• Uncle Sam

    Uncle Sam

    ★★

    A crusty horror film that finds a patriotic madman from beyond-the-grave wreaking havoc on small town USA, "Uncle Sam" never lets its freak flag fly. The elements are there: kills, kids, serviceable effects; but the work is too stale for its own good. A subpar experience is what results.

  • Wicked

    Wicked

    ★★★

    Slightly depraved and mildly unhinged, Michael Steinberg's "Wicked" is a solid, pastel-colored thriller. Surrounding a family reeling from a murder, the film is a suburban slice of life that finds its characters at breaking down in strange. The story and characters click, and the tone is light enough that the seediness of the goings on is never oppressive. This is an engagingly perverse piece of work.

  • 3 Demons

    3 Demons

    ★★

    Though it shows promise, "3 Demons" is a horror film needing narrative and filmmaking refinements in order to make something of its limited resources. The story deals with a deputy, a body, and nefarious forces and unfolds at measured-enough pace to potentially be involving. That story, however, meanders in need of sharpness and is supported by a production whose seams show at every turn. The experience is not a complete loss, but it also nothing inspiring.

  • Luckiest Girl Alive

    Luckiest Girl Alive

    ★★★½

    "Luckiest Girl Alive," moving from a pithy gallows-humor look at a magazine writer who may be losing her mind to something far more difficult to stomach, works. Mila Kunis, the star, is layered, and the film raises hard questions and introduces horrifying plot points against a neatly-enough directed and sleekly-enough constructed backdrop. However, the drama has moments with a tone so deceiving that it both undercuts and insults its bleak, bleak narrative stretches and grimly serious subject matter. Thankfully, the strongest points of Mike Barker's film overpower the trite, the weak, and the incongruous moments.

  • White Noise

    White Noise

    ★★★½

    Noah Baumbach's "White Noise" has an energy that is completely engrossing. The film has a sly bounce and a kind-of suburban saunter generated by its stellar cast, color, and construction. What the film, about a family, dangerous events, and the march toward death, may not have is a conceit that is as inviting as that energy. Baumbach offers a quotes-for-emphasis "big metaphor" or "sharp satire," which, while fun and heavy, creates something impenetrable. The works keeps its audience at a distance but is still a worthy watch.

  • Your Christmas Or Mine?

    Your Christmas Or Mine?

    ★★★½

    Jim O'Hanlon's "Your Christmas or Mine?" hits the holiday rom-com spot. Warm and delightfully cast, big-hearted comedy find a couple ending up at each other's homes for Christmas but, most importantly to the shenanigans of the plot without each other. Hearts are uncovered and corks, eventually, are popped. The production glitters, and the film balances comedy of all station with grace, earnest goofiness, and fun. Played to Christmas classics, O'Hanlon's film might just earn yearly rewatches for those in the spirit.

  • Antlers

    Antlers

    ★★★

    Scott Cooper's "Antlers" offers enough dingy, sooty chills to land as an eye-catching and effective piece of horror. Revolving around a supernatural entity infecting a father and son, the story is built on native legend. Cooper plays the drama behind the horror quietly and focuses on character and community bits that make everything play out with heft and weight. The audience may wish that film included more of the very people its from whence its lore stems, but what Cooper provides is successful enough.

  • The Whale

    The Whale

    ★★★★½

    A film observing salvation, failed, misguided, or otherwise, Darren Aronofsky's "The Whale" finds a dying man attempting to ensure that he has made some kind of impact on the world before he leaves it. With drama both quiet and loud, Aronofsky allows his film about a derelict man in a derelict apartment and those with whom he interacts to unfold with dingy, decrepit intimacy. The film holds a lens to its characters and its audience, asking both to scrutinize their perspectives on health, love, and the reasons life is lived. It is layered and powerful work triumphantly delivered by all involved.

  • Scream

    Scream

    ★★★★

    Hitting the same sweet spots stabbed by the best entries in the series, "Scream" is a horror requel for the ages, or, at least, for 2022. Ghostface is back, bringing along with it gruesome kills, post-modern commentary, and bits of genuine, tone-safe comedy. The story works, the production is crisp, and there genuine affection for the material displayed by the cast. Directors, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett energize the series, construct enjoyable chills, and put forth a treat for horror fans.

  • Black Christmas

    Black Christmas

    ★★★

    Its politics so on-the-nose as to come off feeling like satire, Sophia Takal's "Black Christmas" still lands as a solid horror experience. There are satisfying kills and tense stretches as the story about stalked sorority members unwinds. Takal sells most of the work with skill, but the story becomes pocked by its overt statement making when a modicum of subtlety or wit would both do the cinematic trick and not rattle the film's tone. With suitable thrills and satisfying performances to be had, however, the genre outing makes its mark.

  • In the Shadow of the Moon

    In the Shadow of the Moon

    ★★½

    Flimsy cinema undercuts an intriguing science fiction story in "In the Shadow of the Moon." Revolving around a policeman obsessed with stopping a murderer, the film finds the detective seemingly chasing an ageless criminal into his own old age. The tale is potent, but the production lacks the heft and weight to pull off a win. Its narrative gives the enterprise strength, but the filmmaking reduces the experience to something only mediocre.

  • Mr. Harrigan's Phone

    Mr. Harrigan's Phone

    ★★★★

    John Lee Hancock's Stephen King adaptation, "Mr. Harrigan's Phone," is a thriller with a quiet, icy soul. Led by a rock solid Jaeden Martell, the film tells the story of a young man whose friendship with an older member of the community may have far-reaching consequences. The narrative is more a slow rolling study of relationships and small town remembrances than anything else and operates like a autumnal-toned piece of literature. Hancock constructs enveloping cinema that feels old-fashioned and allows his film to breathe and flow. The results never scream, but they do engross.