• Rear Window

    Rear Window

    ★★★★★

    Rewatched it with my daughter for the first time.

    What’s stayed with me after first seeing this movie so many year ago was the intense, almost suffocating tension near the climax, a master class in invoking extreme empathy in audiences. But what I relished this time was the hermetic completeness of the set that Hitchcock built, how it looked so authentically New York-ian even when it was obviously a sound stage, how all of the little things like a sliver…

  • Tom Clancy's Without Remorse

    Tom Clancy's Without Remorse

    ★★

    This is not a great movie, nor even a good one, really. It’s pretty boneheaded, and there are some obvious franchise-building moments that devalue many of its other merits. But the intricacy of the action and the ferocity of Jordan’s performance kept me in my seat. There’s also a potent Black-ness to the film that feels new for this genre; Jordan and Turner-Smith have a fascinating platonic chemistry. It’s also less well explored than it should be; a scene where…

  • The Mercenary

    The Mercenary

    ★★½

    Laboriously political but only intermittently surprising.

  • The Mitchells vs. The Machines

    The Mitchells vs. The Machines

    ★★★½

    There’s a slam dunk case to be made that Lord and Miller have done more to advance CG animated films over the last decade than even Pixar. “The Lego Movie,” “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” and now “The Mitchells vs. The Machines” are changing what’s possible in this genre; these movies look and feel like no other animated film. They’re alive with invention and wit and an irrepressible sense of playfulness that’s infectious. Five minutes into this movie and the fast paced…

  • The Kid Detective

    The Kid Detective

    ★★★

    The wry premise is stretched a little thin, but it's laden with just enough gentle humor to sustain its running time.

  • Godzilla vs. Kong

    Godzilla vs. Kong

    ★★★

    There's nothing truly adventurous here but I do appreciate the no-nonsense, cut-to-the-chase sensibility that fast forwards us past all the unnecessary backstories that other filmmakers would have felt compelled to include. This movie doesn't pretend to be anything but dumb, and I have to admit that made the centerpiece brawl kind of a total delight. Watching the knock ’em down destruction between these two “titans” amidst Hong Kong’s skyscrapers—beautifully and convincingly rendered in exquisite CG detail—got my blood going.

  • Midnight Run

    Midnight Run

    ★★★★

    Even though it’s occasionally obfuscated by too many “Smokey and the Bandit” style car crashes and pyrotechnics, this script is a sterling example of classic Hollywood form. It lays down a perfect road movie setup as a foundation for irresistible character portraiture. And the performances are amazing; when I first saw it as a kid, I was taken by Grodin’s deadpan precision, which is still masterful. But this time I realized that DeNiro is more than a straight man here.…

  • Death Rides a Horse

    Death Rides a Horse

    ★★★½

    Rock solid if not particularly surprising spaghetti western with a rousing score.

  • In the Mood for Love

    In the Mood for Love

    ★★★★

    I fell head over heels for Wong Kar-wai when I was in my twenties and so I’m very partial to his work. “Chungking Express” was very important to me during many long, formative years trying to figure out what it meant to be looking for love.

    I’m still a fan, and when I rewatched “In the Mood for Love” recently it felt like a true luxury—not in the sense of something being expensive and inessential, but in the way of…

  • National Treasure

    National Treasure

    ★★

    Somehow seems quaint now that you could make an action movie out of a bunch of visits to tourist traps.

  • Nobody

    Nobody

    ★★½

    Revenge is a dependable thrill, but when it’s delivered by an underdog, that’s bankable. Watching Bob Odenkirk, cast against type here as a dad with a "a very particular set of skills," the thrills are genuine, but they don’t fully satisfy. Odenkirk himself is, surprisingly, convincing as a vengeance machine. But the script is treading water in territory that’s too familiar now after "Taken" and "John Wick": we get pretty much the same kind of sketchily hinted sordid backstory, roughly…

  • The Big Gundown

    The Big Gundown

    ★★★★

    I expected a serviceable, B-level spaghetti western with a lot of Lee Van Cliff squinting and plenty of hyperbolic gunplay. That’s all there, but halfway through, this movie suddenly reveals an unexpectedly complex hidden agenda that throws the protagonist into real moral tension. It was a complete delight.