• Armageddon

    Armageddon

    ½

    "Boy, talk about the wrong stuff."

    25 years old and still the nadir of my cinematic journey.

    I have long hated Armageddon and everything it stands for. I not only think it's bad, I think it's ugly, offensive and insulting. I consider it the worst film I've ever seen... and before you ask, yes, I have seen movies that are more incompetently made, that are even less intelligent (as unbelievable as it may sound), that are louder/noisier, that are more…

  • Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

    Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

    ★★★

    I know I'm late to the party here, but I finally caught up with the fifth and final Indiana Jones movie. Managed to stay mostly ignorant of what happened in it so it was mostly a total surprise to me

    My verdict?

    Not bad.

    I enjoyed it well enough.

    As someone aptly put it, it's basically spending time with old friends. No, it doesn't touch the original three, but I think it is a better movie than Kingdom of the…

  • What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael

    What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael

    ★★★

    "In the arts, the critic is the only independent source of information. The rest is advertising."

    In my early teenage years, when I was still a budding cinephile with a hunger for knowledge about film, I spent a lot of time in the media section of my local public library searching for books on all different aspects of cinema (this was before the internet came along and made such information so readily available to everyone). There were two authors whose…

  • The Last Voyage of the Demeter

    The Last Voyage of the Demeter

    ★★★½

    Wasn't able to make it out to the movies yesterday for "National Cinema Day," but was able to catch a film today that I've been wanting to see ever since I first heard about it (and am very glad I did given that it's rapidly disappearing from screens due to critical negativity and audience disinterest): The Last Voyage of the Demeter, a dramatization of Dracula's passage ro London aboard he eponymous doomed ship. As somewhat of a Dracula nut (I…

  • Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

    Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

    ★★★½

    (Note: the following review was written in 2020)

    Last night, for the first time in about 15 years, I decided to rewatch the second Pirates of the Caribbean movie Dead Man's Chest, a film I did not dig nearly as much as I dug the first one when I saw it in the theater, and much to my surprise, I discovered that I rather liked it this time. Tonight I am finishing off the "trilogy" with At World's End and…

  • Alien³

    Alien³

    ★★★★

    BAPTISM BY FIRE: IN DEFENSE OF ALIEN³

    A recent discussion on the merits (or lack thereof) to the black sheep of the ALIEN franchise (David Fincher's Alien³) has got me contemplating once again this strange, compelling "mistake" of a movie and my unique journey with it.

    Years before Prometheus, Covenant or the "director's cut" of Scott's original Alien hit theatres, Alien³ was the only film of this series I had seen on the big screen. I was too young to…

  • Lightyear

    Lightyear

    ★★

    It brings me no joy to say it, but there is no joy or inspiration or imagination on display in Pixar's Lightyear. The ingredients are there for a terrific science fiction adventure, but the awe and wonder and beauty and wit and soul of something like WALL-E is nowhere to be found. In its place is a tedious string of action set pieces (breathlessly paced but sadly mechanical in execution), an overabundance of snark that repeatedly robs its narrative beats…

  • The Fabelmans

    The Fabelmans

    ★★★★½

    Anyone who knows me at all knows that I love movies. I inherited this love from my father who was a musician that spent a lot of time on the road, quite a bit of which was sitting in movie houses across the country throughout the 1970s, a very fertile period of American cinema. My father eventually got into the burgeoning video business (owning a chain of independent video stores) and I grew up with lots of VHS (and even…

  • Die Hard

    Die Hard

    ★★★★★

    The greatest action flick of all time as far as I'm concerned.

    And yes, it's a Christmas movie.

  • City Lights

    City Lights

    ★★★★★

    Not only my favorite Chaplin film, but my favorite "silent" film. Period.

    That last scene. Oy vey.

  • Pinocchio

    Pinocchio

    In my very short, very negative review of the CGI remake of the The Lion King, I highlighted the moment that the filmmakers added to the "migrating of Simba's fur back to Rifiki" sequence of a dung beetle pushing a piece of poop. I lamented that this was an appropriate metaphor for the project as a whole: taking something good and turning it into a piece of s**t.

    This movie's equivalent features Pinocchio stopping to inspect a pile of (presumably)…

  • A Monster Calls

    A Monster Calls

    ★★★★½

    "Stories are wild animals... if you let them loose, who knows what havoc they may wreak."

    This film is some kind of small miracle. A moving meditation on love, grief, loneliness, fear, anger and all the other all-too human emotions that make us deep, complicated creatures. Adapted by Patrick Ness from his own book, A Monster Calls stars Lewis McDougal (in one of the most sensitive and authentic performances I've ever seen by a child actor) as Conor O'Malley, a…