• Spencer

    Spencer

    I had low expectations, but I did not expect this to be worse than EMA. But that's the magic of Pablo Larrain!

    My wife and I chat about this risible, reprehensible royalsploitation on Critics in Cars Getting Home if you want to hear both someone who doesn't give a shit and a Di partisan trash the hell out of this for 10 minutes!

  • No Sudden Move

    No Sudden Move

    ★★★½

    Soderbergh and Solomon's Once Upon A Time In The Midwest, from the lenses to the costuming to the score to the machine that crushes everything in its path to the place we go to reinvent ourselves when the old world failed. Pity Soderbergh is too procedural and Solomon too fussy (or is it the other way around?) for this to function as Pure Cinema a la Leone, and some plot decisions are so antidramatic that they necessarily feel like a…

  • The Tragedy of Macbeth

    The Tragedy of Macbeth

    ★★★½

    Seriously considered reviewing this as the latest A24 horror movie ("cribbing from Robert Eggers hard - the b&w photography of THE LIGHTHOUSE and deep period of THE WITCH - freshman director Joel Coen might some day be able to approach the stunning achievements of Ari Aster") but feared someone might take me seriously because the Internet.

    Short version: Glad I saw it on the big screen, wish I wasn't sleepy, not sure it would have helped, some stunning coups de…

  • Paper Moon

    Paper Moon

    ★★★★½

    I know I'm an asshole for not watching more Bogdanovich sooner (only The Last Picture Show because of overwhelming acclaim and Targets because the concept appealed), and I can only really blame the fact that as a classical Hollywood acolyte, his interests diametrically opposed mine when I got into cinema, and I've never had a proper classical Hollywood phase as a cinephile. (Ironically, I'm kind of keen for one now, but this passion is not shared in my household and…

  • Gold

    Gold

    ★★½

    Not as good as the Gaghan, better than the Arslan, which is exactly what one would expect. In retrospect my rating seems sour - certain aspects of this shriek of "funded because it can be made during COVID" and that made me cynical, plus it feels like a distended short with sketchy characterisation and world building - but the performances and make up are good and I think my internal monologue of "why did they bother making this a sci-fi?"…

  • Landscapers

    Landscapers

    ★★★★★

    Two things separate this extraordinary anti-kitchen sink "murdering couple next door" miniseries from a movie:

    1) it's divided into episodes
    2) it's better.

  • The Tender Bar

    The Tender Bar

    ★★½

    On my long list of "things that I could do but probably won't" is a series of video essays on film craft, and my first would be called something like "How To Get Into A Car". The thesis would be that directing is oft-misunderstood - "great direction" can be confused for "great writing" or "great acting" or "great cinematography" or "great editing" - but the simple mechanics of how a character gets into a car is something that's rarely attributable…

  • Box

    Box

    ★★★★

    Only twenty seconds or so where I completely lost my shit makes this second-tier Ito - the passage that ripped the ground out from under me is around 4:30 - but the man unmoors me like no other filmmaker.

  • Scream

    Scream

    ★★★½

    Why the hell does Neve Campbell's accent go hardout Southern in one scene?

    Anyway, the opening weekend screening was one of the most amazing cinema experiences I've had (interactive division) thanks in part to so many of its groundbreaking aspects.

    But when you set out to make a film that breaks ground, it's eventually viewed by audiences for whom that ground has long since been broken. I spent big stretches wondering why this hasn't aged so well for me, and…

  • Westworld

    Westworld

    ★★★

    Seen over the course of two plane flights in four days at a probably incorrect aspect ratio (1.85:1, not ruinous but a few glaring pan and scan moments), but I think the bigger barrier to appreciation is having seen the series (or at least the first two seasons, I gave up at some point), which is such a richer treatment of the world building and implicit ethical critique on display here that this feels more than faintly primitive. And yet…

  • Good Will Hunting

    Good Will Hunting

    ★★★

    How did Gus Van Sant wind up directing a script that's as full of gay panic as a sentient can of Axe body spray?

    First time in 20+ years, but saw it several times back in the day, and untangling it from those previous emotional responses, to say nothing about how listening to Elliott Smith immediately fucks me up even all these oh so many years later (and then of course Robin Williams on top of that), would be difficult…

  • Lake of the Dead

    Lake of the Dead

    ★★★½

    Might be fairer to rate these after I've worked my way through All The Haunts Be Ours, Severin's frankly astonishing folk-horror boxset occasioned by Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched. Quite arbitrarily, I started with this Norwegian tale, and the unexpected extent to which I fell under its spell to its bold-type acting and blocking, psychobabble plotting and sub-Tourneur atmospherics (I say that, but full marks to whoever shot the lake itself, as creepy and moody as this sort of thing…