• A Tale of Two Sisters

    A Tale of Two Sisters

    ★★★½

    Effective slow burn horror that maybe gets a little lost in its convoluted plotting. A pair of sisters arrive at an ominous house after a stay in an institution for unspecified reasons. We're introduced to their bizarre family made up of a father and stepmother who both behave strangely and interact with the children in off-putting ways. It takes a solid 20 - 30 minutes before we get into anything scarier than "why am I so uncomfortable about this dinner"…

  • The Taking of Pelham One Two Three

    The Taking of Pelham One Two Three

    ★★★★½

    Incredibly well paced thriller that delivers on everything it's trying to do. A group of four men take control of a subway train with a brutally simple demand: one million dollars in an hour or one passenger dies per minute. Our perspective bounces between the men on the train, the passengers, an officer in the tunnel, and the subway command center where a transit police lieutenant handles the negotiations. These viewpoints are managed masterfully, slowly building its plotlines and characters…

  • The Devil Wears Prada

    The Devil Wears Prada

    ★★★½

    Rock solid comedy elevated by the impressive cast. I had absorbed more of this through references than I realized so it felt like rewatching it even though this was a first watch. Really like the way this humanizes the Streep character without having her change into someone different overnight for a redemption arc. Fully insane that Anne Hathaway is referred to as "fat" and "ugly" at multiple points in this movie. Justice for Tucci.

  • Suzanne's Career

    Suzanne's Career

    ★★★½

    Finally diving back in to Rohmer after working through his Comedies and Proverbs series a while back. Suzanne's Career is the second of his Six Moral Tales series and shows the director feeling out his style in real time. As expected the plot is low stakes and involves tangled romances and unlikable men. Where Comedies and Proverbs tends to be from the woman's point of view these first two Moral Tales are rooted in those obnoxious male characters and the…

  • Malignant

    Malignant

    ★★★½

    Way late to the party on this one but it is indeed a wild ride. Odd, soapy performances and an out of place police procedural subplot plant the seeds early for what will ultimately become a gloriously goofy delight. Only knowing that there's some kind of crazy twist we decided to make a game out of writing down our theories before watching which, if you've seen the movie, is a hilariously doomed undertaking. What's most impressive is how Wan is…

  • Prey

    Prey

    ★★★½

    An awesome premise executed with the wisdom to realize that you don't really need more than a stripped down story to go with it. The setting is refreshing and actually interesting, giving life to a franchise that seemed to be stopped dead in its tracks with Shane Black's widely hated 2018 re-boot. The hand-to-hand action is a crunchy, gory delight and a compelling point of contrast with the predator's futuristic tech. Story beats are simple but the characters come through…

  • Uncharted

    Uncharted

    ★★

    Casting Tom Holland as Nathan Drake and Mark Wahlberg as Sully is such a hilariously doomed adaptation that it's almost impressive to have a watchable movie at the end of the day. Holland only seems comfortable shouting "Oh crap!" in the opening set piece equivalent of "yep, that's me" and fails completely to register as anything but the kid in over his head. Wahlberg, as the prickly mentor, is just a complete misunderstanding of the appeal of the character they're…

  • X2

    X2

    ★★★½

    X-Men watch continues with the 2003 sequel. Still enjoying how quaint these feel by modern standards with X2 functioning at least partially as a political thriller filled with sleeper agents and hidden motivations. It manages to build on the first film without losing the character-first mentality or inundating you with comic book lore. Several memorable sequences from the white house to storming the school to everything around the second Cerebro and it's supremely well paced. I continue to be baffled by the Wolverine/Jean Gray stuff but there's barely enough here to even complain about it. Solid movie, loved Magneto teaming up with the main crew.

  • Happy Together

    Happy Together

    ★★★★

    Probably my second favorite Wong after In the Mood For Love. Much prefer him in this mode where it's a fragmented look at a few characters and not the more chaotic split narratives of Fallen Angels or Chungking Express. What a great coincidence it was that I also watched Midnight Cowboy this week because they feel like companion pieces, both featuring a gay man nursing another man back to health in difficult financial situations. Really liked how kind of mean…

  • Fear and Desire

    Fear and Desire

    ★★

    Blank Check Podcast watch along:
    Stanley Kubrick

    Kubrick's inauspicious debut is somewhat interesting in the DNA it shares with Paths of Glory and especially Full Metal Jacket but offers little else. It clocks in at just over an hour and follows four soldiers stuck behind enemy lines as they try and plan a way back to their allies. The idea is to show the horrors of war and the dehumanizing effect it has on all participants. To its credit there…

  • Midnight Cowboy

    Midnight Cowboy

    ★★★★

    Not a big fan of Dustin Hoffman in this but on the other hand I don't think I've seen John Voight better. At this point "I'm walkin' here" is what has stuck around culturally so I was surprised at how melancholy this was and at the actual story beats. Joe Buck (Voight) takes a bus from Texas straight to New York City with the naïve idea that he has a successful career as a sex worker in store. Looking every…

  • Crimson Peak

    Crimson Peak

    ★★★½

    I was so convinced this was a vampire movie and everything kept reaffirming that. A strange, pale, european, dark-haired pair of siblings arrive in a town and seem up to no good? And they own an estate that's bleeding from the walls??? Turns out it's actually just a gothic romance with a ghost story running through it but it's pretty good!

    The design and color palette are striking, the performances are compelling, I just think it goes out with a…