• Saw II

    Saw II

    ★★★½

    75

    "Oh yes. There will be blood."

    Slight refining of what would make the Saw series stand out in all the best and worst ways, mostly tossing solid performances aside in favor of twisty, macabre fun with energetic directing from Saw veteran Darren Lynn Bousman, it's got the style down pat despite the lackluster performances, but the fun factor is really there. I meant to marathon the series for Sprial, but the mood really never struck me and I stopped…

  • Luca

    Luca

    ★★★★

    83

    "Silenzio Bruno!"

    This is one Pixar movie I actually forgot about, and turns out this might be my favorite of theirs during this pandemic? Actually restrained and as little nonsense as possible, it makes for a great hangout flick with two boys finding themselves on the land of Italy. The movie understands its own objective as soon as it starts, and develops the world and characters with absolute ease. The stakes are as low as you've heard, but it…

  • Spiral: From the Book of Saw

    Spiral: From the Book of Saw

    ★★★

    64

    "The sprial... a symbol of change, evolution, progress."

    More of a procedural than a proper Saw movie, though it does deliver the usual Saw thrills, and this stars an interesting duo in Chris Rock and Max Minghella as they partner to discover a killer who might be a disciple of long dead Jigsaw, who also happens to have it out for cops. It's made known that Chris Rock has been a fan of these movies, and it does show,…

  • In The Heights

    In The Heights

    ★★★½

    72

    "I'm home."

    It seemed as if Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jon M. Chu had struck gold with In the Heights, a vibrant portrayal of a proud Black Latinx neighborhood in New York City, with early praise being rained upon this. I can't say I'm a real fan of musicals but there have been a handful that impressed me and more. Additionally, Lin-Manuel Miranda has certainly put out great songs, so I figured I'd be in for a good time. I…

  • Once Upon a Time in the West

    Once Upon a Time in the West

    ★★★★★

    94

    "So you've found out you're not a businessman after all."
    "Just a man."

  • Run

    Run

    ★★★

    62

    "You need me."

    A tonally confused thriller with two excellent performances by Paulson and Allen, and there's just enough going on to intrigue just about anyone. At the end, it's dumb and silly, and maybe not nearly adequate but I had fun.

  • The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It

    The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It

    ★★½

    57

    “Where do we start?” 
    “From the beginning.”

    After two excellent Conjuring films by James Wan who has proven to be very reliable in the horror genre, but it wasn’t too surprising that he left the director’s chair for the third film. But I still had confidence that Wan found the right one to do this film. After all, Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga were essential to the first two films. This film just needed an assured and steady hand.…

  • Bo Burnham: Inside

    Bo Burnham: Inside

    ★★★★

    80


    Raw, creative, honest, and really funny. It's been a hard year for millions of us, and Burnham reflects on that in his own way. Made in the way that doesn't necessarily feel like it was made to be watched by millions, but it helped him to get through the incredibly difficult year that was 2020. Maybe it can help us as well. Really dug this, related to some of it, but I was mostly entertained yet it also made me reflect on 2020 as well. Super effective and intelligent all around.

  • The Dark and the Wicked

    The Dark and the Wicked

    ★★

    38

    “I just want to forget about this place.”

    In a couple days, I sure will forget about this movie. I gambled on this since I was in the mood to get really fucked up but instead this almost put me to sleep. I did know that this one was kind of divisive but I hoped I would have a good time at least. There’s solid scares and body horror but everything else just feels wrong. The actors all look…

  • A Quiet Place Part II

    A Quiet Place Part II

    ★★★★

    79

    "Dive."

    I returned to the theaters after 14 months. I felt safe, and the theater was clean. I watched it in Dolby, with these great leather recliner seats. It felt good to be back to the movies!

    So I really enjoyed this one. I'd say it's on equal footing with the first film, but with different strengths and weaknesses. I think the writing is sloppier, but the set pieces are ingenious and moves from one to another seamlessly. Krasinski…

  • A Quiet Place

    A Quiet Place

    ★★★★

    77

    "We have to protect them."

    Yeah, I'm more convinced that this was meant for theaters. It's still a good viewing at home, but I had the luck to have a really quiet audience for the most part back in 2018, and it really added to the experience for me. Pretty clear that they were super into it, as I recall. A quick 90 minute tension-filled affair with decent characters and thrills to keep you on the edge of your…

  • Cruella

    Cruella

    ★★★½

    73

    “I’m just getting started, darling.”

    Doesn’t take itself seriously at all, and I loved that. Yeah, I have fond memories with 101 Dalmatians, but I was never really certain if we really needed a “origin” story for none other than Cruella de Vil, although Emma Stone’s casting certainly piqued my interest. All that being said, I genuinely enjoyed this. Throughly self-aware and unfathomably silly, Cruella is a treat to watch and enjoy with its seemingly endless needle drops, mostly kinetic pacing, and of course with Emma Stone and Emma Thompson’s excellent performances.