Favorite films

  • Playground
  • The Sadness
  • The Big Red One
  • Superexpress

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  • Ransom

    ★★★½

  • Ransom!

    ★★★

  • The Horse

    ★★★½

  • Cut Off

    ★★★

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  • She

    She

    ★★★★

    Avi Nesher fell asleep while watching a Conan/Conquest/Road Warrior marathon and someone transmuted the ensuing dream into celluloid.

    SHE is yet another Pyun-AF kitchen-sink rollercoaster from Nesher (would make a great pairing with Pyun’s Knights): a goofily anarchic post-apocalyptic sword-&-mutants adventure; a genre whirlwind crashing through a Halloween costume shop and garage sale to create a slapdash future-fantasy landscape of football-pad clown marauders, chainsaw-wielding mummies, telekinetic cult king and his monks, Nazi knights, oracle caves and graffitied streets and more,…

  • Revenge

    Revenge

    ★★★★

    Honestly this could probably go toe-to-toe with Harakiri as a furious evisceration of bushido, and not merely because Revenge is also written by Shinobu Hashimoto and shares a similar structure of grim flashbacks interspersed with the present’s fateful revenge duel. In Tadashi Imai's zankoku jidaigeki (aka the “cruel” niche of the genre), a trifling insult about a dirty spear snowballs into an absurdly-unscrupulous clan-threatening quagmire of sacrificial hypocrisy and fatalistic bloodshed.

    Said insult leads to a secret duel between lowly…

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  • Ransom

    Ransom

    ★★★½

    Only made sense to follow up Segal’s Ransom! with Ron Howard’s four-decade-later reimagining. What 1996’s Ransom loses in classic pathos and intimate drama, it compensates with a tense father-vs-kidnapper clash of will as the premise is sculpted into a Mel Gibson vehicle fraught with violent gambles and backstabbing crooks.

    Gibson doesn’t come close to Ford’s put-upon wrath-of-god conviction but he sure sells the remake’s unlikable desperate dad (How depressingly ironic is that “I had the devil in me back then.…

  • Ransom!

    Ransom!

    ★★★

    Most effective during its first-act calm, featuring fantastically endearing chemistry between Glenn Ford and Donna Reed, and between them and their young son Andy. Ransom is decently compelling as the stagey humanistic struggle of a father deciding whether to pay the ransom for his son (leading to its clever twist on that premise); its greatest strength lies in Ford’s sweaty-brow conviction during the film’s tense conversations and his televised declaration to the kidnapper. Unfortunately Reed gets sidelined about halfway through,…

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  • Gunpowder Milkshake

    Gunpowder Milkshake

    ★★

    There’s a section mid-film where Karen Gillan has a gun and knife taped to her paralyzed arms, swinging them around to fight a trio of hobbled goons, all of them awkwardly trying to kill eachother. During those brief minutes of inspired physical comedy, Gunpowder Milkshake threatens to become something inventive, fun, and different.

    No amount of Gillan swagger, Lena Headey murdering guys with gun-knives, or Angela Bassett doing her best Hammer Girl impression could save this movie though. Remember when…

  • Malignant

    Malignant

    ★★★★½

    Despite admiring Saw, liking Death Sentence and having a good time with Aquaman, I’ve always been somewhat mixed on James Wan. The Conjuring and Insidious never grabbed me (although the former is well overdue for a revisit). His films just seemed to...exist among the wider horror scene, while I gravitated more towards the likes of The Witch and Hereditary.

    But I am 110% here for the James Wan of Malignant. The director cashes in his Fast & Furious/Aquaman/Conjuring blank check on…