Jesse_Wroe has written 52 reviews for films rated ★★★★ during 2018.

  • Dangerous Seductress

    Dangerous Seductress

    ★★★★

    A holy man in Bali warned me about this.

  • One-Eyed Jacks

    One-Eyed Jacks

    ★★★★

    When Brando speaks Spanish...

  • Scream for Help

    Scream for Help

    ★★★★

    Simply hilarious. One of the most delightfully absurd thrillers anybody could hope to see. It qualifies as So Bad It's Good, yet in a way that balances competence and ineptitude to the point of success, not failure.

    The anchor is actress Rachael Kelly as ("Agatha") Christie Cromwell, a clever teen who rightfully suspects that her stepfather, Paul Fox, is conspiring to murder her mother (and perhaps herself). As Christie builds her case against him, the audience may be surprised that…

  • The Master

    The Master

    ★★★★

    Sometimes you need a simple martial arts film that doesn't let up on fun and exciting fight choreography. Add a bad english dub, an horrible haircut on the protagonist, a surprising scene of sexploitation, goofy comedy, and a startling death set piece, then you're bound to howl for an entire feature film.

    I'm not a kung fu movie nerd, I can't get into the details and variations of one film from the next, apart from recognizing distinctions that make good…

  • The Mephisto Waltz

    The Mephisto Waltz

    ★★★★

    "The Mephisto Waltz" had to feel familiar by 1971, but its conventions are handled wonderfully by the creepy mood, tense score, beautiful and ambitious cinematography full of wide angles and deep focus and strong color contrast, excellent acting, especially by the leading women Jacqueline Bisset and Barbara Parkins, and a clever finale that's open-ended yet sly in its explicitness. It's another strong example of the benefits of populating commercial horror with adults instead of teens.

  • The Case of the Scorpion's Tail

    The Case of the Scorpion's Tail

    ★★★★

    Most devout fans of Sergio Martino tend to love "Torso" or "The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh," but I prefer "The Case of the Scorpion's Tail." The other films are about classic tropes of psycho-sexual malaise, whereas this one is about unfettered greed, more like a Mario Bava story. It's very romantic too. The kills are well done and effective. The score by Bruno Nicolai, overall, is one of his best. Mostly, I like it's pacing and handling of the…

  • BlacKkKlansman

    BlacKkKlansman

    ★★★★

    I had a double feature of "Sorry to Bother You" and this one today. Both work well as "joint" films at the theater during the summer of 2018.

    This is an engaging, entertaining, funny, controversial, and intelligent film. I like how topical it is, how it talks to the audience about the current political climate. It's daring in its language too, because it's so consistently inflammatory.

    There are some great moments, like when Adam Driver as the reluctant Jewish cop…

  • Meantime

    Meantime

    ★★★★

    What I like most about the few films of Mike Leigh's I've seen are the characters. They're real people, but with an edge. They speak like they're biting into you with talented rhetoric. The angst is palpable and clever. They seem accustomed to frustration, as if life has dealt them constant struggle. Nothing easy about existence for them. But that produces the most enjoyable sarcasm, a sardonic attitude that's ironically pleasing to my outlook. "Meantime" is centered by such folk.…

  • Fist of the North Star

    Fist of the North Star

    ★★★★

    A wonderfully gratuitous, extreme, and over-the-top anime from the 1980s. Every moment is so overblown—including the physiques of the muscle men characters. Bodies are destroyed in most extravagant fashion. Physics and proportions are law defying and in constant flux. There isn't much plot, but that doesn't matter: post-apocalyptic violence within a narrative of hero myth is hysterically ramped up for our morbid pleasure. It even has an Italo-influenced score, ranging from Morricone-isms, electric funk, balladry, and a fight finale pop-rock…

  • Flesh + Blood

    Flesh + Blood

    ★★★★

    How can I not love Paul Verhoeven's nasty cynicism in the guise of a medieval action film?

    Most films from the medieval trend of the 1980s, which had prior counterparts, most notably in the '70s, are superficial and cheesy fantasy fare. The muscles, sweat, tits, dated animatronics, and crusty puppets make us laugh. "Flesh + Blood" has humor too, but it's more about the amoral morass of the era, when circumstances were positively dire for all, yet our sympathy for…

  • Charisma

    Charisma

    ★★★★

    Kiyoshi Kurosawa isn't sure this film works. It's a broad mix of several genre elements, which can be a risky undertaking with the narrative and tone of a film. But I think it works just fine. It's incredibly unique because of this mixture and the way in which it all ties together into a singular film.

    At first, you get a taste of "Cure" again. But as our familiar main man Koji Yakusho ventures into forested terrain and nibbles on…

  • Stone Cold

    Stone Cold

    ★★★★

    My friend screened this during Fourth of July. It seemed appropriate to celebrate American independence by watching bad cops fighting hardcore white supremacist bikers.

    It's typical of its time: an action-hero movie with big explosions, sleaze, misogyny, and endless laughable moments, and Brian Bosworth's majestic mullet, plus William Forsythe and Lance Henriksen (who looks buffer than ever) performing with wondrous extravagance. But it's high-octane all the way and never fails to entertain. It's an American action film from the early…