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  • Rocketman

    Rocketman

    ★★★★

    Consider it a confessional journey through Elton John’s imaginarium. With about as much frankness as can be allowed in an R-rated film that is, nonetheless, pitched to a mainstream audience.

    Also, and this is very important, this is all with the subject’s “Seal of Approval (TM).” And, to be fair, it comes off as pretty honest in the sense that here we have a cinematic equivalent of a probing Rolling Stone interview with the man...fresh out of rehab and ready…

  • Cell

    Cell

    ★★★

    It’s odd that it took Stephen King so long to finally write a zombie apocalypse story. By the time the novel of this was published in 2006, he’d already written basically everything else.

    In any case, King’s end of the world scenario is not unlike George Romero’s in the sense he uses the concept to comment on our contemporary social reality and our ever present dependence on technology as a way to remain informed but also connected to one another,…

  • The Dead Zone

    The Dead Zone

    ★★★★★

    Stephen King proved remarkably prescient when he wrote this haunted thriller. Then screenwriter Jeffrey Boam and director David Cronenberg turned it into a powerful exercise in visceral emotion. 

    The film works as a transplantation of the novel onto the screen, even as it preserves the unwieldy episodic structure. Something like this, that meanders from one story event to another shouldn’t work but this does because the through line is the central character’s emotional journey.

    Chris Walken was perfect for this.…

  • Dark Phoenix

    Dark Phoenix

    And so, the long-running X-Men film series comes to an end with this unceremonious and quite boring superhero movie.

    Things start out promisingly, with a cosmic mission that suggests a more faithful adaptation of the now classic comic storyline. But then things head south rather quickly, and you begin to notice actors basically just going through the motions, and the special effects technicians checking off boxes.

    The movie began production two years before it was finally released. Principal photography was…

  • Society

    Society

    ★★★

    On the one hand, this bizarre satire seems almost painfully on the nose. I mean, it’s actually called Society, for fuck’s sake. So it makes no bones about what it is or what it’s doing or what it’s saying.

    There is a general brilliance to this thing that is unfortunately somewhat undercut by the film’s basic flatness in presentation and lack of real style. Though you could also interpret that flatness as part of the point.

    By casting Billy Warlock…

  • Q

    Q

    ★★★★

    This typically eccentric Larry Cohen horror flick is pretty great. It’s probably one of his best, and it’s maybe his most unusual. Because what else can you say about this odd hybrid, which mixes monster movie with police procedural about cult murders, and then adds a kind of “B story” about an ex junkie jazz musician who participates in a diamond heist.

    In any case, by any rational metric, yes this movie is convoluted. But that doesn’t matter because it…

  • C.H.U.D.

    C.H.U.D.

    ★★

    On some level I see how this had the potential for something good. The idea of mutant sewer dwellers rising up to attack and eat the surface population of New York City - as a result of corporate exploitation and corruption.

    In the hands of a Carpenter or a Romero you could have a fun horror flick with something valid on its mind.

    This movie definitely has a lot on its mind. But it’s barely any fun. It takes too…

  • Star Trek The Next Generation: The Best Of Both Worlds

    Star Trek The Next Generation: The Best Of Both Worlds

    ★★★★

    In general terms, this represents Star Trek at its best. It is an exciting piece of genre TV that stands on its own merits. But in terms of the franchise as a whole it presents a compelling adventure that expands on and deepens the mythology.

    While it may lack the gut punch emotional resonance of “Yesterday’s Enterprise,” it makes up for that by allowing itself a grander canvas, resulting in something that achieves an appropriately cinematic scope. With dramatic tension,…

  • Avengers: Endgame

    Avengers: Endgame

    ★★★★★

    In the annals of popular film, there has never been anything quite like this series. And it’s not something we are likely to see ever again.

    So let’s discuss The Marvel Cinematic Universe As A Whole for a moment. By this point, 22-films deep. And, is there any other film franchise you can think of that is as consistent? In its level of basic entertainment value and general quality... In its eagerness to please its fans and also reward their…

  • Pet Sematary

    Pet Sematary

    ★★★

    Far as adaptations go, this is very much that...an adaptation. Your affinity for it will depend on how near and dear the novel is to your heart, or how sacrosanct you consider the 1989 film version to be.

    This takes quite a few liberties with the source, but most of them are - I would say - in service of making it function as a modern, mainstream, commercial horror picture in a manner the original never could.

    Stephen King wrote…

  • Demons

    Demons

    ★★★

    This is about as subtle as it gets for an Italian horror movie commenting on censorship, reactionary culture and American Puritanism. 

    In which a bunch of people go see a horror movie, get locked in the theater, turn into zombies and start fucking each other up. Meanwhile, a gang of punks is driving around, snorting actual coke from a can of coke.

    And the soundtrack is, of course, by Claudio Simonetti from Goblin. But it’s also peppered with “English” rock…

  • Dumbo

    Dumbo

    ★★★

    It’s an odd irony that in Disney’s live action reboot of the animated classic, the villain is...basically...Walt Disney.

    In any case, Michael Keaton is a Disney-like magnate who owns a carnival amusement park and buys up the IPs of a struggling circus just so he can exploit them for a fledgling media empire.

    It’s odd, that’s all I’m saying. And it’s all right there on the page and, by God, Tim Burton stylized the shit out of this so you…