• Fingernails



    This was quietly wonderful. Lots to say about the different types and intensities of love, as well as our willingness to let machines and algorithms dictate our lives. I loved it, and I don't have to rip off a fingernail to prove it... hopefully.

  • Reality



    The central conceit of this, using a verbatim recording of the real events as the basis of the script, is a masterful decision. It gives the whole movie a stilted and performative awkwardness, which puts you right in the heart of the protagonist's rapidly crumbling world.

    The flashes of redaction and the intrusion of revelations from outside the transcript is very neatly handled and the whole thing conjures such a sense of chilling paranoia.

    Real credit must go to Sydney…

  • May December

    May December


    There has been a lot of talk around whether it's right to call May December camp. Is this a trashy melodrama or a serious examination of the power dynamics in a relationship that started with a sex crime?

    The answer, of course, is that May December is both. And that's what makes it completely fascinating. Haynes and screenwriter Samy Burch have constructed something strange and uncomfortable at every turn, given real complexity by a trio of carefully measured performances.


  • Saltburn



    Right, let's start with the positives. Every member of this cast is wonderful, and they all have a great handle on their characters. Rosamund Pike made me laugh with every single thing she said and Richard E. Grant's oddball zest for life provided some truly memorable line readings.

    That's not to mention Barry Keoghan's quiet, mercurial, intense leading man turn. In fact, Keoghan's internal weirdness is far more complex and interesting than the film around it. There's been a lot…

  • Theater Camp

    Theater Camp


    This is a strange, amiable sort of movie in which lots of characters wander around not doing much in a bizarrely heightened world. It's almost too specific in its evocation of the very unique earnestness of stage kids.

    But the script provides a steady stream of good laughs and the conclusion is truly heartfelt. I actually think it would've worked better as an all-out musical, with more performance scenes.

  • Thanksgiving



    As much as I enjoy the referential, conceptual slashers we tend to get now, there's a lot to be said for a gruesome, old-fashioned kill fest with prickly edges. Eli Roth goes back to his roots with this one, which is a throwback in every way.

    The concept is deeply silly, but Roth immediately takes you off-guard with a genuinely horrific prologue sequence that recalls Dawn of the Dead in its use of a superstore as a venue for brutality.…

  • The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes

    The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes


    I absolutely love the book this is based on. Suzanne Collins took the themes of The Hunger Games and expanded them with a wilfully epic and inscrutable origin story for the pure evil of Coriolanus Snow. It's exactly the novel's sprawling genius and internal complexity that makes it a bit of a struggle on the big screen.

    At almost three hours long, it's a slog on the big screen, though there are definitely more positives than negatives. The spectacle of…

  • Dream Scenario

    Dream Scenario


    I'm not usually a Nicolas Cage guy. I find the memeification of his more over-cranked performances to be completely exhausting. He's better when he's quieter and more thoughtful, allowing his weirdness to shine through.

    Perhaps that's why I loved Dream Scenario so much. Cage is ostensibly playing an ordinary, dull bloke, but there's something beneath the surface even before he's pulled into celebrity. He has an entitlement and a weird aggression somewhere, brilliantly teased out by Cage's carefully modulated performance.…

  • The Killer

    The Killer


    If this had been made in the 90s or 2000s, it would have had an absolute stranglehold on the bedroom walls of pretentious male uni students. I found it a proper snooze, like someone doing Fincher karaoke while re-reading Catcher in the Rye for the hundredth time.

    No amount of Fincher's over-flowing sense of style can overcome the emptiness and tedium of the thing, not to mention the constant onslaught of The Smiths. I don't mind an unlikeable protagonist, but…

  • The Marvels

    The Marvels


    Joyous superhero silliness from start to finish.

    After years of being bogged down in the endless continuity, bloated storytelling, and nonsense cameos of the multiverse era, it was so nice to experience something that put fun as its first priority.

    Nia DaCosta played a blinder with the team dynamic and the body-switching gives us some of the most imaginative MCU action in years. The fight scenes are just punch-the-air brilliant and there's a musical number to boot, which is very…

  • Captain Marvel

    Captain Marvel


    I do think a lot of the shine came off this on my first rewatch since the cinema. It's very different in the cold light of day than when it came out in the heart of Marvel's hottest period.

    But with that said, it's still a fair amount of fun and Brie Larson is luminous in the lead role. All of the stuff with the Skrulls was a very bold way of doing things that still stands up and the spectacle works nicely as well.

    It slots into a pretty standard groove for first movies in Marvel's mini franchises.

  • The Royal Hotel

    The Royal Hotel


    Much like Kitty Green's previous movie, The Assistant, this is a broiling portrait of how toxic male aggression bubbles and infects the world around it. And much like The Assistant, Julia Garner gives a brilliantly taciturn performance as a woman caught in the maelstrom of that violence,

    Unlike The Assistant, though, all of that tension and incisive social commentary is squandered in a disappointing finale. It felt a bit like a "will this do?" after two hours of quietly ratcheting…