• Moneyball

    Moneyball

    ★★★★

    One of the major weaknesses of this film is that, despite having seen it multiple times now, I still don’t understand it from an intellectual point of view. You could put a gun to my head and I wouldn’t be able to accurately describe what was revolutionary about the A’s approach.

    One of the major strengths of this film is that, from an emotional point of view, that doesn’t matter at all.

  • The Other Lamb

    The Other Lamb

    ★★★

    This film opens with a shot of the Powerscourt waterfalls, so I turned to my wife and said "I wonder if we'll get a shot of Lough Tay?" And sure enough, I was able to get my own "that's Chappie" moment. And in this way, the film delivered in spades. In pretty much every other conceivable way, it was a disappointment. Gorgeous to look at but felt like empty calories, you know?

  • Halloween

    Halloween

    ★½

    Is it possible to both love and hate a film for the same thing? I loved the way this film tries to expand on the mythos of Michael Myers, pretending all the Halloween sequels just never happened.

    But the only people who care enough to do something like this are the boring fans that just want to see the first film repeated anyway, so all the scares are pretty much the same which starts as a knowing "oh that's cute"…

  • Hell House LLC

    Hell House LLC

    ★★★★

    15 minutes into this film, my wife snarks "Well I haven't been scared once yet". Around the 50 minute mark, she walked out of the room because it got too scary for her.

    The film hits its peak a little too early, meaning that there's a bit of a slump before the ending. But this is about as effective a little horror film as I've seen in years.

  • The Hole in the Ground

    The Hole in the Ground

    ★★

    I want to support Irish genre films, I really do. Even if I can't recommend them wholeheartedly, I at least want to be able to give a qualified recommendation. Something like "this film lifts so liberally from The Hallow and The Babadook and The Descent that if you like any of those films, you'll like this one" would be totally fine to me.

    But The Hole in the Ground treats women's mental stability and the pressures of being a single…

  • The Masque of the Red Death

    The Masque of the Red Death

    ★★★

    The original Boar on the Floor.

  • National Lampoon's Vacation

    National Lampoon's Vacation

    ★★½

    I have no particular love for this film. This is either a generational thing or a cultural thing (_Christmas Vacation_, however, is near and dear to my heart). Watching it this time, I laughed a total of two times. Actually, you know what? I'm going to say it: the Boris Vallejo poster is the best part of this film.

    But having said all this, I put this film on thinking "I'll just watch 10 minutes of this" and ended up watching the whole thing. So that has to say something.

  • The Social Dilemma

    The Social Dilemma

    ★★★½

    Apart from the cheesy narrative bits, this was everything I expected-slash-wanted it to be.

  • Singles

    Singles

    ★★½

    A couple of thoughts I had revisiting this film, almost 30 years later.

    1. This film isn't as zeitgeisty as I remembered it being. Yes, it's set in Seattle in 1992 but it didn't really do or say much about the general mood of the culture then. In my mind it was the film of the grunge era but maybe not?

    2. Holy shit, Campbell Scott's character is TOXIC. He's supposed to be the "nice guy" compared to his pal…

  • Host

    Host

    ★★★★

    There have been a few attempts at doing an internet-savvy horror film and most of them, so far, have been pretty awful affairs. Unfriended took the setup and tried to hang a horror-morality tale about cyber bullying on the flimsiest of frameworks. Host takes a similar, recognisable framing (a Zoom call), strips it down to its genre basics, tightens the whole thing and in less than an hour, delivers a better film than Unfriended.

    One of the things I particularly liked about…

  • The Beach House

    The Beach House

    ★★

    A podcast I listen to (can’t remember which) described The Beach House as “the horror hit of the lockdown” and it just makes me feel like I’m really out of step with what these podcast tastemakers are all about because all I saw was a film that didn’t have the force of something like The Mist and it had none of the wit or charm of The Colour out of Space.

    Apart from some really excellent foley work, this was a massive disappointment.

  • The Old Guard

    The Old Guard

    ★★★

    This is such a wonderful premise and there are occasionally flashes of greatness. Moments of genuine pathos (Andy talking about her mother hit me HARD but maybe this is just me) and moments that are as thrilling as anything I’ve seen recently (the hive-mind gun battle is as good as any of John Wick’s set-pieces). But it seemed like everyone on screen was either bored or embarrassed to be there and this just broadly alienated me from the film.

    Still a bazillion times better than Extraction though.