• Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

    Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

    ★★★★

    When we look back at movies and call them “overrated,” sometimes that’s because they came at just the right time—a time that has since passed. I say that to explain why, at the mid-point of 2022, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On is one of my favorite films of the year. Yes, this is little more than a feature-length adaptation of a series of stop-motion shorts about the daily life of a talking shell with one googly eye and, well,…

  • Relic

    Relic

    ★★★★

    Love how this just keeps going for it, then swerves into an incredibly tender ending.

  • The Lighthouse

    The Lighthouse

    ★★★★

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

    On this revisit, my theory that Pattinson and Dafoe could be playing the same character checks out. Not perfect, but given everything else swirling around in this, it works.

  • The Babadook

    The Babadook

    ★★★★

    Even better (and more harrowing) than I remembered. Likely going to be the lynchpin for the "psychological horror" chapter of Fear Not! A Christian Appreciation of Horror. You can sign up for email updates on the book's progress here: fuller.edu/fearnot

  • Baby Face

    Baby Face

    ★★★★

    Our Barbara Stanwyck Marathon on Filmspotting kicks off Friday with this shocker. You might want to follow along, as there's a chance the series might culminate with another live screening/recording at Chicago's Music Box. Here's the lineup: www.filmspotting.net/marathons

  • Spartacus

    Spartacus

    ★★★★

    Can you really describe Stanley Kubrick as a misanthropic filmmaker if he made something like Spartacus—a heroic paean to the goodness that lies within the human heart, even in the face of slavery and empire? Well, the auteur of the film might better be identified as Kirk Douglas, who served as executive producer and starred as the title character, an enslaved gladiator who leads a revolt against Rome. Douglas starred in Kubrick’s Paths of Glory three years earlier; when the…

  • The Purge

    The Purge

    ★★★½

    Another title I'm including in the "prophetic horror" chapter of Fear Not! A Christian Appreciation of Horror. You can sign up for email updates on the book's progress here: fuller.edu/fearnot

  • I Walked with a Zombie

    I Walked with a Zombie

    ★★★★

    This will be a key text for the "prophetic horror" chapter of Fear Not! A Christian Appreciation of Horror. You can sign up for email updates on the book's progress here: fuller.edu/fearnot

  • Hello, Dolly!

    Hello, Dolly!

    ★★★½

    I underrated this the first time around, but I think I may have been concussed from the force of Streisand's performance. She's still a lot (like Tom Cruise, she performs you into submission), but this time I could gird myself and appreciate her subtler comic timing as well. Matthau worked better for me too, though I still think their central relationship could use a bit more finesse. Mostly, though, it was the expansiveness and ambition of the ensemble numbers that…

  • The People Under the Stairs

    The People Under the Stairs

    ★★★

    The social commentary gets delivered ham-fistedly and the comedy becomes fairly grating (this came out a year after Home Alone and seems as inspired by that slapstick stinker as anything in the horror genre), but The People Under the Stairs nevertheless lingers thanks to its alarming imagery. Written and directed by Wes Craven (A Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream), the movie centers on a boy nicknamed Fool (Brandon Adams) who tags along on a home robbery (the adult thieves are…

  • Elvis

    Elvis

    ★★★

    Early in Elvis, there is a scene set in a carnival funhouse. Its garish colors and warped mirrors lay the aesthetic framework for the movie. Directed by Baz Luhrmann (The Great Gatsby, Moulin Rouge), Elvis zooms through the King of Rock and Roll’s life as if it were running through a funhouse. The film is awash in music (period, anachronistic, and sometimes a mixture of both); bedazzling costumes and makeup (love Elvis’ lace shirts); and a swooping camera that soars…

  • Lightyear

    Lightyear

    ★★★

    One side effect of a tagalong project like Lightyear is that even while the movie is rightly being shrugged off as another reheat, moments of real artistry will get overlooked. The animation in this Toy Story-adjacent adventure is astounding; with each new movie, the studio advances the art form in incremental ways. It’s not only the reverberating realism (the shimmer of a rocket as it hurtles around a star), but the eye for emotional detail (at one point a character…