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  • Tremors 5: Bloodline

    Tremors 5: Bloodline 2015

    ★½ Watched 01 Oct, 2015

    I'm still slightly amazed this movie exists. For years, Tremors creators S.S. Wilson and Brent Maddock beat the drum for a fifth installment of their giant underground worms series...and now, 11 years after Tremors 4: The Legend Begins, Tremors 5: Bloodlines has arrived without the involvement of either Wilson or Maddock. Which is not to say the movie would have been better with their input; the original Tremors remains one of the most enjoyable horror comedies ever made, but if…

  • Phoenix

    Phoenix 2014

    ★★★★★ Rewatched 13 Sep, 2015

    The noir-ish psychodrama so nice I had to see it twice.

  • Phoenix

    Phoenix 2014

    ★★★★★ Watched 06 Sep, 2015 1

    Precise, riveting psychodrama set in post-WWII Germany. Nina Hoss is astounding as a woman both physically and emotionally disfigured, in denial after surviving a concentration camp and struggling to regain her sense of self. Director/co-writer Christian Petzold delves into survivor's guilt, Germany's inability to confront the Holocaust, and the lengths a person will go to in order to convince themselves that they can go home again. Builds and builds to a stunning conclusion; when the credits rolled, the audience exhaled, like a sigh of relief.

  • The End of the Tour

    The End of the Tour 2015

    ★★★★½ Watched 13 Sep, 2015

    In large part a two-hander between Jason Segel as Infinite Jest author David Foster Wallace and Jesse Eisenberg as Rolling Stone reporter David Lipsky, and more riveting than most movies I've seen this year. Lipsky, an unsuccessful Serious Writer who finds himself doing puff pieces on pop stars, wants the literary fame Wallace has achieved. Wallace doesn't particularly seem to want said fame, and moreover has a thing for pop stars. James Ponsoldt's The End of the Tour explores the…

  • Blue Velvet

    Blue Velvet 1986

    ★★★★★ Rewatched 13 Sep, 2015

    Only the second time I've seen David Lynch's masterpiece. As disturbing and inscrutable as when I was a teenager. "Lynch’s great skill has always been to imbue the fantastically banal with the fantastical taboo, to paint the home as a hostile place," writes Lauren Carroll Harris in an interesting piece on sex in Lynch's films. It's as good a description I've ever read of his unsettling appeal. Blue Velvet is a '50s melodrama cut open to reveal all manner of…

  • Results

    Results 2015

    ★★★ Watched 14 Sep, 2015

    Andrew Bujalski's Results is a sharp, more or less realistic take on the romantic comedy. It also, at only 105 minutes, feels far too long. After a very enjoyable first half, it becomes apparent that there's no real shape to the narrative, ostensible lead Kevin Corrigan eventually feeling like a third wheel to Cobie Smulders and Guy Pearce's bickering personal trainers. All three are great, though, and there's enough good material here to say the results (haha!) are commendable.

  • Bessie

    Bessie 2015

    ★★★½ Watched 15 Sep, 2015

    Not exactly what I would have wanted for director/co-writer Dee Rees following her great, underrated debut Pariah, but I can understand why she did it. Though Bessie follows the standard biopic formula beat by beat, it's rare that biopics are about black icons, let alone black women. Artists like blues legend Bessie Smith deserve to have a light shone on them, and they all deserve a performance as powerful and impassioned as Queen Latifah's. Thanks to Latifah, the film has a warmth and an energy it might otherwise have lacked. She single-handedly makes Bessie worth watching.

  • Black Mass

    Black Mass 2015

    ★★★½ Watched 19 Sep, 2015 2

    I'm the guy who both saw and enjoyed Kill the Irishman, if that tells you anything about my fondness for gangster movies. Black Mass isn't an entirely dissimilar film, in that it's about a cop and a crook with a close bond...and that it tears pages from the Scorsese playbook. Scott Cooper reminds me of what Tarantino's detractors (wrongly) say about him: he doesn't have a reference point beyond other movies. Everything he makes is like a third-generation copy of…

  • Queen of Earth

    Queen of Earth 2015

    ★★★★½ Watched 18 Sep, 2015 1

    A film of palpable, suffocating tension. Alex Ross Perry trains his cameras on these deeply unlikable people, pushes in, and refuses to look away. Elisabeth Moss has a psychotic break in slow motion, with Katherine Waterston and Patrick Fugit on hand to help push her along. Moss is narcissistic, vain, egotistical, selfish, and absolutely riveting to watch. I'd hardly bat an eye if someone called this a horror movie.

  • The Voices

    The Voices 2014

    ★★★ Watched 25 May, 2015

    What to make of this one? I know Marjane Satrapi as the writer and artist behind intimate, slice-of-life graphic novels like Persepolis, Chicken with Plums, and Embroideries, so to see her direct something like The Voices is a little unexpected. This is a black comedy about a man who believes his pets are talking to him, who is driven to murder out of necessity, all the while apologizing for stabbing his victims to death. At times, you get the feeling…

  • Top Five

    Top Five 2014

    ★★★½ Watched 25 May, 2015

    Like Roman Holiday by way of Louie, Chris Rock's directorial debut is an honest, down-and-dirty look at what goes on inside the mind of a man who is expected to be funny at all times. It's not pretty; when you're always on, you're always on. The movie also skewers those comedians who attempt to go legit, with Rock's character writing, directing, and starring in a po-faced vanity project about the Haitian revolution that fans of his idiotic Hammy the Bear

  • Jurassic Park III

    Jurassic Park III 2001

    ★★ Rewatched 29 May, 2015

    Jurassic Park III is better than The Lost World, though not by a huge margin. There's nothing as memorable as the two T. rexes attacking the trailer or the raptors in the tall grass, though there's also nothing as awful as the T. rex loose on the streets of San Diego. Basically, you can choose between Spielberg's visionary stumble or Joe Johnston's anonymous, workmanlike competence. The latter is at least more consistently watchable.