• National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

    National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

    ★★½

    The follow-up to National Lampoon’s Vacation is little more than a continuation of the same characters and the same type of silly comedy that audiences had fallen for six years prior. 
    Sure, it’s still fun to watch Chevy Chase make things complicated and awkward at every turn, but none of his efforts feel as fresh, or as polished as they once did, even if they are set against the backdrop of the holiday season. 
    Aside from its terrible lack of…

  • It's a Wonderful Life

    It's a Wonderful Life

    ★★★★★

    It took over 17 years in the US and more than ten years as an aspiring cinephile to finally get acquainted with Frank Capra’s beloved film “It’s a Wonderful Life.” 
    Until today, it was the most elusive of all blindspots, getting cozy in the depths of my must-watch list only to find itself bested, time and again, by lesser newer releases that, in hindsight, deserved less of my time. 

    A ubiquitous part of network television programming during the holiday season,…

  • A Bridge Too Far

    A Bridge Too Far

    ★★★½

    An engrossing watch that acts as a historical document of sorts that pays a great deal of attention to the specifics of a risky and wide-ranging military operation. For a film released in 1977, it was certainly impressive to see the scale of this effort, as well as the wealth of talent on screen, which includes the likes of Sean Connery, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Gene Hackman and James Caan, just to name a few.

    Having seen many films set in…

  • The Secret World of Arrietty

    The Secret World of Arrietty

    ★★★½

    In typical Studio Ghibli fashion there’s plenty to marvel at in the Secret World of Arrietty. There is an incredible level of craftsmanship to the animation, and an attention to detail that enriches the film.
    The world of the “little people” who live below the floor boards of a country home is filled with wonder as even the smallest blade of grass or the smallest drop of water is amplified. 14-year old Arrietty cherishes her world, and that sense of…

  • To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar

    To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar

    ★★★½

    The perfect antidote to these troubled times. A film I once glanced at in my youth but that I was too afraid to embrace (I was still closeted and afraid).
    This 1995 film is proof that you can still make a good film out of a less than stellar script. 
    The late Patrick Swayze, Wesley Snipes and John Leguizamo are all fantastic here; delivering plenty of moments of sheer fabulosity and great comedy. 
    Most of all, I appreciate how these…

  • A Secret Love

    A Secret Love

    ★★★★

    There is plenty of self-awareness in the gay community. Even today, when we can finally aspire to the same rights as everyone else (though not in every State), we burden ourselves with the fear of knowing that a good portion of the population doesn't condone our lifestyle. We are some of the best actors out there, imitating others so that we can at least be "gay enough" to fit in with the LGTB community or "butch enough" to fit in…

  • Alien

    Alien

    ★★★★★

    In these pandemic-troubled times, Alien hits a little close to home. I had forgotten how Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) repeatedly denies part of the crew entry back into the ship due to “quarantine procedures” after one has been attacked by the horrific “Face-hugger”. 
    In what must have been my twentieth or so viewing of one of my favorite films, I keep discovering new things about it even if, on the surface, it appears to be nothing more than a well-produced and designed piece of sci-fi horror. 
    How good is Ian Holm as Ash? Such a great performance.

  • The Two Popes

    The Two Popes

    ★★★★

    Ancient institutions, such as the Catholic Church, have always been a curiosity of mine. This film doesn’t just feed that interest, but it attempts to enlighten us as to the spiritual reminiscing of two great preachers of the faith. 
    Though I appreciated some of the film’s literary tangents, I also found myself at odds with the film’s attempt to lecture us about politics and economic models. 
    As much time as the film spent as a simple conversation between two very…

  • Good Boys

    Good Boys

    ★★★½

    For every childish joke, there were at least twice as many clever ones. From the childproof caps, to all of their innocent remarks about sex, Good Boys manages to push boundaries without being downright offensive. 
    The three “tweens” in the lead are all magnificent in different ways. Really good casting. 
    To echo what many others have already said about the film: the last few scenes were the weakest and they felt out of place. It was as if the writers (or the studio) were compelled to teach a lesson about friendship and growing up in the last act. This particular film didn’t need any of that.

  • Marriage Story

    Marriage Story

    ★★★★½

    Or the story about how two people so right for each other can also be so wrong. 
    Beautifully written. Devastating and real. Career best performances from Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson and also a career-high for director Noah Baumbach. One of the best films of 2019.

  • The Dead Don't Die

    The Dead Don't Die

    ★★½

    An occasional metaphor and a rare funny exchange cannot save this tedious and largely uninspired exercise in the satirical (and political) horror genre. 
    George Romero did it best decades ago, giving audiences something to fear when the undead came out from their graves to eat the living. 
    The film’s saving grace is the cast. The straight-faced Bill Murray is, per usual, perfectly apt for satire. The equally unmoved and unimpressed Adam Driver has the best lines in the film, but…

  • Treasure Planet

    Treasure Planet

    ★★★½

    It is surprising that more people didn’t go for this back in 2002. Without high expectations, I found Treasure Planet to be quite interesting; having more in common with a studio Ghibli production than with its western counterparts.
    The experimental approach of combining CGI with traditional hand-drawn animation was mostly successful. Though the character design itself may have been a bit too odd (or ugly some may say) to be embraced by Western audiences, the experience of watching Treasure Planet…