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  • Villains

    Villains

    ★★★½

    To be honest there isn’t all that much to say about this one, but then that’s not because there was a problem with Dan Berk and Robert Olsen's playfully twisted thriller. Villains just happens to one of those wonderfully compact one location deals that rolls along on the low-key lunacy of a wicked-smart script, pretty good casting, the resulting quirky performances and smooth enough direction. It doesn’t reach high or far but what it did reach for was a lot of fun.

  • Knives Out

    Knives Out

    ★★★★½

    Back when the last remake of Murder on the Orient Express arrived in my local theatre, I thought it was only fair to explain before offering an opinion that I was such a devoted devotee of the hard boiled spin on the detective genre left behind by Hammett and Chandler that my attitude toward the drawing room mysteries that preceded them could be characterized as downright hostile. Now, that description’s probably going too far but it is not inaccurate. Knowing that I…

  • Downton Abbey

    Downton Abbey

    ★★★½

    Honestly not sure if terms like good or bad count on this one. I mean, I was a fan of the show, I enjoyed this and if you can say the former you probably will too. If not. I do not know what to say.

  • Ms. Purple

    Ms. Purple

    ★★★

    “Whatever you had to do to keep Dad alive I ... I don’t judge you for it.”

    Every so often you run headlong into a film from a filmmaker who clearly has one of the same favorite films as you and the connection that makes between you and that film is hard to break with a misstep here or there. That’s exactly where I found myself watching Justin Chon’s intently blue melancholic walk through familial brokenness. I’d never want to leave…

  • Doctor Sleep

    Doctor Sleep

    ★★★½

    “You need to listen to me. The world's a hungry place. A dark place.”

    It is not hard at all to know what to say about Mike Flanagan’s horror fantasy crack at Stephen King’s Shining sequel. You see, before comic book adaptations were everywhere, I worked in a comic book store and for those who came in late, that used to be a lot like a bar for people desperate to see signs of what they loved in the mainstream…

  • The Report

    The Report

    ★★★★

    “You just said it yourself … The CIA knew this shit didn’t work in 1978 and it didn’t stop them from doing it again. Look we’ve been down here for two years, stranded in this basement. Nobody’s waiting for us to come out.”  Having a good memory for the worst reasoned criticisms leveled at stuff is usually a good thing, but in the case of Scott Z. Burns narrowly focused political drama it was actually pretty distracting. You see, The…

  • Marriage Story

    Marriage Story

    ★★½

    Ok so typically being an over-educated cinephile would mean that I’d be more or less contractually obligated to have something fairly fawning to say about Marriage Story and even though I do not, being a sincere proponent of just fessing upfront when a film is kinda well-made but was not for you, would normally mean that I would simply so fess and just leave this review at that. 

    Unfortunately, I never started caring about Noah Baumbach’s bi-coastal divorce melodrama. So…

  • Collateral

    Collateral

    ★★★★

    “No I shot him ... the bullets and the fall killed him.”

    It’s tempting to say something along the lines of: Damn, they sure aren’t making them like that anymore after watching Michael Mann’s preternaturally slick and night-lit neo noir action thriller. But then I’m honestly not sure it would be fair to say that anyone other than Mann ever made “them” quite like this. That a film this coolly lethal and effortlessly badass probably counts as one of his lesser works says just about everything you’ll ever need to know about its director.

  • The Courier

    The Courier

    ★★½

    This. This is not at all a good movie, but all things considered, Olga Kurylenko killing people in motorcycle gear is just not something I’m prepared to get too upset about. You know what I mean?

  • Ready or Not

    Ready or Not

    ★★★½

    You can’t really call Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett’s Clue meets The Most Dangerous Game darkly comedic thriller a nice surprise, because in many if not quite all best possible ways it is exactly as advertised. So even though Ready or Not does not exactly rise to the level of a cinematic revelation, the film is one appropriately baroque, grisly, garishly designed and dexterously mounted ride that gives familiar faces like Czerny and MacDowell enough rope to have just a…

  • Heat

    Heat

    ★★★★★

    “In Fuji they have these iridescent algae that come out once a year in the water, it looks like L.A. at night.”

    There aren’t that many directors who’ve taken the idea that the places where the end of the land meets the beginning of the sea constitute an edge of the world wilderness as seriously Michael Mann. It’s in so many frames of his big screen crack at Miami Vice that watching it you are just always a little bit worried the…

  • Charlie's Angels

    Charlie's Angels

    ★★★

    Look I am as shocked as you are but this camp-less take on the material was legit good fun with a game and likable cast. Not sure what else there is to say here.