• Vicki

    Vicki

    A solidl noir investigating the murder of a rising star. Richard Boone is great as a detective coming apart at the seams though the best parts of the film are owned by Aaron Spelling. He was a good actor when he wasn't producing TV shows.

  • The Dead Don't Die

    The Dead Don't Die

    THE DEAD DON'T DIE repeatedly warns that it ends badly, and indeed it does. And this is surely the whole point, both narratively and existentially. This is Jarmusch's most depressing film and I would not be surprised if it ends up being his final feature. It seems the director has taken a long hard look at how underwhelming and dispassionate filmmaking has become and decided to call it a day. This, it seems, is his assessment of the state of…

  • Dominique

    Dominique

    Part MIDNIGHT LACE with a pinch of LET'S SCARE JESSICA TO DEATH and a dash of HUSH, HUSH, SWEET CHARLOTTE, Michael Anderson's 1979 gothic melodrama DOMINIQUE belongs to that cycle of "hagsploitation" films that exhumed the careers of fading starlets from Hollywood's golden era. The hagsploitation films focus on older wealthy women whose sanity hangs by a thread and whose lives are defined by chronic dissatisfaction as the men they love, the families they long for, and the social roles…

  • The Good Liar

    The Good Liar

    The best compliment I can offer this film is that it is competently made. Outside of this THE GOOD LIAR holds few surprises in its narrative, which this viewer at least had been guessing from early on. The pleasure of the film however is not its twist but the performances of its leads. Though in terms of surprises, and one that I list here with trepidation as it gives away an important twist, so if you intend to watch it…

  • Dead Pigs

    Dead Pigs

    Cathy Yan's debut feature Dead Pigs follows the lives of a group of individuals impacted by cultural changes taking place in China that revolve around the corrupting influence of money as it erodes traditional values. It's an effective satire that at times verges on incendiary in its interrogation of the crassness of contemporary Chinese culture as it races towards progress at all costs. The image of a group of women dressed exactly the same, wearing identical hairstyles, and doing all…

  • The Fallen Idol

    The Fallen Idol

    Carol Reed and Graham Greene together provide a remarkably light touch to this suspenseful drama about a humble butler wrongly suspected of killing his spiteful wife. Ralph Richardson is well cast as the gentle butler Baines who works at the French Embassy in London and is beloved by his employers' young boy Philippe, played with immense nuance by Bobby Henrey. Baines' wife (Sonia Dresdel) is the officious and often nasty housekeeper of the opulent embassy mansion. Jealous of the relationship…

  • Revenge

    Revenge

    A stylish, well-shot and competently acted rape-revenge thriller set in Morocco, which makes for a great setting but by the end of the film I felt like I had watched a scaled-back four-hander version of FURY ROAD without the savvy sexual politics. Unfortunately REVENGE was too formulaic for my tastes. Knowing it was directed by a woman, I hoped for more from newcomer Coralie Fargeat. It certainly looks beautiful but as a rape-revenge film its gender politics were just too…

  • Gargoyles

    Gargoyles

    Bernie Casey plays kings of a monstrous race of gargoyles in a film peopled with histrionic white folk. It's easy to poke ideological holes in films like this one, but not very satisfying. It's a super cheap 70s made-for-TV film that, despite its B grade shoddiness, is jolly entertaining and zooms along during its 74 minutes at a fairly brisk pace. Scott Glen fans might be pleased to see him in one of his earliest films, having already developed his…

  • Now, Voyager

    Now, Voyager

    Swoon. Bette Davis is phenomenal as the daughter of a rich tyrannical widow who has psychologically tortured her all her life. That is until Claude Rains arrives and whisks her off to a sanitarium where she learns a little self-respect and recovers her dignity. Davis' transformation is splendid, as is her sexlessly torrid affair with unhappily married Paul Henreid. Despite never consummating their love, Davis and Henreid's romance is one for the ages and made all the more passionate and…

  • Tourist Trap

    Tourist Trap

    Chuck Connors develops a terrible case of indigestion after chewing impossible amounts of scenery in this gimmicky formulaic slasher that has the good sense to cherry pick its ideas from among the best protoslashers. Five hapless college friends find themselves stranded off the beaten track with only Connors unhinged wax museum curator to help them. Yada-yada-yada. One part PSYCHO, two parts CARRIE and three parts THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE makes this is a derivative yet tasty recipe for some uncanny mannequin fun.

  • Knives Out

    Knives Out

    This is a quaint little throwback to Agatha Christie that owes its success to its cast of famous faces when in truth the screenplay should be the real star. Unlike a good murder mystery that has you suspecting everyone and keeps the screws turning as the body count increases, the mystery here is very run of the mill so that when the twists are finally revealed, you're about as likely to care about it as your average episode of CSI.…

  • Yesterday

    Yesterday

    The one reason I watched this film was because the trailer sold its premise quite well. Man wakes up in an alternate universe without The Beatles and makes a fortune peddling the Fab Four's songs to a world hungry for good music. Intriguing. Going in I did not know it was directed by Danny Boyle and assumed as soon as I saw his name appear in the opening credits that I was in good hands. This did not turn out…