• Jane Eyre

    Jane Eyre

    ★★★½

    An adaptation of Charlotte Bronte's classic novel that is positively magnetic in its performances. Orson Welles' stark eyes hypnotize, and his barking, booming voice is the most commanding and charismatic its ever been. The movie pretends to try to make Joan Fontaine somewhat plain. The thing that cuts the movie's legs out from under it is the rushed third act, everything tying up far too quickly and conveniently.

  • Citizen Kane

    Citizen Kane

    ★★★★★

    Man uses media to build a false reality for himself. As true then as it is now.

  • Ghostbusters II

    Ghostbusters II

    ★★★

    "Ghostbusters II" is one of those movies undeservedly considered to be a bad sequel. It's not as good as the first, but it's still got plenty of laughs and freaky ghosts.

  • The Exorcism of Emily Rose

    The Exorcism of Emily Rose

    ★★½

    The made-for-TV version of "The Exorcist."

    Like "The Exorcist," "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" takes themes of faith, religion, God, Satan, and the supernatural seriously, and this works to its benefit. Jennifer Carpenter is otherworldly in the titular role, Laura Linney is solid in the lead, and I'll watch Tom Wilkinson in anything. The movie has some scary moments, and the Rose family farm is a spooky setting that makes for some memorable moments.

    The problem with the film is…

  • Vertigo

    Vertigo

    ★★★★½

    Contrary to what critics polled in "Sight & Sound" say, "Vertigo" is not better than "Citizen Kane". It's not even Alfred Hitchcock's best film, but it might be the most "Hitchcock" movie Hitchcock ever made. Critics love it because the film speaks to their obsessive personalities. Filmmakers love "Citizen Kane" because of its daring innovations, which continue to inspire the creative to this day. The influence of "Vertigo" should not be downplayed, though. Without it, we likely wouldn't have many great films by the likes of David Lynch, Brian De Palma, and Steven Spielberg, or not as we know them at least.

  • Sinister 2

    Sinister 2

    ★★★½

    The home movies aren't as scary as the ones in the original, everything else elevates the concept from the original. Giving us an encounter with Mr. Boogie and his kids from the perspective of the children is interesting, especially in how the demon foments strife between brothers. Compelling stuff. The climax is scary, gory, and exciting.

  • The Devil and Father Amorth

    The Devil and Father Amorth

    ★★★

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

    William Friedkin is as entertaining as a host as he is as a director. Here he returns to the subject matter of his classic film, "The Exorcist," and spends time with famous exorcist Father Gabriele Amorth, as well as various psychiatrists and neurosurgeons to explore the phenomenon of demonic possession. Friedkin's interview with Bishop Robert Barron is one of the highlights of the film.

    Finding a narrative in a documentary can already be tricky, but one thing that works against…

  • Sinister

    Sinister

    ★★★½

    Like a lot of self-obsessed directors, Scott Derrickson dresses up his lead actor (Ethan Hawke) as himself in a plot that mirrors Derrickson's own career. Derrickson's success with "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" and subsequent fall with the failure of his remake of "The Day the Earth Stood Still" mirrors this film's true crime author, who had a successful book, but a string of duds has rendered him irrelevant, chasing his tail while hungry for the adulation of the talk…

  • The Exorcist

    The Exorcist

    ★★★★★

    Director William Friedkin describes "The Exorcist" as a film about "the mystery of faith." This description is accurate and does so by addressing the struggle between faith and reason that intensified in the Catholic Church in the wake of the cultural revolution of the sixties.

    Father Kerras (Jason Miller) is a priest with a modernist outlook and attitude, informed by his background in psychiatry, which erodes his faith in God. He sees everything supernatural as something that can be explained…

  • Pitch Black

    Pitch Black

    ★★★½

    A sci-fi survivalist story about rising above our animal instincts. Radha Mitchell, one of the great unsung actresses in genre films from this decade, is terrific in the lead, Cole Hauser keeps you guessing as the sleazy merc, Johns, and Keith David effortlessly lends gravitas by simply showing up. A lot has come out of this film centered around Vin Diesel's cool criminal killer Riddick, including animated movies, video games, and two sequels. The direct sequel to this movie, "The…

  • The Phantom of the Opera

    The Phantom of the Opera

    ★★½

    The problem with Hammer's "Phantom" adaptation is that it uses the 1943 Claude Rains version as its jumping off point. The problem with this is that the Rains version reduced the themes and ideas in Gaston Leroux's story to a simple revenge tale. This just makes it another monster movie, which would be fine, but the silent classic with Lon Chaney is way better in that regard. Hammer's version is lacking in the crimson shocks and monster moments in which…

  • Dark August

    Dark August

    There are lots genre films from the seventies that throw some occult gibberish, devil stuff, and new age symbols at you, in hopes that you'll think it's far out and groovy, man. "Dark August" is one of those movies. It's about a denim-clad New Yorker who invades Vermont, and gets a hex put on him by an old man who is angry that denim-man ran over his granddaughter, presumably while blaring some Bruce Springsteen from his jeep. He's followed by…