• Ugetsu

    Ugetsu

    ★★★★½

    Grade: HALL OF FAME

    There are scarier films out there, but none more haunting than Ugetsu. The impact of the film lingers in the viewer's mind like a fragrance long after other films' jump scares have been forgotten.

  • It's a Wonderful Life

    It's a Wonderful Life

    ★★★★★

    Grade: MASTERPIECE (5 out of 5)

    Everything that needs to be written about this movie has already been written. So, I will simply say that It's a Wonderful Life is nearly two hours of build-up to one powerhouse scene so emotionally potent that over 70 years later we are still reeling from its impact.

  • Once Upon a Time in America

    Once Upon a Time in America

    ★★★★

    Grade: GREAT (4 out of 5)

    Extended Director's Cut

    Director Sergio Leone finishes a legendary career with his grandest and most sprawling epic: Once Upon a Time in America. While this movie is without question his longest in runtime and scope, I still prefer his Spaghetti Western sagas. In those films Leone had an extremely distinct movie style, which seems toned down in Once Upon a Time in America. Additionally, at 251 minutes the film noticeably drags for me.

    But…

  • Zappa

    Zappa

    ★★★½

    Grade: GOOD (3.5 out of 5)

    Let me be clear, Frank Zappa is a solid 5 out of 5. Zappa was a genius, and I am a big fan of his work. However, the documentary feels a somewhat lifeless and boring. I can't quite pinpoint why I feel this way, but I would have expected a Zappa documentary to have more energy.

    If you want to get to know Zappa, your best bet is to listen to his albums. You won't like them all, but, thanks to his ever changing musical style, you will find something you like.

  • The Patriot

    The Patriot

    ★★★½

    Grade: GOOD (3.5 out of 5)

    The Patriot is the last of its kind, an epic overly dramatic historically vague war film that is still an enjoyable experience. With lush cinematography and a sweeping score, it is hard not to get swept away in the grandness of The Patriot.

    The film is not as bad as people make it out to be, and it is not as great as director Roland Emmerich thinks. For me, the truth, like most things, is somewhere in the middle.

  • Stop Making Sense

    Stop Making Sense

    ★★★★★

    Grade: MASTERPIECE (5 out of 5)

    I never subscribed to the idea of “they don’t make music like they use to anymore”

    ...then I watched Stop Making Sense.

    So Jonathan Demme has directed one of the best thrillers of all time, one of the best romantic comedies of all time, and the best concert film of all time.

  • Save the Green Planet!

    Save the Green Planet!

    ★★★★

    Grade: GREAT (4 out of 5)

    If you like your movies batshit crazy, then Save the Green Planet! is for you. Simple as that.

  • Once Upon a Time in the West

    Once Upon a Time in the West

    ★★★★½

    Grade: HALL OF FAME (4.5 out of 5)

    Sergio Leone is a painter. His canvas is the movie screen, and the characters are his landscapes. Those characters, big and small, are what drive Once Upon a Time in the West forward. The ambitions, fears, and motivations of the characters dictate the action and inaction of the plot. This is why the story feels epic and the small amount of action feels thrilling to the viewer, because that's what the characters…

  • The Foul King

    The Foul King

    ★★★½

    Grade: GOOD (3.5 out of 5)

    Director Kim Jee-woon has a knack for comedy. Combined with Song Kang-ho physical comedic acting skills, and the pair can really make comedy gold. The two were born to make films together, and The Foul King is a great example of that chemistry.

    The only thing holding back The Foul King is the film's uneven pacing and focus. The movie builds up an interesting cast of characters and develops them to a point, but…

  • Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon

    Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon

    ★★½

    Grade: AVERAGE (2.5 out of 5)

    A Tale of Two Movies

    The concept of Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon is spectacular. We have plenty of horror "documentaries", but one made from the side of the killer is a fascinating take on the horror genre. The movie is most entertaining and engaging when it focuses on this concept. While the results are not scary, what we are shown is an extremely interesting and comedic breakdown of the horror…

  • Three Outlaw Samurai

    Three Outlaw Samurai

    ★★★★½

    Grade: HALL OF FAME (4.5 out of 5)

    Where has this movie been all my life?!

    Three Outlaw Samurai is an epic story told with such razor sharp pacing that the saga fits nicely into 93 minutes. Not a minute is wasted as director Hideo Gosha takes the audience through a twisty and multi-layered samurai story, with a perfect balance between intriguing plot and exciting action.

    While themes like samurai losing their place in the world, protecting the peasants, and…

  • The Quiet Family

    The Quiet Family

    ★★★★

    Grade: GREAT (4 out of 5)

    What can I say? The amount of talent in the South Korean film industry is impressive, and that industry has been on a roll for decades. Director Kim Jee-woon is no exception!

    The Quiet Family is such a good comedy that I was laughing at the subtitles. The plot is interesting and fast paced, the dialogue is razor sharp, and the acting fits like a hand in a glove. I could go on about…