• Elvis

    Elvis

    ★★★

    A fine effort with this material, even coming after Walk Hard, which essentially rendered music biopics obsolete. Butler is sensational though. It feels like he sold his soul or vanquished some inner demons.

  • Cha Cha Real Smooth

    Cha Cha Real Smooth

    ★★½

    After Cooper Raiff struck Sundance gold with Shithouse, his sophomoric feature results in a slight dud. It's a situation where my starting level of interest can't clutch on to strong enough aspects, so I'm stuck following a narrative with a trajectory that's easier to predict than a maze on a children's placemat. Something just irks me about Raiff directing this AND inserting himself as the awkward but charming lead that everyone radiates off of. His filmmaking tendencies are not a complete lost cause with me as I'm somewhat interested to see what he does next, but I'm not particularly holding my breath.

  • Heavenly Creatures

    Heavenly Creatures

    ★★★½

    Immensely mesmerizing from the start and sustains it too. Just an extremely well-realized coming-of-age film. The joys and pangs of childhood are felt deeply throughout. The spontaneity of the direction and camerawork ignite every second. There are stretches that dip in and out of familiar territory, but it's the stunning presence of both Lynskey and Winslet that really makes this soar.

  • The Name of the Rose

    The Name of the Rose

    ★★★½

    The thing that impressed me the most about this was the location work. All of the interiors and exteriors feel authentic and perfectly lit. Whether it's dense fog over the abbey or vacant nighttime areas, there was always an interesting image on-screen. Connery and Slater are perfectly competent for a story like this, as well as the prominent supporting players. Christian holds the same expression for the whole thing, but that can be forgiven because of his character and the overall situation. The mystery thins out over time, which caused some interest to drain, but it ends strongly.

  • Psycho

    Psycho

    ★½

    Not as fascinating of an experiment as I wanted it to be. It really just made me wish I was watching the Hitchcock version instead. There are also a couple of unwelcome additions while other classic details, ones I love, are unfortunately omitted (notably the eerie silence from the car sinking scene, which is tarnished here by a cookie-cutter default track). The shower scene is butchered by laughable cutaways to surging storm clouds and a combination of awkward staging and editing. Vaughn is a complete miscast. We could've had Andrew Garfield as Bates if Gus just waited ten years.

  • Pom Poko

    Pom Poko

    ★★★

    Another folklore-filled film from Ghibli. Since I have hardly any knowledge of the stories and images of Japan's past, it can be difficult at times to wrap my head around what I'm seeing, which ultimately creates a disconnect. I admired the heavy focus on the environmental aspects, even though all of their films seem to circle right back to that as a key theme. A slight miss from the studio is still rewarding in some way.

  • Benediction

    Benediction

    ★★★

    Davies' weakest by a country mile. Feels a lot more commercial than his previous works and also harbors some odd editing choices. There are glimpses of his style here and there: slow dollies, dissolves, and aching musical sequences. It of course looks great and is held together by commendable performances, but by the end, after all this time going around in glacial circles, the resonance fades away. Not a useless endeavor at all though. This should be told.

  • Speed 2: Cruise Control

    Speed 2: Cruise Control

    ★★

    Solid on a technical level, but weak in pretty much every other element. It does give us some all-timer Dafoe moments and a laugh that definitely got him the Green Goblin gig, so not a total loss.

  • Crimes of the Future

    Crimes of the Future

    ★★★

    The horny, grotesque Cronenberg trademarks are scattered throughout. I just wished it culminated into something a little more.

  • Real Steel

    Real Steel

    ★★½

    One of those movies you saw the trailer for when you were younger and thought was going to be super dope, and then 10+ years go by and you finally watch it. The definition of mid.

  • Top Gun: Maverick

    Top Gun: Maverick

    ★★★★

    A gleeful love letter to chasing your passion and finding your true inner self through the uncontrollable ways of life. The first blockbuster in a long time to capture a deep pathos within the daunting, fulfilling nature of keeping the path alive as descendants. All of the new ensemble pieces work with a strong formidability and the aerial photography is astonishing. Well-oiled in all the angles of production and welcoming to any and every moviegoer.

  • The World's Fastest Indian

    The World's Fastest Indian

    ★★½

    No wonder I forgot this when I was a kid. An extremely formulaic, forgettable fish-out-of-water tale with inspirational sports film tendencies. There's a really bad score played over all the lighthearted moments that sounds like a default ringtone. Anthony Hopkins is always good and entertaining to watch on screen, but even here, the performance is strained with certain clichés. It does have some much-needed thrills that take place on the salt flats. In the long run, this just doesn't have enough fuel for anything meaningful.