• Mad God

    Mad God

    ★★★½

    Gross, upsetting, constantly innovative, nauseatingly rich, cutely homemade in places, incomprehensible. What more could you ask for.

  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

    The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

    ★★½

    Why is there so much faux slow-mo in this movie

  • A Moment of Innocence

    A Moment of Innocence

    ★★★★★

    Completely wonderful, constantly surprising, small in a huge way. If you like the postmodern realism of Abbas Kiarostami, seek this one out!

  • Back Track

    Back Track

    Cute and nicely sound-designed, though also a bit too lightweight to stick.

  • Final Cut: Ladies and Gentlemen

    Final Cut: Ladies and Gentlemen

    ★★★½

    A fun premise that remains watchable and enjoyable for its whole feature length: an archetypal love story told through scenes plucked out of movies popular and not so popular, edited together to match and continue the action so smoothly that you stop caring when Avatar turns into Gold Rush, or Laura Dern turns into a Hungarian actor. 

    While it’s technically impressive and affable, it’s also a little conservative for my taste. The montages usually repeat the main beat, point, or…

  • The Vast of Night

    The Vast of Night

    ★½

    I’ll resist the urge to go deep on everything wrong here—cruddy cinematography, scrambled script, cheesy framing device, impotent ideas—since I want to love this kind of movie, and there’s clearly talented work at play. But it doesn’t come close to redeeming it. Disappointment is worse than disliking something you had no expectations of. 

    P.S. There’s only one properly lit shot in the whole movie, and it happens when the dude’s face gets hit by a car’s headlights.

  • The Stalls of Barchester

    The Stalls of Barchester

    ★★½

    I love this whole BBC milieu, but Stalls was simultaneously too slow and padded out, and also too slight and underdeveloped.

  • The Florida Project

    The Florida Project

    ★★★★★

    Auuughhh

  • The Tragedy of Macbeth

    The Tragedy of Macbeth

    ★★½

    Not that anyone’s looking to get their Shakespeare takes from me, but I didn’t really click with this. The visuals are very “indie video game concept art”; the editing is sloppy in places; the performances are “fine” across the board but given little cinematic room to truly shine; only Hassell and Hunter really stand out. There’s a plasticky, metronomic quality to it that produced a grand total of one big shrug. 

    Mostly, it wasn’t transformative or unique enough to justify…

  • A Dog's Will

    A Dog's Will

    ★★★★

    A magnificently entertaining religious screwball comedy, so dated in its humor and style that it transcends into timeless elegance. It’s a nonstop romp with hysterical performances, often erratic editing, and a script that’s like a joke told by a tipsy uncle—and all of these factors only make it more likeable. Wonderful!

  • Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

    Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

    ★★★★½

    Just a super comfortable pair-of-jeans movie to put on. That sells short the effort and skill it takes to pull this off effortlessly, and few even try to do so these days. Aubrey/Maturin relationship is believable and deep from the first scene, an all-time great screen romance.

  • The Humans

    The Humans

    ★½

    Didn’t really get or appreciate this on any level. The script feels fundamentally fake, forced hysterics that are almost a parody of “drama.” Instead of building on itself, the whole thing proceeds like a slideshow of random, mild dysfunctional-family unpleasantness.

    The performances should be stellar in something like this, but they’re neither that, nor captured well. Everyone’s acting past each other, and the spoopy editing—is it trying hard not to appear stagey or what?—doesn’t help. 

    The occasional Big Reveal is…