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matt has written 1,219 reviews for films rated ★★★ .

  • Ip Man 4: The Finale

    Ip Man 4: The Finale

    ★★★

    Nice to see Woo-ping come back to some street fighting as opposed to wirework (not that I'd ever complain about the wirework). Adkins is a really terrific racist gweilo bad guy even if I think it's weird that there's apparently no military discipline whatsoever in this movie's Marines (his righteous Wing Chun-practicing victim/subordinate never even bothers to call his antagonizing DI "Sir"). The whole thing is revisionist Chinese propaganda of course, which makes it doubly funny to me that it's…

  • Destination Tokyo

    Destination Tokyo

    ★★★

    Counterpart of sorts to THIRTY SECONDS OVER TOKYO, with this being the submarine side of the mission, assisting the Doolittle raid. Much more of a hangout film set on a sub broken up by brief episodes of tension. Reminded me a lot of CRIMSON TIDE, honestly. Also like THIRTY SECONDS, this has a ton of terrific miniature and rear-screen VFX. Never thought I'd hear Cary Grant say "Jap" so much, so that might be a problem for you.

  • Circle of Power

    Circle of Power

    ★★★

    Pretty wild and also completely stupid take on EST as a horror movie, corporate hegemony gone awry. The best part of this very tangibly absurd film that begs to be read as prescient is when the two Black porters at this alleged self-help retreat sit back on the roof of the hotel, crack a couple of tall boys, and watch these rich white folks willingly, even eagerly engaging in their own physical and psychological torture, and remark: "These motherfuckers is crazy." A lot of fun.

  • Station Six-Sahara

    Station Six-Sahara

    ★★★

    Sort of like THE WAGES OF FEAR except nobody goes anywhere and instead of nitro it's a sexy lady.

  • Mercury Rising

    Mercury Rising

    ★★★

  • Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

    Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

    ★★★

    Obviously this isn't as alchemical as the others and certainly contains its fair share of cringes, but it's also packed with top-tier Spielberg action sequences (especially in the terrific first half) and wild, indelible images like Indy in front of the mushroom cloud or the guy getting consumed by giant killer ants (cool!). All that makes the final 30 minutes a real bummer, particularly the scowling aliens in their dipshit CGI whirlpool of knowledge, a sequence that structurally mirrors the…

  • Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)

    Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)

    ★★★

    Intermittently very clever and frequently very funny, punctuated with a lot of sturdy action choreography and sharp editing (courtesy Chad Stahelski, I'm led to believe). The flashback structure kills a ton of momentum though, and this meanders a lot until the characters finally team up (it helps that all of the actresses are a lot of fun to watch). Personally I'd have liked it if Harley Quinn seemed a bit more vicious and scary, but that's not the movie they're selling here. MVP Ewan McKraken.

  • Blue Chips

    Blue Chips

    ★★★

    This never really reaches peak levels of intensity; I'm not sure you ever really feel Nolte's deep, consuming compulsion to win, and the young players, as good as they are for non-actors, are mostly narrative pawns. But the insight into how the college basketball industry exploits players and reinforces class and racial barriers is pretty dead-on, and Friedkin is just about the perfect choice to make a movie about an insufferable prick who manufactures his own crisis of conscience.

  • Marooned

    Marooned

    ★★★

    Possibly one of the most astonishingly unexciting outer space movies ever made, which somehow sort of works in its favor. For the most part less focused on tech and suspense than on being a dry, bureaucratic procedural, a film where "working the problem" just means a lot of guys sitting around drinking stale coffee and building mountains of cigarette butts. It's a weird, even alienating choice, especially coming from Sturges, but honestly I'm into it for its sheer lugubriousness. Oh,…

  • Black and Blue

    Black and Blue

    ★★★

    Is a story about the good apple what's important right now? Not sure, so I'll leave that to you. A trio of terrific performances make this sing when it has to, though, and you could do a lot worse than a reverse TRAINING DAY that suggests that there's still some good to be done behind a badge.

  • Midway

    Midway

    ★★★

    I prefer the Johnny-Goes-To-War movie as Banana Republic commercial teenage melodrama that was PEARL HARBOR, but it's hard to deny that this stretches out that movie's incredible War-is-Rad attack sequence into an entire movie.

  • Lakeview Terrace

    Lakeview Terrace

    ★★★

    A more effective dipshit provocation than, say, JOKER, and fueled by an even more electric performance. Simultaneously clueless and insightful, thrilling and bafflingly stupid. Discussed on Episode 27 of The Suspense is Killing Us.