Charles has written 11 reviews for films rated ★★ .

  • Vox Lux

    Vox Lux

    ★★

    A year later, I’m still not sure what Vox Luz was trying to say but it said it loudly.

  • The Nun

    The Nun

    ★★

    Some lovely visual moments (a splash of pink behind a headless crucifix), and a stray evocation of Fulci in the cemetery, but it’s just all kind of... there? It’s not serious enough to evoke dread or gonzo enough to keep me entertained. 

    (Also: Valak, a shapeshifting demon with seemingly no personality, aims, or desires is deeply boring.)

  • It Chapter Two

    It Chapter Two

    ★★

    Oddly... tedious? Imagine a game where they’re constantly tutorializing/explaining precisely WHAT is happening up until the last minute. 

    “Scary psychic clown that eats your fear” was more than enough to build a film on. Trying to translate some of the more digressive cosmic ideas from the novel (with magical Native nonsense thrown in for flavor) made the whole film feel like it was searching for SOMETHING to differentiate itself from the clarity of the first.

  • Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

    Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

    ★★

    You (new cinema) kids get off my lawn: the movie. 

    It’s the first time I’ve ever thought of Tarantino as an old man.

  • Searching

    Searching

    ★★

    It’s like an entire season’s worth of SVU episodes in under two hours.

  • Destination Wedding

    Destination Wedding

    ★★

    Let’s try to put aside the transphobic section during the wedding*, it squanders the charm and charisma of both its leads in a talky, faux-deep story of a pair of narcissists on the verge of like. 

    *Yes, I know they’re supposed to be two particularly awful people, but the glee of the movie in crapping on trans/non-binary folks comes out of nowhere and goes nowhere fast.

  • The Predator

    The Predator

    ★★

    Mean, misguided, and deeply boring. You can see the cutting room chaos on the screen as major characters' fates become indecipherable during messy, dark action scenes and we're expected to care about the fate of a Predator Dog (we don't).

    And that ending... what a sad and inconsequential attempt at a franchise re-starter.

  • The Happytime Murders

    The Happytime Murders

    ★★

    A dumb Who Framed Roger Rabbit, it commits the sins of wasting Maya Rudolph and giving Elizabeth Banks WHATEVER weird accent she was saddled with.

  • SuperFly

    SuperFly

    ★★

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

    For a character who talks so much about how knowledge is power, Priest sure doesn’t know what the hell is going on around him most of the time. 

    There’s some cop on black violence that recalls some recent police shootings which feels like it could’ve taken the movie somewhere, but as with everything Superfly ‘18, it’s all surface and no substance.

  • The Conjuring 2

    The Conjuring 2

    ★★

    An inversion of all the things that made the first one of the greats: loud and obnoxious where that movie could be quiet and deliberate; overstuffed and obsessed with creating hot new horror mascots. 

    Worst of all, it’s just dull, with no real escalation (it’s loud and terrible throughout), and at 2 hours and change, it’s a damned chore.

  • Upgrade

    Upgrade

    ★★

    There’s nothing here. Choppily-edited action scenes married to a plot reverse-engineered from a pair of double reveals that get dumber the longer you think about them. It’s a movie with bathtub deep, capital “I” ideas about automation, but is way more excited about the wet, red stuff. 

    At least the score is appropriately icy and ominous.