• The Amusement Park

    The Amusement Park

    ★★★

    George Romero’s metaphor driven horror approach made him a good, if unconventional, pick to direct this PSA about the hardships the elderly face. Of course those that found Dawn of the Dead too on the nose with its message will get a real taste of that here, where all the facets of the amusement park function as fairly straightforward and obvious counterparts to conflicts in the real world. It’s not very compelling as a narrative as a result, but entirely…

  • Coraline

    Coraline

    ★★★½

    A bit spookier and more fun than I remember, and, crucially, I am becoming more and more enamored with stop-motion as an alternative to the entirely 3d animated family films that seem to be coalescing into one amorphous blob of same-y art styles and recycled narrative beats. More weird, idiosyncratic kids movies that aren’t afraid to get a little dark please.

  • Maniac

    Maniac

    ★★

    Maniac boasts a strong gritty atmosphere and a few gnarly gore sequences courtesy of Savini (who pulls double duty here as gore wizard and victim), but Joe Spinell acting CRAZY for 90 minutes really isn’t enough to hang a movie on I’m afraid.

  • Messiah of Evil

    Messiah of Evil

    ★★½

    The dreamlike/nightmarish tone here, while certainly intentional hardly feels purposeful. Much of the movie noodles along with the awkward feeling of improvisation, save for a few notable scare sequences. It’s rather beautifully shot though and sometimes the nightmare imagery really coalesces into something memorable, but too much of the film plays like a Living Dead film by a storyteller less skilled than Romero than something truly uncanny and unique.

  • The City of the Dead

    The City of the Dead

    ★★½

    Pleasingly old school (though with a few modern touches reminiscent of Psycho to keep it slightly more contemporary than just a gothic throwback) and makes excellent use of the studio’s fog machines, but never really gets the pulse going or builds much intrigue. Christopher Lee is a welcome sinister presence but he’s frustratingly sidelined for most of the film by an exceptionally dull cast of characters. A nice atmosphere only takes it so far.

  • No Time to Die

    No Time to Die

    ★★½

    For the first hour or so, No Time to Die hums along with all the pleasures you could want from a Bond film. An exciting pre-title sequence, some light intrigue in colorful locations around the globe, some comedic banter (which is scattershot throughout the film but feels less forced than Mendes’s attempts), and a few fun setpieces. The Ana De Armas sequence in particular is a real joy. But then, about halfway through the movie, all those spinning plates start…

  • Angst

    Angst

    ★★★★

    I’ve long been fan of a movies that are obsessed with procedure. Movies that take the time to show every step in a process, no matter how mundane. It adds authenticity and opens a window to someone else’s world. Angst is a movie that is obsessed with procedure, and it opens a window to the most unpleasant world imaginable. It unflinchingly documents an unnamed killer’s insatiable desire to kill and to be feared in the scant hours after his release,…

  • Spectre

    Spectre

    ★★

    Actually thought this was a pretty alright, if a bit languid, Bond film up until the scrip shits the bed in just about every direction from the moment they get to Blofeld’s lair all the way to the climax on the bridge. It’s largely a pretty easy-going victory lap for Craig who gets to go through a variety of Connery era facsimile sequences with the same aura on nonchalance that Connery did. It feels totally out of step with the…

  • Inside

    Inside

    ★½

    French keystone cops, dumb decisions at every opportunity, X-TREME gore for gore’s sake, and approximately 100% too much womb-cam featuring awful cgi baby, more or less completely put me off the scraps of quality suspense and Beatrice Dalle’s memorably creepy antagonist. It’s one thing to be a dumb gross out movie, it’s another thing to be a dumb gross out movie that thinks it’s deep. This story doesn’t even run as deep as its prosthetic wounds.

  • ParaNorman

    ParaNorman

    ★★★½

    ParaNorman is largely a balm against the identikit 3D animated children’s movies that glut the market, where even Pixar feels like a poor xerox copy of its former self. This was probably already true back when it released in 2012, but in 2021 it’s truly an anomaly, as Laika studios improbably clings to life. ParaNorman is aesthetically wonderful, in no small part because it’s literally handcrafted, and the atmosphere is lived in and full of personal touches that make for…

  • The Call

    The Call

    ★★

    An intriguing, if undercooked, temporal concept of a phone somehow connecting the past to the present promises to provide a fun spin on standard serial killer-thriller tropes, but ultimately gets subsumed by all the conventions this was promising to avoid. Twisty yet predictable, The Call offers few surprises and its central gimmick is more often used to mine uninteresting melodrama than genuine suspense, and some overly-flashy effects sequences reveal this snoozer to be far more impressed with itself than I…

  • Island of Lost Souls

    Island of Lost Souls

    ★★★½

    This would make for a great double feature with The Most Dangerous Game, 1932’s other pulp adventure about morality run amock when wealthy men have their own tropical islands to do with what they will. This is probably the more sophisticated picture of the two, both in terms of asking a bit more it’s audience with regards to its themes, and technically (the stark lighting throughout is wonderful). The omnipresent animal men are actually pretty creepy with how they’re always…