• This Is Spinal Tap

    This Is Spinal Tap

    ★★★★

    This is Spinal Tap’s charm doesn’t just come from the dead-on parodies and spoofs. It’s not just the hilarious bits that viciously skewer their targets, either. No, the film’s true genius lies in creating a cast of characters so utterly ridiculous and lacking in self-awareness that you can’t help but find them endearing.

    Spinal Tap’s two-and-a-half protagonists are vain, dim-witted, venal, and conceited. But you still feel for them as they struggle to maintain relevance in the twilight of their…

  • Caddyshack

    Caddyshack

    ★★★

    While certain bits are still classics, like the lamp scene and, "he says to me, the Lama," much of Caddyshack has not aged particularly well. From the snail's pacing to the undercooked side-plots to the casual use of the words "homo" and "negro," much of the movie feels like it truly comes from a bygone era. Bill Murray and Rodney Dangerfield's respective screen presences still manage to really shine through, but they aren't enough to make up for the pervasive unfunny frivolity.

  • Billionaire Boys Club

    Billionaire Boys Club

    ½

    More like Billionaire Boys Flub. No seriously though, this movie is terrible.

  • The Master

    The Master

    ★★★★½

    When you put three phenomenal actors together with possibly the best character study director alive, the result is a real treat. The Master is rather light on story, instead directing its energy toward exploring the relationship between three deeply messed up people. Style and feeling take precedence here, and for my money there aren’t a great many who do either one better than Paul Thomas Anderson.

    I love the contours of the interplay between Phoenix’s Freddie Quell and Hoffman’s Lancaster…

  • Swingers

    Swingers

    ★★★½

    Doug Liman's 1996 rat pack revival spoof Swingers is a simple story of aspiring comedian Mike trying to get a date just a short six months after ending a six-year relationship and moving to Los Angeles.

    Underneath that veneer, this is a film about imitation. Mike (John Favreau) and Trent (Vince Vaughn) take a road trip to Vegas early on. Mike insists that they wear suits so the casino workers will think they're high rollers and give them free stuff.…

  • The Queen's Gambit

    The Queen's Gambit

    ★★½

    Given that this is a series about an orphan chess prodigy’s ascent to the highest echelons of the chess world, it might sound weird to say . . . there’s too much chess! Or it's not that there’s too much chess exactly, but there isn’t enough in terms of human drama or conflict underpinning the chess. While stylish and at times quite stunning, The Queen’s Gambit fails to stir the seas of emotion.

    Have you ever seen the movie Happy…

  • The Dictator

    The Dictator

    ★½

    The only parts that made me laugh came when he was Admiral General Aladeen at home in Wadiya, which makes me think this would have worked a lot better as a series of sketches on Da Ali G Show.

  • Being There

    Being There

    ★★★★½

    A housebound grown man with the mind of a child whose only knowledge comes from what he sees on the screen? I feel personally attacked.

  • The Haunting of Bly Manor

    The Haunting of Bly Manor

    The moment that encapsulates my lack of engagement with The Haunting of Bly Manor is when Danielle, the nanny, is flashing back to her fiancé's death. She just watched a man she loves get absolutely beefed by a huge truck, and while her face matches the moment, her posture does not at all. She's just sitting in the passenger seat, shoulders relaxed, hands in her lap—for a solid five or six seconds. She doesn't tense up, she doesn't grab at…

  • The Witch

    The Witch

    ★★★★★

    The Horror genre has often been used to explore not just visceral fears like spiders and snakes, but societal ones. Zombies can represent racial strife, deformed hillbillies can remind city-slickers not to stray too far from civilization, and an escaped mental patient can show us how fragile the veneer of suburban security truly is. But what did colonists in the New World fear? What would they make a horror movie about? Robert Eggers’ beautifully shot nail-biter The Witch sets out…

  • Paranormal Activity

    Paranormal Activity

    ★★

    I sure hope the demon is a symbol of this couple's unhealthy relationship because it would be a weird coincidence otherwise.

  • Halloween III: Season of the Witch

    Halloween III: Season of the Witch

    ★½

    Halloween III’s greatest strength is without a doubt the gritty brutality of its kills. People in this movie don’t just get murdered, they get fucked up. Also strong was the first third or so of the story, when it’s setting up this mysterious company with mysterious gloved agents who never say a word.

    But it started to flag a little around the time they got to the company town. As Silver Shamrock’s evil plot unfolded, I found myself less and…