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  • The Crazies

    The Crazies

    ★★★½

    Still a good flick, but I’ve knocked it down half a star from my previous rating.

  • Frantic

    Frantic

    ★★★★½

    My favorite non-Star Wars non-Indy Harrison Ford movie (although The Fugitive is a close second), Frantic excels on many levels.

    One aspect in particular I love is the slow ratchet up of tension in the first 15 minutes or so. The movie starts *boring*. It's a jet-lagged Ford and his wife in a cab ride from the airport where they get a flat tire. You get a sense this may be the 'adventure' of their trip as they are in…

  • The Big Combo

    The Big Combo

    ★★★

    Fairly forgettable noir, centering on a police detective’s obsession with taking down the criminal “Mr. Brown”, and his obsession with Brown’s girlfriend. Nothing particularly memorable save for Richard Conte’s turn as Brown; he’s smart, supremely confident, cultured, yet has a menacing air. The rest of the cast nor the story fair as well though. Decent if you’re in the mood for a classic detective drama, otherwise unless you’ve already scene all the greats there are better out there.

  • Secret Agent

    Secret Agent

    ★★★½

    Early Hitchcock, that like The 39 Steps is ahead of its time in film structure and beats, but still not quite in the normal Hitchcock template he would come to be known for.

    Here, pre-Sir John Gielgud and Madeleine Carroll (a striking blonde actress that aligns with Hitch's later casting choices perfectly) are British spies in WWI who are trying to identify and stop an enemy agent. They know only that he is in a certain hotel in Switzerland and…

  • The Mind's Eye

    The Mind's Eye

    ★★½

    It's hard to criticize a low-budget B-grade horror for having bad acting and, well, a low-budget, but those are two of the main knocks against The Mind's Eye. The film, set in the early 1990s, is an update / homage to Scanners, with telekentically-powered characters oppressed by an organization that is intent on harnessing their power.

    The acting, dialogue, and character motivations are all terrible, the production values cheap (exception noted below), and the general production design bargain-basement. All the…

  • The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

    The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

    ★★★½

    A deliberately paced Cold War thriller, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold satisfies in delving into the minutiae of a double-agent operation while missing out on the tension the situation should deliver. The movie centers on a British spy master Alex Leamas (Richard Burton) whose agents in East Germany are compromised and killed by an East German officer named Mundt. Leamas' commander hatches a plot to get him to seemingly defect to the East, and incriminate Mundt as…

  • White Lightning

    White Lightning

    ★★★

    Gritty, sweaty, Southern setting and cinematography, and a young Burt Reynolds’ charm offset the dated pace of this slow-burner revenge(?) drama.

  • The Platform

    The Platform

    ★★

    While it succeeds in sledgehammering its message home, The Platform offers little in the way of likable characters, satisfying plot beats, or subtlety. What it does offer are characters who whisper or murmur for roughly half the movie, plenty of gross-out close-ups of slobbering food consumption, and an unsatisfying conclusion.

    The concept and production design are cool, and there's a small modicum of momentum in the last 20 minutes, however these can't save the movie from being a disappointment. A…

  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi

    Star Wars: The Last Jedi

    ★★★★

    Liked quite a bit better on this watch than the first two times I saw in the theater, where I had bergudgingly given it a 3.5. Now it is a solid 4, leaning to a 4.5.

  • The Wax Mask

    The Wax Mask

    ★★★½

    Some great gore, excellent use of color and cinematography, and beautful location shooting in Italy elevate the Wax Mask above similar low-budget horror. Lots of inventive and gruesome kills, gratuitous nudity, and just general weird plot points throughout keep things brisk and moving. There's also a weird switch into the original Terminator at the end which adds to the enjoyable mayhem.

  • Terminator: Dark Fate

    Terminator: Dark Fate

    ★★★½

    It seems many major action flicks have a great first act, and struggle in acts two and three. Terminator: Dark Fate is no exception. 20 minutes in I was thinking "Wow! Way better than the buzz! Can't wait to see where this goes.." Unfortunately things can't hold up, and even a game Linda Hamilton and an unexpectedly funny Arnie can't keep the momentum going. That's not to say the movie gets actively bad, just *serviceable*, and the 4-4.5 star opening 20 minutes balances out the 3-star-rest-of-movie into a still-recommended 3.5/5.

  • Knives Out

    Knives Out

    ★★★★

    I had high hopes going into Knives Out and was not disappointed. A smart, comedic whodunit with excellent turns by pretty much everyone in the cast, the film takes a well-mined premise and adds excellent new wrinkles by clever use of flashback and by revealing key pieces of information at key times.

    Daniel Craig is a highlight here, and it's excellent news about the announced sequel focusing on him. The lead actress, Ana de Armas as Marta unexpectedly anchored the…