• Three O'Clock High

    Three O'Clock High

    It’s a sub-90 minute 80s high school comedy, so who cares, but I don’t know, this kinda sucks? I literally didn’t laugh once, but are there even attempts a jokes here? It’s one of those screenplay ideas that sounds funny - bully tells protagonist they’re going to fight at 3 o’clock; he tries everything he can to get out of it - but it basically just relies on us thinking the idea is humorous and doesn't try much harder than…

  • Misbehaviour

    Misbehaviour

    This is a well-intentioned film. A totally passable, relatively enjoyable watch, but it feels eerily similar to so many of these recent British films that are usually based on a true story and often could be categorised as “message” movies. Think Pride, Made In Dagenham and Their Finest. You’d think, being based on true stories, these would have very little to do with each other, but you can often set your watch to their structural beats. Usually it’s an outsider…

  • Dragged Across Concrete

    Dragged Across Concrete

    ★★★★★

    I suspected I might have actually loved this film the first time I watched it, but I couldn’t get past the idea that it may have been the right-wing fantasy some claimed it was. I’ve watched it again, and now I’m pretty sure it isn’t. On my first viewing I hadn’t seen a Zahler film before and the casting of Mel Gibson as a cop gave me certain expectations. Obviously the movie will use and critique Gibson’s personal struggles and…

  • Moscow on the Hudson

    Moscow on the Hudson

    Russian Robin Williams defects to America when his circus troupe visits New York. This is a easily digestible film that’s never truly great in any capacity. It’s also a movie that definitely feels at home in the 80s. It’s the tail end of the Cold War, so this is a film that still quickly establishes the America = Good, Russia = Bad idea, painting Williams’ home country as a bureaucratic hellhole where people have to queue for hours just to…

  • I'm Thinking of Ending Things

    I'm Thinking of Ending Things

    I wasn't a fan of the book when I read it a few years ago, so hearing Kaufman was adapting it left me in a pretty unexcited state for this movie. Fortunately he basically just uses the skeleton of the book as his structure, expanding it into a much more typically Kaufman experience. That’s especially true of the ending, the weakest part of the book, which is far more interesting here because it’s not a blunt twist seemingly designed for…

  • Universal Soldier: Regeneration

    Universal Soldier: Regeneration

    It’s Hyams again, so I thought this might have the absurdly dark, almost Phillipe Grandrieux-esque atmosphere that Day Of Reckoning has a few years later, but no. You can kind of see the skeleton of it forming, and the film certainly looks a lot better than 95% of direct-to-video stuff, but it’s kind of in-between your typical Van Damme/Lundgren film and what’s to come. Day Of Reckoning remains my white whale viewing of the year; a film that feels like…

  • Flash of Genius

    Flash of Genius

    A film about a guy inventing a superior type of windshield wiper turns out to be pretty compelling! It’s a poor man’s Dark Waters from earlier this year, but considering how much I adore that film, I guess that’s kind of complimentary. Obviously this doesn’t have Todd Haynes’ excellent direction, the same brooding atmosphere, or the deeper look at family disintegration during these kinds of legal battles nor the constant struggle to feel like you’re actually achieving any sort of…

  • Lucky Numbers

    Lucky Numbers

    Well, it's definitely a movie. Nothing is egregiously bad but there's also barely anything memorable, except maybe an impressive visual gag involving a truck. This is the only movie Ephron directed that she didn't also write, which is maybe why it doesn't really feel much like one of her films. Even in her lesser work there’s usually easily identifiable Ephronisms, like humorous quips about life’s little idiosyncrasies or an impressive sense of place. Even Michael, this film’s quasi-counterpart since it's…

  • The Gift

    The Gift

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    Well, it turned out this wouldn’t have been a good pick for a family movie night after all. Good call, mom!

    I’m not smart. I can probably count on one hand the amount of movie twists I’ve guessed. I can distinctly recall guessing the twist to Secret Window from like the third shot for some reason, and Goodnight Mommy just because years of watching movies made it a little easier to become aware of the filmmaking tricks utilised to keep…

  • Booksmart

    Booksmart

    ★★★★★

    The rare full-family movie night. My sister and I were both back home and we all (thought) we’d decided on watching one movie, before my mom backed out when she read the description and thought it sounded too scary (it was The Gift, the Bateman one not the Blanchett one). So then we scrambled to find something else, and on a whim I suggested this, which no one else had seen. We very rarely watch this sort of comedy all…

  • Tenet

    Tenet

    A character 10 minutes into the film: “don’t try to understand it.”

    Good advice! It’s not that it’s overly confusing, as it’s always pretty easy to follow the bones of the story and what the objective of each scene is. But it is easy to miss specifics. The pace of it means that the hows and whys are often obscured, and you don’t know until later whether the information you’re missing is being revealed soon of if you just missed…

  • Roger & Me

    Roger & Me

    General Motors CEO Roger Smith closes a factory in Flint, Michigan, wiping away 30,000 jobs. Michael Moore asks a variety of people throughout the movie what the now-unemployed former factory workers should do, and every answer is a variation of “get up and do something”, “pull up your bootstraps”, “cheer up”, etc. Nobody offers anything but motivational poster bullshit. You’d almost believe these people were fictional caricatures if it wasn’t so real. Even Reagan visits some locals and tells them…