• Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo

    Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo

    ★★★★

    This entry in the rebuild series, my favorite thus far, feels almost paradoxical. It's a massive deviation from the original story and the first entry which truly feels like an individual and satisfying film in its own right; conversely, without any knowledge of the previous story (and, I admit, even with plenty of it), the plot is borderline unintelligible. But despite the convoluted narrative (and possibly because of it), it's absolutely invigorating. Though it's the shortest of the three, it…

  • Paths of Glory

    Paths of Glory

    ★★★★

    This consistently subverted my expectations in ways that I appreciate but also found surprisingly bleak for an older film. One of the most effective and incisive anti-war films I've ever seen, though one I don't imagine I'll return to any time soon, solely because of how bitter and unpleasant it is.

  • The Killing

    The Killing

    ★★★★

    Apart from Rififi, I don't think I've seen any other noir heist films, which is a real shame because the traditional characteristics of film noir are perfectly suited for this type of crime caper. Though it's not evident of Kubrick's eventual stylistic trademarks, the filmmaking is absolutely impressive. Easily one of my new favorite noir films, mostly due to the riveting storytelling, taut pacing, and inventive structure.

  • Prey

    Prey

    ★★

    At a certain point I thought, "maybe if this didn't have to be a Predator film, it would fare substantially better because it wouldn't require so much atrocious CGI," but then it starts relying on practical effects and it's still disastrously generic. File under: Cool Video Game Idea.

  • The Happening

    The Happening

    ★★★

    It's very dumb, but unlike some of the recent Shyamalan movies I hate, it doesn't bother me so much, probably because it doesn't dwell on the idiotic details and it keeps the runtime to a tight 90 minutes. Despite the plot holes, I think it works pretty well and the cinematography is fantastic.

  • Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance

    Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance

    ★★★½

    Less focused and tight, this feels like a very long second act to a larger story, but the final 40 minutes are excellent, incorporating and recontextualizing many of my favorite moments and sequences from the series. Can't imagine what it would have been like to wait years for the next entry.

  • Mulholland Drive

    Mulholland Drive

    ★★★★★

    The most powerful use of the cinematic form I've ever seen. No other film is capable of provoking and sustaining such intense visceral and emotional reactions from me. Even after a dozen viewings, it still makes my skin crawl.

  • Bodies Bodies Bodies

    Bodies Bodies Bodies

    ★½

    You know that pointless scene in most generic horror movies where all the characters stop amidst the carnage to air out each other's dirty laundry and tell each other how terrible they are—this is the feature-length version. The cringy twitter-speak dialogue is just the rancid cherry on top.

  • Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone

    Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone

    ★★★½

    As excited as I was to dive straight into the rebuilds, I dreaded this first film. As I'd heard, it sticks very closely to the first six episodes of the series—which took me three tries in as many years to get past—but the film version is a massive improvement. The pacing benefits from the condensed runtime, but the night-and-day difference is in the animation quality, which makes the battles more intense and the characters more vibrant and nuanced. I couldn't be more excited to see where Hideaki Anno takes this story.

  • Come and See

    Come and See

    ★★★½

    I knew going in that this would be disturbing, bleak, and horrific, but I wasn't prepared for how much of the imagery and sound design is crafted to make it feel like an actual horror film. It's undeniably unsettling in a singular way, but at the risk of sounding pedantic, I thought that some of the formal exaggeration diminished the real-life horrors on display—not that it made it any easier to endure. Marginal nitpicks aside, it's an effective and harrowing film, and one I never want to revisit.

  • Irma Vep

    Irma Vep

    Assayas revisits one of his best works, expanding the concise, chaotic film into an 8-part miniseries. The result is frustratingly inconsistent, alternating between esoteric and broad, scathing and toothless, fascinating and dull, amusing and cringy, often in equal measure, but above all else, it's superfluous. Assayas does far less with much more, seemingly using the series to work through his thoughts about the current state of the film industry and his personal feelings about himself—no surprise that Macaigne's character, Assayas's…

  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion

    Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion

    ★★★★

    Being relatively lukewarm on the series itself, I was not prepared for how psychologically complex and emotionally potent this would be. A transfixing odyssey through hope and despair.