• The Daytrippers

    The Daytrippers

    ★★★½

    As I sit here in LA, trying to survive 90 degree weather on a late September day, I realize how much I love cold weather New York movies. Something very cinematic about layers, of thigh high tights and pretentious scarves. There isn’t much character in sandals, what do the toes know?

    Promising debut from Mottola, straddles the tightrope between empathy and sympathy remarkably well. Knows that he doesn’t have to approve of his characters to still love them. My favorite scene…

  • Crimson Peak

    Crimson Peak

    ★★½

    Fine as a lark, but feels like a missed opportunity. Enjoys itself as pastiche but has no real conviction in itself, can’t help but feel like an R rated version of a Disney ride. Jim Beavers one of our more natural actors, effortlessly convincing. Hiddleston in his natural habitat, Chastain all cool and billowy in her gowns.

  • Mystic Pizza

    Mystic Pizza

    ★★★

    Mystic Pizza Or Red Flags and the Women That Ignore them. Working class ethnic fantasy with three storylines that interweave, I kind of resent it because it’s something I would probably write. Women empowerment in movies is tricky, even when it’s written by a woman it always feels a little inauthentic, the same way overtly masculine films always ring hollow. 

    I enjoyed the small touches of this small town, the Portuguese culture that flits out almost subconsciously from our second…

  • Red Eye

    Red Eye

    ★★★½

    Craven makes this work, either through spite or sheer tyranny of will. Teeters on the edge of parody but conviction and a thousand small gestures carries this across the finish line. Can’t help but feel we let Rachel McAdams down in some way.

  • See How They Run

    See How They Run

    ★★★½

    A cozy time at the theater, your grandma and/or softly reactionary friend will love this. Another whodunnit that it overtly about whodunnits, I just wish the next one won’t have to be a commentary on itself and can simply exist. Ronan goes a long way to making this work, she gets some good lines but her timing really makes the jokes zing.

    I try to think myself above responding to letterboxd reviews, but am frustrated with many of them comparing this to Wes Anderson. Wes doesn’t own the past! It was in fact around a long time before he even existed!

  • Fright Night

    Fright Night

    ★★

    Not necessarily bad, just lacking any justification for its existence. All the story beats from the original are dutifully copied but without any understanding of their purpose. This leads to several odd cases of mistranslation. They turn Peter Vincent from a faded horror star to Las Vegas magician, robbing his arc of any thematic heft. Vincent thinks he’s wasted his life as a schlocky genre star, there’s no real irony in his conversion if he doesn’t have anything to justify. …

  • Barbarian

    Barbarian

    ★★★

    Gnarly little feature, like something young Wes Craven would dish out back when he was hungry and mean. Does the “horror movie with overt elevated meaning” as well as anyone has done so far, which means I only rolled my eyes about twice during this. But I was covering my eyes as I rolled them, the scares are that effective.

  • Hard Eight

    Hard Eight

    ★★★

    I rarely gamble, and when I do I don’t enjoy it. Despite that I’ve always loved movies about gambler culture. Something cozy and communal about this group of ruffians who dispel so much mental energy just to make an adequate amount of money. The best parts of Hard Eight stick to that milieu, to the shorthand and shortcuts of this very particular ecosystem. Movie starts to drag when it starts adding plot to the pot. To his credit PTA learned…

  • Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me

    Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me

    ★★½

    Even more episodic than the first, some of those episodes hit and some miss spectacularly. Spent an inordinate amount of time upset at the treatment of Vanessa Kensington, who deserved better. Not helped that she’s replaced by Heather Graham, who is game but entirely unfit for the role. Even when she’s in on the joke it still feels like it’s going over her head. Maybe latent prejudice on my part but a takeaway is a takeaway.

  • I Know What You Did Last Summer

    I Know What You Did Last Summer

    ★★

    Feints at some twists but then plays it sickeningly straight. Sarah Michelle Gellar is the best thing here, it’s inexplicable that she didn’t have a more sustained movie career.

  • Top Gun: Maverick

    Top Gun: Maverick

    Joints are a bit more exposed this go around, the original is still inferior but was at least too odd to be mechanical. There is not an ounce surprising in Maverick. But sometimes you don’t want to be surprised, you just want Tom to break a few G’s and Jennifer Connelly to pour you a miraculously foam free beer. John Wayne would know what I’m talking about.

  • The Gift

    The Gift

    ★★★

    I bit too much of a nerd revenge fantasy, but there’s some good stuff here. Hall really sells the material, and Bateman is never happier than when he gets to play an utter scumbag.