching film that I didn't…

  • All That Breathes

    All That Breathes

    ★★½

    > 2022 Releases Ranked

    "Life itself is kinship."

    As I've been developing my taste in films z I've come to discover a few things about myself. I don't like plot less movies, I don't like being gaslighted about things that are really not good, and I'm not a fan of nature documentaries.

    Documentaries that tell a story about nature, with people talking about the science of it, the power of it, what it can do, why it is the way it…

  • Roald Dahl's Matilda the Musical

    Roald Dahl's Matilda the Musical

    ★★½

    > 2022 Releases Ranked

    "This isn't a school. It's a prison."

    This film manages the incredible task of being simultaneously impressive and then utterly dull. When adapting a film or book into a musical, undoubtedly certain elements have to change, but this was done in a very weird way. It's like it wants to wear the movie's clothes, but doesn't realize they don't fit.

    Everything about this was the film version only half of what made it good. The story that…

  • Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio

    Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio

    ★★★½

    > 2022 Releases Ranked

    "Life is filled with joy. Such terrible, terrible joy."

    Guillermo Del Toro famously said at the most recent Golden Globe Awards that animation is a medium for which artists can use to tell stories. In that, he is absolutely correct. And here, as an artist, Del Toro infuses the story of Pinocchio with the themes of mortality, morality, responsibility, and love.

    And while all of that is great and excellently executed, the original themes of Pinocchio (honesty,…

  • Holy Spider

    Holy Spider

    ★★★★

    > 2022 Releases Ranked

    "I am crazy. Crazy about God."

    This was very interesting as they decided to go in the direction of taking us through the serial killer's viewpoint and shockingly and amazingly, we didn't feel any sympathy for him still. Usually, the idea behind your protagonist is that it's someone the audience can identify behind, but here, through his perspective, we're not made to understand, we're made to stir. To sit in his heinous acts of violence, time and…

  • Plane

    Plane

    ★★★

    > 2023 Releases Ranked

    "My passengers, my responsibility."

    No one gives you dumb, but compelling action movies quite like Gerard Butler. This guy just gets it. Give me a kick-ass time, some fun kills, just enough backstory, and a decent plot, and that's really all you need.

    Even if the film skates on the very thin line of logic quite often, it doesn't matter. It just makes it more fun and Butler, Mike Coulter and company give you enough reason to…

  • Emily the Criminal

    Emily the Criminal

    ★★★

    > 2022 Releases Ranked

    "You won't be in danger. You won't endanger anyone else, but it is illegal."

    This is... fine. It's elevated by Aubrey Plaza's indelible presence, but it is also the kind of film Plaza shouldn't be doing anymore. She's reached a level that speaks more high quality filmmaking, and here, she just gets to be a big fish in a little pond.

    The film itself speaks to the desperation of the current generation. One that is saddled with…

  • Babylon

    Babylon

    ★★★★★

    > 2022 Releases Ranked
    > Film Code Podcast Full Review

    "They make anything good these days?"

    I know it is overly raunchy, I know it is debauchery at its finest, I know it is hectic and messy and frenetic, I know it doesn't feel like the Damien Chazelle we're used to, but it is every bit one of the best damn movies of the year.

    For all its glitz and glamour and provocative nature, buried right underneath it is a tender film…

  • Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul.

    Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul.

    ★★★½

    > 2022 Releases Ranked

    "Fuck you... God bless."

    So fresh and unique in both style and presentation. Adamma Ebo's film blends elements of documentary and narrative film storytelling to present a spin on the competitive nature of churches, and the personalities behind them.

    There's a quiet, almost cringeworthy approach in how these characters interact with each other. There's this performative aspect to all of their interactions, and the reality of how these relationships work.
    It helps having been in the church…