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  • Desierto

    Desierto 2015

    ★★★ Watched 22 Oct, 2016

    So here's a little blurb for your video box: Will do for border jumping what Psycho did for showers and Jaws did for going to the fucking beach...

    I don't know that the Cuaron family deliberately timed this thing to get an American theatrical release in late 2016, but it's either a reaction to the horror of a Trump campaign or a strangely potent and prescient thriller that contextualizes American hostility towards illegal immigrants in an effectively entertaining way.


  • Inferno

    Inferno 2016

    ★★★ Watched 13 Oct, 2016

    I'm not going to lie. I find Dan Brown's Robert Langdon airport books to be compulsively readable entertainments. I've read them all... So here we go.

    None of them are free of issues, and the problem I had with this one is that it was preachy as hell... It was 400 pages of preachy Sixth Extinction dire warnings and 300 pages of standard Bob Langdon globe-trotting, puzzle-solving nonsense... With a cute twist, thrown in and then capped off by a…

  • Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian

    Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian 2009

    ★★ Watched 12 Oct, 2016

    Change of location + contrived premise ... We have ourselves a standard comedy sequel.

    Far as that goes, I guess this one is kind of okay. I mean, it's basically isolated amusing bits and pieces in search of a whole, but it's okay.

    You get some genuinely fun stuff. There's an early bit with Jonah Hill that is exactly what you would expect out of a Jonah Hill cameo in a Ben Stiller movie... There's Amy Adams playing a spunky,…

  • Regression

    Regression 2015

    ★★★ Watched 11 Oct, 2016

    Alejandro Amenabar returns to the realm of thrillers after a hiatus with this potentially very schlocky material given classy and sophisticated treatment.

    It says "inspired by a true story" because this Minnesota based, 1990 set procedural draws its inspiration from America's Satanic Cult Paranoia of the 80s.

    So, although this specific case never happened, there were many reportedly like it. So let's let this one stand in for all of them, as Amenabar goes through a very personal agenda that…

  • American Ultra

    American Ultra 2015

    ★★★ Watched 11 Oct, 2016

    Once this gets going (and it takes a minute) there's definitely boundless energy. Almost too much energy, if I'm being honest. To the point that all the movie ultimately energy.

    But I guess that's what you get when Max Landis writes a cartoon video game underground comic book version of The Bourne Identity. You get a movie that's all vibe, wit and pizazz... But not much else.

    You get a movie that's just "in your face asshole!" enough to…

  • Heist

    Heist 2015

    ★★★ Watched 11 Oct, 2016

    Off the bat, I'll say this isn't the superior David Mamet film with Gene Hackman from back when Hackman still made movies.

    I don't know why they altered it, from the more intriguing "Bus 657" to the generic "Heist." But I guess they figured that generic title went well with the generic cover art of floating faces bathed in the classic cold blue hue of "This is a VOD action movie that will look great screaming at you from the…

  • Keanu

    Keanu 2016

    ★★★ Watched 10 Oct, 2016

    I happen to think Key and Peele was the best sketch comedy show since Monty Python's Flying Circus... 

    But you know that thing that sometimes happens with their skits? Where a really clever and funny premise eventually passes through a threshold into something that kind of isn't that funny anymore?

    Now imagine that skit was actually 100 minutes long and that happened several times.

    That's this movie.

    What that means is: This movie is often very funny. Very funny. Very…

  • Knock Knock

    Knock Knock 2015

    ★★★ Watched 06 Oct, 2016

    To his credit, Eli Roth likes to make movies that are about something. And so, this Hollywood-set home invasion thriller - actually shot in Santiago, Chile - is really no different, in that sense, than anything else he's done.

    Here's one way it's different, though... It's rather admirably restrained. Going for classical, deliberately paced and composed filmmaking (maybe a little too deliberate when you realize this 91-minute quickie seems to take 7 hours to actually get going) and eschewing the…

  • Green Room

    Green Room 2015

    ★★★★ Watched 24 Sep, 2016

    Jeremy Saulnier follows up the acclaimed Blue Ruin with a "thriller" in the more conventional sense... A punk rock Die Hard, if you will. 

    But he still shows the same concerns, and reveals himself as a careful filmmaker - very preoccupied with the nature and impact of violence...of why and how people may be driven to take a life...and how genuinely terrible it all really is.

    People will want to say this movie is politically charged to reflect specific conflicts…

  • Death Wish 5: The Face of Death

    Death Wish 5: The Face of Death 1994

    ★★ Watched 24 Sep, 2016 1

    There's definitely brutality to spare in the final entry of this series. If that's what you're looking for, here you go...

    Even if Chuck Bronson is not quite as spry in 1994 as he was in the 70s and 80s, he still basically gets the job done.

    And, once again, getting the job done entails killing a bunch of bad guys in tremendously violent ways.

    Basically, this is a fun movie to watch if you're an established fan of the…

  • Don't Breathe

    Don't Breathe 2016

    ★★★ Watched 18 Sep, 2016

    And sometimes, a movie kind of has you against the ropes a little bit. Where you have no choice but to give it a begrudging series of compliments... To commend the work done by the filmmakers and cast in producing the piece of entertainment they wanted to produce... Even if you honestly didn't like it very much.

    I guess Don't Breathe is that kind of film. There is no doubt in my mind that it is a skillfully made thriller.…

  • Flash Gordon

    Flash Gordon 1980

    ★★★★ Rewatched 15 Sep, 2016

    And so, when Dino De Laurentiis saw what had become of Star Wars (a Flash Gordon pastiche) and Superman (a live action valentine to classic comic strips), he realized he wanted to play that game too.

    And, well, since he couldn't do two movies...he figured he'd make one movie be the combination of both.

    And so we have Flash Gordon... A delightful, campy pulp romp from 1980 that is - you know what? - better than Star Wars.

    Yes. I…