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  • The War of the Worlds

    The War of the Worlds

    ★★★★½

    Byron Haskin adapts H.G. Welles’ infamous novella and transplants it from 1900s London to 1950s California. In keeping with the narrative style of the novella, the film is a “just the facts” account of the alien invasion, and though it has characters, they’re as thinly drawn here as they are in the novella.

    Haskin, like Welles, is more interested in how his characters represent various aspects of humanity under duress from an existential threat. Neither man is interested in making…

  • The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover

    The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover

    ★★★★★

    Georgina (Mirren, the Wife) is married to a horribly abusive mobster, Albert (Gambon, the Thief) who along with his gang of cronies runs a protection scam amongst a number of high-end restaurants. Georgina starts an affair with the quiet dining patron, and book lover, Michael (Howard, the Lover) and only the head chef of her husband’s restaurant, Richard (Bohringer, the Cook) can keep their love a secret.

    Here is British filmmaking giant Peter Greenaway at the heigh of his powers…

  • Pain and Glory

    Pain and Glory

    ★★★★

    Salvador (Antonio Banderas) is an aging Spanish film director. He’s kind of creatively lost, uninspred to pursue any of the writing he’s dabbling in. When a retrospective in Madrid includes one of his old films, he reunites with an estranged actor friend and the two of them rekindle their love of...heroin. Interspersed with this tale are extended flashbacks of a young Salvador with his mother, Jacinta (Penelope Cruz).

    Pain and Glory plays out like Almodóvar’s version of 8 1/2 or…

  • An Elephant Sitting Still

    An Elephant Sitting Still

    ★★★★★

    The feel-bad movie of the year. The first, and regrettably, final film by Chinese author-turned-filmmaker Hu Bo is a walloping 4-hour deep dive into a world of suck. 

    Set in the constantly grey and depressing industrial community of Hebei, just south of Beijing, its plot, which runs the course of a single day - sunset to sundown - intertwines four major characters and how they perpetually suffer. 

    Wei Bu is bullied at home and at school, but when he pushes…

  • Jojo Rabbit

    Jojo Rabbit

    ½

    I hate this movie.

    There is only one good thing about this film and it’s Scarlett Johansson’s performance. She’s a delight and comes through this film unscathed.

    Everything else about this film is a dumpster fire.

    Young JoJo grows up in Nazi Germany. He’s sent to a Nazi camp designed to turn young innocent minds into anti-Semitic murderers when an accident with a bomb brings him home to be cared for by his mom. He then discovers she is secretly…

  • Syndromes and a Century

    Syndromes and a Century

    ★★★★½

    The director Achipitapong Weeritheskul (Joe) depicts, from memory and fairy tale, how he thinks his parents first met...twice.

    First, in a rural clinic, his mother is a doctor and his father is a patient, smitten by her beauty. The two meet several times; he’s rather insistent, but she might already be dating a man who breeds a rare species of orchids that glow in the dark.

    Second, his mother works as a doctor in the busy city of Bangkok. Again…

  • Parasite

    Parasite

    ★★★★½

    The Kim family is poor. Husband, wife, son and daughter live in the depths of Seoul barely getting by folding pizza boxes and mooching off free wifi.

    The Park family is rich, living high above the city. The husband is the wealthy owner of a gaming company. The wife is bored and occupies her time sleeping, drinking and finding English and art tutors for her daughter and son.

    The Kim family hatched a plan. They’ll lie and swindle their way…

  • The Lighthouse

    The Lighthouse

    ★★★★★

    It’s the late 1800s, somewhere off the New England coast, Winslow (Robert Pattinson) has been charged to work the lighthouse, under the supervision of Thomas (Willem Dafoe). The work is brutal, the weather worse, and not too soon after, Winslow feels this is less of an equal partnership, and more him being a slave. But that’s when the visions start...

    Director Robert Eggers, inside his tight academy frame and with vivid black and whites, creates the darkest and roughest hallucinatory…

  • Godzilla vs. Gigan

    Godzilla vs. Gigan

    ★★★★½

    People consider this a lesser film? Okay... 🤷‍♂️

    After being hired to create concept art for a Godzilla themed children’s amusement park, manga comic-book illustrator Gengo Kotaka suspects there might be something more sinister going on with his employers. What he and his rag-tag gang of comic loving friends slowly realize is that his employers are secretly cockroach aliens from outer space hellbent on using their newly built amusement parks, complete with its lifelike Godzilla tower, as a trap to…

  • The Long Goodbye

    The Long Goodbye

    ★★★★★

    Awakening from a slumber - that may or may not have been lasting for 30 years - private investigator Phillip Marlowe (Elliot Gould) finds himself on the hunt for the killer of Sylvia, the wife of his friend Terry. She was killed south of the border and when he gets around to it, he’d like to know what, if anything, this has to do with his current case, the disappearance of writer Roger Wade.

    The problem is, he’s kinda passive,…

  • Kagero-za

    Kagero-za

    ★★★★★

    One day, the playwright Shungo Matsuzaki (Matsuda) meets a woman, Shinako (Yasuda) on a bridge. She’s heading to the hospital but afraid to go alone, lest the old woman carrying bladder cherries threatens her again. Matsuzaki and Shinako will meet two other times. The third time, they’ll make love and then she will vanish.

    But she’s not entirely out of Matsuzaki’s life, as she may or may not be the second wife of his wealthy patron, the gun-toting Tamawaki (Nakamura).…

  • Hamlet

    Hamlet

    ★★★★★

    Totally unprepared was I for the spectacle that is Laurence Olivier’s “Hamlet.” More than just the respectable adaptation I had long imagined it was, it is a full-throttle cinematic experience made by a man who’s a scholar of not only Shakespeare, but seemingly the history of film as well. Olivier’s “Hamlet” plays like Shakespeare by way of German Expressionism as he has transplanted those images and camera techniques from the silent era and updated them to the late 1940s.

    The…