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  • It Follows

    It Follows 2014

    ★★★★ Watched 29 Mar, 2015

    I think it's safe to say that most 80s slasher classics are really just paranoia thrillers aimed at teenagers... With their none too subtle sexual subtext and the constant peril of early death being the driving force.

    I think the great value in this post modern variation on that formula is David Robert Mitchell very astutely puts that subtext at the forefront, and builds an effective and propulsive narrative around an idea that is pure subtext. There is no "text,"…

  • Life Itself

    Life Itself 2014

    ★★★ Watched 23 Mar, 2015

    As expected... A heartfelt, two-hour tribute to Roger Ebert the critic, with a strong emphasis on Roger Ebert the person.

    Steve James' standard documentary treatment is not all that interesting cinematically... And the movie doesn't really go beyond the surface details.

    But it doesn't have to.

    Ebert is a writer who revealed himself through his work...the great bulk of which is available for you to dig in. And you should. What this documentary is, then, is a companion piece for…

  • Kingsman: The Secret Service

    Kingsman: The Secret Service 2015

    ★★★★ Watched 22 Mar, 2015

    At first, this movie is a little too fanciful... And almost insufferably smug. Then it actually gets clever. Then, it goes to some truly wacky places. By the time it ends, it's rather brilliant.

    I think they get that these spy movies are inherently ridiculous. And they want to make sure we get it too, hitting us over the head with that point a little too much. But Colin Firth really is perfectly cast in this. It's like he took…

  • Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie

    Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie 2012

    ★★★ Watched 21 Mar, 2015

    This is review-proof, basically.

    Because it is what it is. And you either know what this is and you like it; or you don't know/don't care/don't understand...etc.

    To call it a "good" movie is not entirely accurate. Because many people will be unable to see it as such. And to call it a "bad" movie is wrong too. Because it's a film that is 100% exactly what it's attempting to be.

    So the only thing you can call it is…

  • The Room

    The Room 2003

    Watched 20 Mar, 2015

    This legendarily bad movie is, in fact, pretty bad.

    But I think, more than anything else, it's fascinating. The process of watching it is somewhat of an intoxicating experience - and probably even better if you are intoxicated - as it is such a singular film in its bizarreness.

    There's a reason Tommy Wiseau hasn't made any more films. And that reason is he doesn't really seem to know how to make them.

    But it's also worth noting that he…

  • Deathtrap

    Deathtrap 1982

    ★★★★★ Rewatched 15 Mar, 2015 2

    It's a tricky thing to take what is, basically, a one set play and transform it into a cinematic experience.

    But maybe one reason this wonderful and underrated film works so well is Sidney Lumet doesn't even try. It's a movie that understands the magic of an intimate theatrical experience and consciously attempts to replicate that sensation for the screen.

    Part of that is the meta nature of the play itself. It's a twisty thriller predicated on the nature of…

  • The Guest

    The Guest 2014

    ★★★★ Watched 14 Mar, 2015

    What if John Carpenter had made First Blood?

    If you want the answer to that question, all you have to do is watch this film. Because Adam Wingard has sure done his homework, and grew up watching all the same kooky genre films we did.

    And so you have this splendid pastiche... Or throwback. Whatever you want to call it. With its careful pacing, electronic soundtrack, and generally apocalyptic ethos... It's like a terrific cult film from the eighties that…

  • Run All Night

    Run All Night 2015

    ★★★★ Watched 13 Mar, 2015

    Is it too early for Liam Neeson to have his "Unforgiven?" Because here it is.

    Intriguing, well acted, sophisticated... This is a surprisingly riveting film.

    As we know, Liam Neeson has carved out a nice late period niche for himself as an action star. With his yearly clockwork forays into the genre of bullets and mayhem, he's like the Woody Allen of the overwrought programmer.

    And that's fine. We knew that.

    What makes this particular movie stand out is its…

  • Ordinary People

    Ordinary People 1980

    ★★★★★ Rewatched 10 Mar, 2015

    It's a stupid title. Let's just get that out of the way. It's a stupid title that hasn't aged well. I mean maybe it was true once upon a time... What would a more appropriate title be? Middle American People? ... White People? ... Successful People?

    White Middle American People With Money; And Their White Problems.

    I guess that's not as catchy. Wouldn't really fit very snugly on the marquee at the RIVOLI or wherever the fuck this thing had…

  • Girl, Interrupted

    Girl, Interrupted 1999

    ★★★★ Watched 10 Mar, 2015 2

    Although James Mangold gives things a glossier, more workmanlike treatment than the gritty material might need, this is nonetheless very compelling stuff.

    It's an absorbing memoir, with a combative friendship as an axis, anchored by believable performances.

    The fact it's a nostalgic piece, looking back on the late sixties, gives things an interesting texture. And if you want the film to also serve as a comment on arcane mental health practices, it can be that too. Any other social comments…

  • Heathers

    Heathers 1988

    ★★★★ Rewatched 09 Mar, 2015

    In some ways, this is the ultimate 80s teen movie. Maybe because it's the one that closed the book, so to speak, on the genre.

    Released at the end of the decade, it was a deliberate thumbing of the nose to the idealized pop ethos both lampooned and romanticized by the John Hughes comedies that came before it.

    And so, Michael Lehman's cult classic stems from a place of cynical, apocalyptic nihilism. It embraces that world view. And, for about…

  • Unfinished Business

    Unfinished Business 2015

    ★★★ Watched 07 Mar, 2015

    Par for the course... It will depend on how much you enjoy Vince Vaughn's very particular company.

    Because, as usual, he is the fast talking wiseass Everyman straight man, placed in a series of uncomfortable scenarios and surrounded by dysfunctional characters to bounce off of.

    If you've seen one Vince Vaughn comedy, you've kind of seen them all. And, let's face it, some are better than others.

    But I personally like Vince Vaughn. I like him a great deal. And…