• On the Rocks

    On the Rocks

    What a dull, humourless, and pointless slog that even manages to make Bill Murray seem moribund.  If this is one of the better movies of 2020, this year can really go to hell.

  • Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

    Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

    ★★★★

    The perfect counter-programming double feature for last night's presidential debate, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm mostly hit the mark for me. If anything, minus the surprise of the new, the film works better than Baron Cohen's prior films, because more work went into creating an almost seamless narrative that would have been completely upended by the COVID-19 pandemic that hit in the middle of shooting. That they not only succeed in this but build the entire thing around a pretty good "twist" ending gives the film a Dr. Strangelove-esque comedic genius.

  • Hubie Halloween

    Hubie Halloween

    ★★

    Sadler might be one of the last few Republicans left in Hollywood, but he seems to embrace a socialist  welfare state of filmmaking, his films providing an endless parade of opportunities for largely unemployable friends. The results are as blissfully unambitious and simple-minded as his protagonists.

  • The Witch Who Came from the Sea

    The Witch Who Came from the Sea

    ★★★½

    A beautiful example of how 70s exploitation cinema opened a space for more personal and experimental cinema and for thematics that would otherwise find no home. Just take the fact that this film ended up on the infamous video nasties list when most of its violence is evocative and quite tame with barely any effects team to add to the liberal splashes of what looks like kids' washable red crayola paint. This shows that the film's taboo transgression was not…

  • The Trial of the Chicago 7

    The Trial of the Chicago 7

    ★★★★½

    This is ensemble prestige filmmaking at its finest that fits the current moment in ways that Sorkin could not have fully anticipated when making it. If I had any doubts about how far mainstream Hollywood filmmaking has come since hitting its 1980s nadir (and to highlight Sorkin's own development as a writer), I would compare this with the facile and self-important A Few Good Men that not only signposts and punctuates every scene with meaning but offers to chew every bite of meaning out of the viewer's mouth. Easily the best courtroom legal drama since, well, The Social Network.

  • Don't Look Now

    Don't Look Now

    ★★★★★

    A film that has haunted me since I saw it 25 years ago. How many films leave such indelible images? Watching it again, now a parent and a similar age to the protagonists, the film is even more devastating. The film's emotional narrative core - a couple that cannot get over the accidental death of their daughter - hits much heavier. For a film that is so deeply metaphysical, its rejection of the supernatural is all the more striking. It's perfectly structured as a haunted ghost story but whose ghosts are mostly metaphorical. Its horrors are all the real and everyday banal horrors of this world.

  • Enola Holmes

    Enola Holmes

    ★★

    Cloying YA adaptation that doesn't grasp a Holmes story has to be structured around an engaging whodunit. But this was clearly not made for me.

  • The Year of Living Dangerously

    The Year of Living Dangerously

    ★★★★

    Rewatching The Year of Living Dangerously decades after seeing it as a teenager made me want to think through Weir's diverse filmography to try to grasp common themes. For sure, there's the alienated outsider against a larger system who cannot and does not fully grasp the menacing forces around them. The Weir protagonist generally starts off a well-meaning innocent who becomes increasingly paranoid or corrupted as the film's narrative progresses. Weir's aesthetic is often distanced and cool, remaining aloof to the…

  • Richard Jewell

    Richard Jewell

    ★★★★

    Eastwood's direction has never been more pointed or to the point. Sharp and economical storytelling with hardly a wasted moment. And whatever can be said about the film's politics, the basic point about how people of all political stripes rush to judgement based on limited facts marks our reality. Plus there's enough criticism about law enforcement incompetence and the perils of cult-like police worship to go around.

  • RBG

    RBG

    ★★★

    As a force of nature, Ginsberg’s gravitas transcends this bland talking heads hagiography. And sometimes you need hagiographies.

    RIP RBG
    And with a new Trump appointed Supreme Court Justice RIP America.

  • Greta

    Greta

    ★★★½

    Like a filmed version of a Roald Dahl short story, Greta is mean-spirited fun, surprisingly tense, and anchored by Isabelle Huppert's beautifully unhinged performance. While we've seen her on the edge before, she really chews into this performance. With its fairy tale, Grimms Brother logic, it feels like Jordan's return to The Company of Wolves.

  • McCabe & Mrs. Miller

    McCabe & Mrs. Miller

    ★★★★★

    There are few characters in cinema that I relate to more closely with than the ultimate Robert Altman protagonist/anti-hero, John "Pudgy" McCabe, the man who may or may not have killed Bill Roundtree. Altman, in revisionist anti-Western mode, leaves this ambiguous, if not doubtful. Beatty plays perfectly against type, even if he's still a loveable rogue. Here, he's mumbling and bumbling, somewhat bashful but still full of bravado, and, most importantly, clearly not half as clever as he thinks he…