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  • Godzilla vs. Kong

    Godzilla vs. Kong

    ★★★

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

    After the stultifying if occasionally awesome GODZILLA (14), the fun KONG: SKULL ISLAND (17), and the mostly Godawful GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS (19) this is a fun ending (or maybe end of a first phase?) to the Monsterverse. Other than a plot strand or two from its predecessors it junks a lot of the prior mythology (why did KONG take place during the Vietnam War? What happened to all the rampaging Titans at the end of MONSTERS?) to bring…

  • The Empty Man

    The Empty Man

    ★★★★

    Whoa.

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  • A Pain in the Ass

    A Pain in the Ass

    ★★★

    One of Francis Veber's biggest comedy hits remains good fun, with Lino Ventura as a taciturn hit man whose latest job is constantly interrupted by Jacques Brel's suicidal shirt salesman, one of many dopey characters named Pignon to spring from his pen. Ventura plays his part about a quarter-turn funnier than his usual gunmen and the singer-songwriter Brel, not a natural comedian, uses his discomfort to his advantage; the two longtime friends manage to harmonize as Veber maintains his usual…

  • Godzilla vs. Hedorah

    Godzilla vs. Hedorah

    ★★

    With a Godzilla-loving boy as a central focus and its anti-pollution angle this could have been a sequel of sorts to ALL MONSTERS ATTACK!/GODZILLA'S REVENGE, and it's interesting to think what Inoshiro Honda might have made of it. But instead we have the weirdest of all entries, one that quickly fell into the Medveds' "Fifty Worst Films" book and only recently emerged from complete infamy (the next three, even more raggedy and poverty-stricken, are objectively worse, until the modest rally…

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  • Saint Jack

    Saint Jack

    ★★★★★

    A cable favorite in my teens, finally available in a good quality DVD, anamorphically enhanced at last. (Why no Blu-ray?) Its frank, febrile atmosphere is one of those things that got me to Asia, though Singapore was a disappointingly authoritarian place by the time I got there. There's nothing disappointing about the film, though, Bogdanovich's return to movies after a string of flops, a Paul Theroux adaptation made with a dummy script to fool the authorities into thinking it was…

  • The Cloverfield Paradox

    The Cloverfield Paradox

    Brilliantly marketed, but the brilliance stops there. This is a would-be theatrical release from cash-strapped Paramout sloughed off to Netflix, reducing its marketing costs to zero and skirting terrible reviews...for a couple of hours anyway. A confused and uninspired rehash of a number of movies (EVENT HORIZON, GRAVITY, LIFE), it reconnects most strongly with its source (and, for those with longer memories, Paramount's PROPHECY, 1979) in an absolute groaner of an ending, which would have had theater audiences heaving with laughter. Refuse for your queue.