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  • Wake in Fright

    Wake in Fright

    ★★★★½

    Yes, yes, yes. I am so pumped for this movie after I just finished it. It's completely unique, yet totally straightforward; gritty and nasty, yet kind-hearted. You've seen many movies where a city slicker gets schooled on the ways of rural folk, but there's a crucial twist here: Gary Bond's British teacher despising the Australian outback he's forced to live in descends into depraved hillbilly madness not due to the cruelty of the locals, but because of their welcoming nature. I guarantee you'll go "wow, I've never seen that" at a dozen scenes here at least.

  • The Love Witch

    The Love Witch

    ★★★★

    A 70s-horror throwback that commits to the genre's most esoteric and difficult aspects. It hovers on the edge of parody for just a moment, but it has a confident vision and constantly goes to new places. Unique.

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  • Starship Troopers

    Starship Troopers

    ★★★★★

    It's as good an action/sci-fi movie as has ever been made, and on top of it, it's a subversive, complex, yet highly entertaining examination of the cost of social order. It has held up beautifully over the past 15 years, and in retrospect, it's one of the best movies of the 1990s.

  • The Master

    The Master

    ★★★

    It's perfectly fine for a movie to have an elusive core, to not be about anything in particular. But when that is the case, it should at least populate the screen with enough varied ideas to invite engagement. The Master is a claustrophobic, one-track tale(?) and so the overwhelming emotions it invokes are befuddlement and, often, boredom.

    The titular Master is very mildly based on Scientology's L. Ron Hubbard, and references that spell this out do the movie no favors,…