• Infernal Affairs

    Infernal Affairs

    ★★★½

    “He’s good but he does bad things. How does something like that end?”

    Much to my surprise, I am somewhat underwhelmed! Liked the blown out desaturated palette. Liked the Buddhist meditation on hell. Didn’t like the often ill-fitting music or the threadbare romance between Yan and his therapist. Leung and Lau are both perfectly cast,  yet I wonder if they’re utilized as well as they could be. I think the story would have benefited from spending more intimate time with both…

  • Spider-Man

    Spider-Man

    ★★★★

    Never noticed how similar this feels to the Burton Batman movies, and not just in terms of Elfman’s score. The rich saturation, the pseudo-60s styling, the caricaturist performances. Even in it’s time it felt intentionally retro and watching it again nowadays only compounds that.

  • Prey

    Prey

    ★★★

    “This is as far as you go. No more.”

    Despite being a Fox production, the bones of this kinda feel like “Disney’s Predator”. Here we have a young woman in a community with strict gender roles striving to cross over and prove herself. There’s even a cute animal companion! Neither the writing nor direction do much to elevate this beyond that familiar setup, which means when the Predator isn’t on screen, it can get kind of dull. 

    But when he does…

  • Predator

    Predator

    ★★★★

    “There’s something out there waiting for us. And it ain’t no man.”

    I like this movie a lot! It may drag a bit at the end but with Arnie being the star he was it makes sense they had to give him a full 20 minute showdown with the Predator—who, in many ways, is nature personified in this man vs. wild setup. That got me wondering how much this script was inspired by anecdotes and testimonials from Vietnam. Anna says…

  • Nope

    Nope

    ★★★★★

    Peele really should be the director on that Akira remake.

  • The Last Dragon

    The Last Dragon

    ★★★

    80s weeb cringe compilation.

  • Umma

    Umma

    ★★★

    Though helmed by different creatives, the recent wave of films by/about Asian Americans have been almost unilateral in their examination of how Asian Americans broker their identity with generational expectations. Umma is the latest in this ilk and the first to use horror as a framing device.

    Here, the terror is in becoming one’s parent—specifically when that parent was unable to heal from the wounds they sustained in their attempt to assimilate. The theme is intentional and cogent. Unfortunately the…

  • Nope

    Nope

    ★★★★★

    “What’s a bad miracle? They got a word for that?”

    How smart we thought we were, trying to anticipate what facet of sociopolitic Jordan Peele would tackle next. Cultural appropriation? Immigrant workers? NOPE. How lovely to be surprised! What Peele has to offer here is instead an ode to filmmaking; a thesis on its power as a medium and a litany of homages blending into a story that is still wholly unique in its delivery. Kaluuya and Yeun need a…

  • Lust, Caution

    Lust, Caution

    ★★★½

    “I always lose. Except when I play with you.”

    Since 2046 remains elusive online I’ve decided to pursue some of Tony Leung’s non-Kar Wai filmography, starting with Ang Lee’s Lust, Caution. He is every bit as dashing as you’d expect so his revelation as a cruel and unhinged man is disturbing but he doesn’t feel miscast. Instead, his preternatural empathy leaks through his eyes and frames a portrait of a horrifically broken man. 

    A director I have growing respect for,…

  • The Gray Man

    The Gray Man

    ★★½

    Perhaps spy thrillers can only go one of a few directions. The Gray Man falls into the popular “remorseless killer inexplicably gains a conscience” category. There’s little here in the way of plot surprises, so I at least hoped the action would satisfy. An early duel between ever-cool Ryan Gosling and Russo Bros. heavy Callan Mulvey sets a promising tone, but as the film quite literally hurtles through its runtime, too many of the remaining set pieces are either a collage…

  • Thor: Love and Thunder

    Thor: Love and Thunder

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    Fucking obnoxious and asinine. I could not believe how much this movie made me loathe Taika Waititi for putting all of these good to great actors in the impossible position of blowing raspberries for 98% of a scene, then flipping a sympathy switch for the last 2%. Even Christian Bale, who some swear is the saving grace, is in maybe five scenes? It is not at all enough and he feels even more disconnected from the plot of the film than…

  • Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

    Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

    ★★★

    “I suppose you two have had time to consider what you’re doing?”  
    “No, we’ve not.” 

    Terrifically written and shot, Tracy and Hepburn putting on an absolute masterclass both independently and in their shared moments, and Sidney’s eventual explosion is cathartic—but maybe aimed at the wrong person? And in fact I wonder who this movie was aimed at overall. It no doubt carried a heavy and table-shaking message in 1968, but John saying “I think of myself as a man”…