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  • Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me

    Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me

    ★★★½

    Bigger budget sequel that has plenty of laughs, but still can’t top the first film. Heather Graham is totally game, and a lot of fun here. Many of the pop culture jokes don’t age that well, but you know what does? Mini-Me. He’s an inspired riff on a character from the ‘96 Island of Dr. Moreau film that proves endlessly funny. Seriously. Maybe the funniest character in the entire trilogy. You know Myers can tell he hit the jackpot with Mini-Me. It’s a joy to behold.

  • First Cow

    First Cow

    ★★★★

    I was resisting this one at first. The slow, naturalistic filmmaking is typically not my style. But Reichardt’s tender direction, the artfully composed shots, the performances and the eventual tenseness of the story really gripped me. The film casts a spell and does an admirable job of capturing a time and place wholly unlike the one we live in today. Kudos.

  • Swingers

    Swingers

    ★★★★½

    Vince Vaughn’s Trent is one of my favorite best friend characters. He’s such a lovable jerk, but so funny. Still amazed it took him until Old School to really break out. He had a pretty dry run in between. Swingers is very ‘90s in terms of its indie aesthetic and infatuation with swing music, but Favreau and Liman nail the L.A. actors’ scene and the movie’s depiction of Vegas (both good and bad) is now iconic.

  • Clueless

    Clueless

    ★★★★½

    Amy Heckerling’s script is so witty, perceptive and funny that it puts other comedies to shame. Clueless is 99% better than almost every other high school flick. Every time I watch it, my 16 year-old self’s crush on Alicia Silverstone rushes back. I don’t think it ever truly left. She’s next level here - her apex, never really did top it.

  • Greyhound

    Greyhound

    ★★

    Maybe the grayest movie I’ve ever seen? No character development. Minimal story. Just an understated Hanks giving orders while crew members shout torpedo coordinates at him. I’ll stick with Crimson Tide, thanks.

  • The Old Guard

    The Old Guard

    ★★½

    One of those table-setting first films in a would-be franchise that saves all the good stuff for future sequels that may never be made. It’s a fine enough actioner that proves most intriguing when it flashes back to its immortal characters’ historical adventures. That’s the movie I wanted to see. Alas, most of it takes place in modern day, with ho-hum gun fu and fistfights every 20 minutes. I like director Gina Prince-Bythewood though, so hope this “one for them” gives her more opportunities.

  • Palm Springs

    Palm Springs

    ★★★½

    Clever riff on the Groundhog Day time loop concept, with appealing lead performances from Samberg and Milloti. Mines a lot of comedy and insight on relationships in its brief 90 minutes. Not as funny as I was hoping, but enjoyable nonetheless.

  • The Beach House

    The Beach House

    ★★★

    Slow-to-start Eco-horror with shades of The Fog, The Mist, and Color Out of Space. Once it gets rolling, at about the 50-minute mark, things get progressively wild and weird from there. Has the kind of ending that gleefully refuses to be tidy or explain any of what you just saw. Director Jeffrey A. Brown shows a lot of promise. Mileage may vary but horror fans should check it out.

  • St. Elmo's Fire

    St. Elmo's Fire

    ★★★

    This is a fun ‘80s nostalgia watch. Had never seen before, so I was happy to check off one of the essential Brat Pack works. Between the killer cast and repeated use of “Man in Motion” (which I never tire of hearing), St. Elmo’s overcomes its many (many) flaws. Some of those flaws are actually an asset - Rob Lowe’s sax playing simply has to be seen to be believed. The climax runs off the rails in all kinds of enjoyably silly ways. I like it better than The Big Chill, which it was clearly aping.

  • You've Got Mail

    You've Got Mail

    ★★★½

    A welcome return to form for Ephron, and a smart use of the undeniable Hanks-Ryan chemistry. Like many romcoms, it’s hokey and predictable when it needs to be, which in any other genre would be a negative. Waits a little too long for its leads to stop bickering and start falling for each other, but this gives the Hanks-Ryan fix I’d wanted since Sleepless in Seattle.

  • Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery

    Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery

    ★★★★★

    Unbelievably funny. Some of the pop culture references are dated, but the core comedic bits never go out of style. Dr. Evil is one of the great comic creations of my lifetime. When Mike Myers is on, you’d be hard-pressed to find any actor that’s funnier. He’s on for all 94 minutes here. I quote this movie endlessly - not the obvious stuff, a lot of deep cuts. Sometimes a movie is more than just a movie, it’s a vocabulary.

  • Emma.

    Emma.

    ★★

    Ho-hum. Not sure why we got another version of Emma at this point. Thought it would at least have a  hyper-styllized, Wes Anderson-esque approach to the material. Not really. I’ll stick with Clueless, which is still the best version of this story.