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  • The Long Goodbye

    The Long Goodbye

    ★★★★½

    Given my past experiences, I don’t think I can understate this enough: a cat that’s legitimately willing to act is a surefire sign of a great film.

  • The Naked Kiss

    The Naked Kiss

    ★★★★★

    "I saw a broken-down piece of machinery; nothing but the buck, the bed and the bottle for the rest of my life."

    Your average noir-melodrama hybrid in the Leave Her to Heaven/Blue Velvet vein tends to stick close to a "looks like melodrama, plays like noir" model, starting on Technicolor white-picket-fence niceties before stripping them away to reveal the perversion underneath; Fuller doesn't bother with the niceties and starts firmly in noir, digging in further. There's no white picket fences…

  • The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum

    The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum

    ★★★★

    For all intents and purposes a conspiracy thriller filmed from the conspiracy's point of view, watching on carefully and dispassionately as the forces of institutionalized misogyny, right-wing political paranoia, and yellow journalism conspire to push an innocent woman past any rational limit. Features one of the best close-ups I've seen in anything recently with a shot where Katharina exits a police station, drifting more into shadow with each step until nothing's left but darkness and the glint in her eyes; that "fuck you" of an ending's pretty great too.

  • 1408

    1408

    ★★★½

    Totally ridiculous at every turn, with John Cusack delivering a performance so manically scenery-chewing it’s liable to draw Cage comparisons, and yet I can’t help but have a soft spot for it. It’s nice to see a studio horror film that’s interested in something stranger and less concrete than your usual demons and ghouls, let alone something this visually stylized. Can’t speak to its veracity to the King story, but this I do know: this is a damn fine Silent Hill 4 adaptation.

  • Machete

    Machete

    ★★★★

    “There’s the law, and there’s what’s right. I’m gonna do what’s right.”

    Anybody can crank out a cheap grindhouse pastiche on the fly; only a select few have the guts to build that same pastiche around a shotgun blast-blunt critique of systematic American racism. God bless Robert Rodriguez.

  • 24 Hour Party People

    24 Hour Party People

    ★★★★½

    “This is the moment when even the white man starts dancing.”

    Ironically ends up becoming a snapshot of a watershed moment in British pop culture that’s also in itself a snapshot of a totally different watershed moment in British culture - we get a pre-mocap Andy Serkis, a pre-Cornetto Simon Pegg, and both the Ninth Doctor and the Master in the same film. Still totally terrific; nearly everything involving Shaun Ryder is a goddamn riot.

  • Color Out of Space

    Color Out of Space

    ★★★★½

    Rips even harder than I initially gave it credit for. Stanley’s approach is every bit as much twisted occult melodrama as it is extra-dimensional body horror, so dedicated to tearing away the foundations of its chosen genre and exposing the cosmic terror underneath that even film language itself breaks down in its final stretches, images melting and flowing into each other before burning away altogether. Possibly one of the finest Lovecraft film adaptations I’ve seen as of yet.

  • My Name Is Julia Ross

    My Name Is Julia Ross

    ★★★★½

    Between this, Intimidation, and Detour, I’m starting to develop a suspicion that the shorter a noir is, the more likely it is to be an all-timer. Here, we get a seamless, ahead-of-its-time blend of noir, Hitchcockian thriller, and social horror built on class and gender anxieties that most other films of the period were ready to sweep under the rug. Even early in his career, Lewis’s work already shows the kind of cinematic chops he’d get a chance to push…

  • Bathtubs Over Broadway

    Bathtubs Over Broadway

    ★★★★

    Drifts somewhat off course at points, sometimes becoming more about its creator’s personal struggles than about its actual subject, but also fulfills my weird personal obsession with secret American subcultural history to such a degree that I can’t really fault it all that much; even in compromised form, something this strange deserves to be seen. If you ever needed proof that our reality is being ghostwritten by Thomas Pynchon, this is it.

  • My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising

    My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising

    ★★★★

    [live reaction footage of me during the last 15 minutes of this movie]

    Absolutely 100% Plus Ultra (yes I watch the show please don’t make fun of me) gets that when you break them down to their core levels, the best superhero stories are basically soap opera: oversized personalities clashing in spectacular ways, storytelling more concerned with emotional impact than it is with subtlety or logic. It’s easy to get swept up in the scale of this movie’s destruction or…

  • The Invisible Man

    The Invisible Man

    ★★★★½

    When I call this movie “offensive”, I mean it in the best, most complimentary way possible: from the first shot onwards, Whannell is constantly using film grammar and framing as a weapon against you, training you to check every inch of the frame for something you know you’re not going to see anyway. Petrifying from start to finish, all anchored by a magnificently twitchy performance from Moss - even when she’s made to look like she’s losing her grip on…

  • Brahms: The Boy II

    Brahms: The Boy II

    One decent shot does not make a good movie. Extra points off for slapping jumpscare noises on random moments in shots and calling them scares even if nothing’s happening. I think I have a newfound appreciation for Cats - at least that movie actually wanted to be something other than moderately profitable space filler.