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  • Ruthless People

    Ruthless People

    ★★★½

    The final Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker collaboration was this garish 1986 vulgar-farce starring Danny DeVito and Bette Midler - alongside Helen Slater, Bill Pullman, Judge Reinhold and more.

    This one was a tough choice between three and three-and-a-half; as the film goes on, it definitely begins to wear out its welcome a little bit - full disclosure, this also may have been as a result of me having to pause a few times through the duration of my viewing, potentially making it seem…

  • Criminal Law

    Criminal Law

    ★★

    Criminal Law is a disappointing thriller that starts with a lot of potential; Gary Oldman stars as a lawyer who gets Kevin Bacon off a murder charge, only to realize that he isn't what he seems - resulting in a cat-and-mouse game when Oldman gets wrapped up in representing him a second time.

    After a great first-act (and a very attention-grabbing stylistic opening credits sequence) the film devolves into silliness and ultimately loses interest by spinning wheels for too long.…

  • Firstborn

    Firstborn

    ★★★★

    Michael Apted directs this well-observed familial drama featuring Teri Garr, Peter Weller, Christopher Collet, Corey Haim, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Robert Downey Jr.

    Apted unsurprisingly has a very soft touch for small and believable human moments in the early-goings of Firstborn, focusing on the emotional turmoil bubbling just under the surface for Garr's divorced mother trying to be as good as mother as she can for Collet and Haim.

    The introduction of Weller's skeezy boyfriend character ratchets up the drama,…

  • Monster Trucks

    Monster Trucks

    ★★★

    This was firmly in two-point-five star territory for the entirety of its running time, until some practical ohh-ahh! crash-work in the entertaining finale pushed it into three-star territory.

    The absolute worst thing about Monster Trucks is Lucas Till; it's not that he's aggressively awful as an actor, it's just that what this movie desperately needed was a lead character who has charm and wit, even in scenes where nothing charming or funny is going on. The kind of actor who…

  • Malice

    Malice

    ★★★

    The exact kind of tawdry, pulpy 90s thriller that I was in the mood for last night; Baldwin of course is great with the Aaron Sorkin zingers as the plot moves from over-cooked turn to over-cooked turn.

    The kind of thriller that ends with just the right kind of dramatic irony that, even though silly as hell, feels satisfying regardless.

  • No Place To Hide

    No Place To Hide

    Oof.

    I rented this for $3.99 on Google Play because I recognized the cover art from somewhere and assumed that was cause enough to check it out; about 10 minutes into it, I regretted it.

    Not giving a star rating, since I only got about 30 minutes in, but I really wasn't in the mood - even with ridiculous-hair Kristofferson and an aggressively-bad performance by Berrymore.

  • The Young Americans

    The Young Americans

    ★★★

    Intriguing and mostly successful mix of British and American thriller filmmaking, starring Harvey Keitel as an American investigating a group of teenagers in London who have been organized into a gang by Viggo Mortensen.

    The film opens strongly, with a great hook and Keitel plays the ever-boiling investigator as well as you would expect (i.e. very well) but the film feels a pinch unfocused; Viggo and Keitel are said to be familiar foes from America, but their relationship never really…

  • Silence

    Silence

    ★★★

    "I got Silence’s meaning, but rarely felt its intended impact." - Matt Singer

    Compositionally brilliant at times, and thematically very interesting, but structurally repetitive (by design.)

    Personally, though the film inspired some very engaging and thought-provoking moments throughout, I felt like Scorcese has again doubled-down on repetition in a way that (oddly enough) makes sense for the story, and yet has dulled the impact on me as a viewer.

    I walked out with a lot to think on, but outside of some very striking elements, the film seems to fade while the thoughts it inspired remain.

  • Absence of Malice

    Absence of Malice

    ★★★

    Rock solid performances in an at times uneven mix of grounded drama and obtrusive romantics.

    The naturalistic elements of the drama take some time to gain hold, and just as it becomes most engrossing the "romantic" elements get in the way.

    Ultimately, the movie is unrealistic in the wrong ways; I just don't buy Newman and Field together in a non-platonic way.

    If anything, the movie could have benefited from less TV-movie-esque scoring and a bit more drive and energy…

  • Pom Poko

    Pom Poko

    ★★★★

    Feels episodic in nature, for better and for worse; my interest levels definitely started to drop nearing the 90 minute mark but I was sold on the finale and the doc-like narration.

    Way more oddly adorable racoon balls weilded as weapons than I expected, ha.

  • Ricochet

    Ricochet

    ★★★½

    Legitimately ridiculous action-excess - from a story by Fred Dekker! - featuring Denzel and Lithgow going tete-a-tete.

    They sure don't make villains like they used to; Lithgow is going at it hard here, and the movie cranks his evil ways up to wild levels, it's amazing.

    Takes a big turn in tone going into the second half, with Denzel playing drunk and unhinged.

    The while movie has a real mean streak with a lot of graphic squib moments, but it…

  • John Wick

    John Wick

    ★★★

    This feels almost like someone took a really terrible script and punched it up; the best things about John Wick aren't the action scenes - sorry, they're good but we get it, he can hop over people and shoot them in the head and/or stab them - but instead the small, comedic world-building.

    The way that the film elbows the cops out of the picture ("I'll leave you to it.") to the hotel exclusively run for assassins and the cleaner-crew…