• Luca

    Luca

    ★★★★

    Silencio Bruno!

  • Boyhood

    Boyhood

    ★★★★½

    a dusty war on TV
    Halo 2 splitscreen on a lazy Saturday afternoon
    gooey s'mores over campfire

    In Linklater's films time dilates. A dew-kissed lawn on a late summer night seems to stretch on forever. Moments become totemic. Where in Dazed and Confused, he captures the hope, angst, awkwardness, and confusion of high school, Boyhood aims higher and wider. A massive project spanning real time, it's profound in its mundanity and mundane in its profundity. Very few of its individual…

  • The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It

    The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It

    ★★½

    All them witches

    James Wan's steady hand as director of both of the first two Conjuring pictures led to two excellent, if safe, horror films. Both focused on family as much as frights much to their success. They were largely old-school spooktaculars in the vein of Friedkin's devilish classic; keep the film focused on characters, then scare the snot out of them. Inventive camerawork and touching character arcs were the keys to those films' winning formula.

    The Devil Made Me…

  • The Woman in the Window

    The Woman in the Window

    ★★½

    The most turgid, rote script elevated by throwing oodles of Netflix money at it along with a spectacular cast acting circles around the dialogue in every scene.

    This movie is bad, but the best kind of bad. Thoroughly watchable, but totally vacuous.

    In other words: I hate it, but I love it.

  • Doppelganger

    Doppelganger

    ★★★½

    A lurid combination of vague, hypnotic L.A. dreamscape in Mulholland Drive and the gelatinous body horror of Cronenberg. The performances are a bit amateurish and Writer-Director Avi Nesher fails to do much that's interesting with the roughness of the performances. But, I loved it all the same. Flawed and sloppy, but most certainly a good time.

  • Beast Beast

    Beast Beast

    ★★★

    So much of Beast Beast works in the moment. A budding romance. The pent-up frustration curdled by boredom of a depressed and anxious armed twenty-something. The climactic tragedy which seems both an inevitability and, yet, a totally avoidable outcome in a culture less obsessed with the danger of outsiders and more prone to restraint.

    But, I find myself, in the end, bewildered by how shallow this examination of modern teenage American life is. There is little to no exploration of…

  • Shiva Baby

    Shiva Baby

    ★★★★

    You look like Gwenyth Paltrow on food stamps.

  • Sound of Violence

    Sound of Violence

    If there is one thing Noyer does right, it is find inventive and sublimely ludicrous ways to kill Alexis’s victims. There is a spectacular torture device, early on, hooked up to Alexis’s mix table which editors Vertti Virkajärvi and Hannu Aukia expertly cut between, effortlessly obscuring the nastiest bits of violence only to highlight Alexis’s euphoric, artistic trance. It is an absurd sequence, only outdone by the escalation of later kills, but it sets the tone and tempo for the…

  • Watchmen

    Watchmen

    ★★★★½

    Tonight a comedian died in New York.

    Snyder's apocalyptic vision of Gods and men. Well, one of them anyway.

    Here, I think he is at his most refined. He is slavish to the images and words of Moore's monumental work. This is Snyder's general M.O. But, it works, here, on two levels. One, Dave Gibbons original images are superb, full of grit, both grotesque and gorgeous. To reproduce them in cinematic form is to produce great images, now filtered through…

  • Sound of Violence

    Sound of Violence

    ★★★½

    The award for one of the most gruesome horror movie kills – three of the most gruesome horror movie kills – in recent memory goes to writer-director Alex Noyer’s delightfully inventive picture Sound of Violence. It stars Jasmin Savoy Brown as Alexis Reeves (Jasmin Savoy Brown), a young teacher’s assistant with a passion for music and a tragic past. Deaf from a young age, at 10, her father (Wes McGee) brutally killed her mother (Dana L. Wilson) before Alexis retaliated,…

  • Minari

    Minari

    ★★★★

    It's water from the mountains. Dad says it's good for your health.

    By turn both utterly heart-breaking and beautifully heart-warming. One of my favorites of 2020.

  • Silent Hill

    Silent Hill

    ★★★★

    Love is a burnin' thing,
    And it makes a fiery ring
    Bound by wild desire
    I fell into a ring of fire.

    Christoph Ganz's 2006 hybridization of Team Silent's masterful three entries into the eponymous series is a picture that apes both the series trademark aesthetic preoccupations as well as its evolving approach to storytelling, symbolism, and horror.

    Their first, 1999 game was the spare, surrealist cousin to Capcom's smash success, Resident Evil - whose first entry (still my favorite…