• Burn After Reading

    Burn After Reading

    ★★★★

    For a long time (and sometimes even now) snide critics would ding the Coens for being too cynical, in a way that felt anti-humanistic to them. They're certainly cynical, but I think those critics' real problem may have been distress at how *accurately* the Coens see humanity. This movie is them at their most cynical, but all of the horrible stuff that happens comes as the result of utterly human desires -- the sort of desires that are all the…

  • Firestarter

    Firestarter

    ½

    This movie can put itself right in the trash.

  • All That Jazz

    All That Jazz

    ★★★★

    An apologia disguised as a self-flaying. The brilliant man who gets away with being an asshole because he's so brilliant isn't a theme that feels so great anymore, but this movie still basically gets away with it, because Fosse is pretty unsparing, the filmmaking is still startling and fresh even now, and Scheider radiates so much warmth and hurt along with all the pain he causes (between this, The French Connection, and Jaws I'm honestly not sure why he's not…

  • Nanny McPhee

    Nanny McPhee

    ★★★★

    There's *just* enough of an age difference between Audrey and myself that we regard one another's pop culture artifacts with a healthy degree of skepticism. "Is this REALLY a good thing? Or did you just love it as a kid?"

    Anyway, this was the second half of a double feature last night (with Inside Llewyn Davis, whatta pair!) and I had no idea what to expect. This one holds up! I laughed a crazy amount at this.

    Any kids' movie…

  • Inside Llewyn Davis

    Inside Llewyn Davis

    ★★★★★

    Amazed all over again at how Coen Brothers films can be so rich with meaning and potential readings, while never telegraphing one *particular* easy interpretation -- and that they can accomplish this not by being vague or frustrating, but by being incredibly specific and unpredictable.

    That they can do this while ALSO being full of surface pleasures like Oscar Isaac killing a musical number or Adam Driver's hilariously goofball Please Mr. Kennedy vocalizations is a magic trick.

  • The Mask

    The Mask

    ★★★

    I almost respect The Mask for never quite figuring out what it is. Is it a comedy? Sort of, but it's not actually that funny. Is it a superhero movie? It borrows the structure of one, but mostly just as scaffolding. Is it a zany tribute to Tex Avery cartoons? Sometimes, and that's when I like it best. I think that's really the main problem -- pacing. This begs for a zany, Roger Rabbit treatment, but as much as I…

  • The Lost Empire

    The Lost Empire

    ★★★

    As others have noted, this plays like a mashup of an Andy Sidaris film with Enter the Dragon. It's not quite as relentlessly delightful as that pitch would suggest, but it's fun, and aims to entertain with rotating kung fu/James Bond action scenes and jiggling breasts. It's obviously kind of janky (although the production is slicker than you might expect) but it rarely slows down as our three fetish ladies (busty blonde cop, busty blonde crook, and a busty Native…

  • The Princess

    The Princess

    ★★½

    In the last 15 minutes this character, who has been an unstoppable Princess Terminator the whole time suddenly decides to sit around mournfully while the bad guy leaves himself open to all manner of attack, and I was grumbling so much that Audrey, in another room, said "You hate the screen so much right now."

    Anyway, this is fine. Basically it's The Raid: Princess Edition, which is a fun premise, but without the level of AMAZING fighting of The Raid…

  • The Cat

    The Cat

    ★★★★½

    I’m not sure I could explain everything that happens in The Cat. I just know that now that I’ve seen The Cat, I’m angry at other movies for not being more like The Cat.

  • The Land Before Time

    The Land Before Time

    ★★★

    Don Bluth is an animator for whom I have great fondness, even while recognizing that it all pretty much rests on a handful of early films and his Dragon's Lair video game work.

    His filmography is mostly a slow, sad slide. Think about it:

    The Secret of N.I.M.H. is kind of a flawed masterpiece, and then comes An American Tail, which is pretty darned good. Then comes this movie (The Land Before Time) and All Dogs Go to Heaven, which…

  • Death on the Nile

    Death on the Nile

    ★★½

    An occasionally enjoyable film that exhibits almost no understanding of what makes Agatha Christie mysteries or Hercule Poirot appealing.

  • Mad God

    Mad God

    ★★★½

    Beautiful, astounding, horrifying, and kind of tedious.