RSS feed for Mike
  • 306 Hollywood

    306 Hollywood



    A.V. Club review. A really valiant effort to create something special out of not a whole lot.

  • 21 Up

    21 Up



    [ANAL-RETENTIVE LOGGING CORNER: Though it's been retitled 21 Up to conform with subsequent installments, the series' third check-in is simply called 21 onscreen (just as its second is called 7 + Seven). And there's no director credit on the early ones, which were produced for the BBC with no expectation of any theatrical release; 28 Up was the first to become a "film."]

    Watched this nearly six months ago but never wrote anything. Starting to get more interesting now…

  • At Eternity's Gate

    At Eternity's Gate



    A.V. Club review. Still not sold on Schnabel, who makes tributes rather than films.

  • The Endless

    The Endless


    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.


    Enjoyed the initial, almost random freakiness considerably more than the expository follow-through. As some of you are aware, I suffer from a truly horrible psychological condition that compels me to watch all relevant parts of a given series/franchise/"cinematic universe"/whatever, so imagine my consternation when I discovered, perusing reviews afterward, that certain aspects of this film are explicit nods to Benson and Moorhead's debut feature. The Endless still "works" if (like me) you haven't seen Resolution, but certain aspects—notably the…

  • A Raisin in the Sun

    A Raisin in the Sun



    My very belated first encounter with Hansberry's play, which still feels depressingly relevant nearly 60 years after it was first staged. When John Fiedler's representative of the "Clybourne Park Improvement Association" explains why it would be in the Younger family's own best interest not to move into his neighborhood, his disingenuously friendly tone and pre-emptive defensiveness ("I want you to believe me when I tell you that race prejudice simply doesn't enter into it") sound exactly like, say, Brian…

  • Sadie




    Never saw Griffiths' human-trafficking drama Eden, but her latest seems to superimpose that film's (presumably) disturbing ruthlessness onto the goofy-hangout vibe of her terrific, under-appreciated Lucky Them. Here, though, it's the title character herself who's dangerous, albeit in a such a low-key, credible way that the numerous warning signs are easy to rationalize, if not completely ignore. Given the intended destination, most filmmakers would have constructed a tightly focused character study, as the title indeed suggests; Griffiths instead trusts…

  • Dragged Across Concrete

    Dragged Across Concrete



    Zahler clearly wants to be his generation's Don Siegel, right down to inspiring heated debate about whether/to what extent he's a reactionary. I've mostly been a defender thus far, and it seems clear to me that some of the deliberately outrageous scenes here—e.g. Gibson and Vaughn's badass cops pretending they can't understand a (nude!) Latinx woman who speaks perfect English—constitute deliberate trolling of his critics. Depiction is not endorsement, etc. But it really does feel as if we're meant…

  • Overlord




    A.V. Club review. Nothing in this got nearly as visceral a crowd reaction as did our collective realization that we were (on first attempt) mistakenly being shown Bohemian Rhapsody. A few people who'd seen it knew right away, thanks to the modified Fox fanfare (shredded on guitar), and then at the first sight of Malek the whole theater exploded, in a way that I don't think would have been as emphatic had it been, say, A Star Is Born.

  • The Front Runner

    The Front Runner


    A.V. Club review. Someone let me know how toxic the comments are; I'm scared to look.

  • Searching for Ingmar Bergman

    Searching for Ingmar Bergman



    A.V. Club review. Shapeless collection of talking heads + some personal recollections. SPOILER: She finds him. He’s buried on Fårö.

  • Monrovia, Indiana

    Monrovia, Indiana



    A.V. Club review. Wiseman's geographical portraits have never been my favorites, but there's something downright galling about his decision to go do his usual thing in Trump country immediately after the election. Should forever be yoked at the hip with In Jackson Heights; the two are far more interesting in contrast than either is alone.

  • Robinson Crusoe on Mars

    Robinson Crusoe on Mars



    [originally written on my blog]

    Just because it doesn't feature the era's usual bug-eyed monsters doesn't mean it isn't a dopey schlockfest. I can forgive Mars looking exactly like Death Valley, especially since Mariner 4 didn't launch until a few months after the film's release. Even in 1964, however, there was no reason to believe that extraterrestrial beings would be 100% humanoid and dress like ancient Egyptians. And I'm pretty sure astronomers already understood that if you ask one…