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  • Verotika

    Verotika

    First things first: no, Verotika isn’t the new The Room. Maybe this is splitting hairs, but it’s more Ed Wood than Tommy Wiseau, which is fitting given that Wood is the poster boy for the kind of 1950s schlock that shaped much of Glenn Danzig’s imagination. 

    Like Wood’s films, Danzig’s Verotika is obliviously, bewilderingly badly conceived and made, often comically so, but it’s ultimately a slog. Of its three segments, the first is by far the most entertaining, and it goes…

  • Leave Her to Heaven

    Leave Her to Heaven

    ★★★★½

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    Gene Tierney carefully assembling the perfect outfit for throwing herself down the stairs to force a miscarriage is just about as good as movies get.

  • Robo Vampire

    Robo Vampire

    If Robo Vampire has a script, it reads like something a 6-year-old wrote, which makes it a compelling argument for child labor. Somehow this is my first exposure to the hopping vampires of jiangshi folklore, and only the second Godfrey Ho movie I’ve seen. It won’t be the last.

  • The Cabin in the Woods

    The Cabin in the Woods

    ★★★

    The premise is a bit too clever for its own good, and its foundational recontextualization of horror cliches sees fit to bask in said cliches for far longer than is tolerable, especially considering its satirical scares are blander than much of their source material. Cabin in the Woods is at its best during its early peeks behind the curtain, before Bradley Whitford and Richard Jenkins’ charming rapport is displaced by a too-thorough accounting of the film’s convoluted mythology.

  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire

    Portrait of a Lady on Fire

    ★★★★½

    This movie is so goddamned good, I’m not even mad that it neglects to incorporate Van Halen’s “On Fire.”

  • Little Women

    Little Women

    ★★★★

    Gentle but not slight. Didn’t know how much I needed that right now. Extra points for the quick hit of what is probably the best bookbinding porn ever to grace a major motion picture.

  • The Little Mermaid

    The Little Mermaid

    ★★★

    How I became so attached to the songs in this movie when it came out the same year I fell in love with thrash metal is anybody’s guess, but “Part of Your World” and “Poor Unfortunate Souls” are the bedrock of my karaoke game. Decades later, no other aspect of The Little Mermaid does much for me, although Scuttle is pretty delightful and Ursula is the shit. Can’t believe I only just learned that she was directly inspired by Divine!

  • One Hundred and One Dalmatians

    One Hundred and One Dalmatians

    ★★★★

    Quite possibly the best-looking Disney film.

  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

    Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

    ★★

    Modern fandom is little more than ravenous consumerism, and more than any other Star Wars movie, The Rise of Skywalker’s blockbuster maximalism is calibrated with this in mind. When I rewatched The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi the night before, it felt mostly like homework, and trying to summon anything else to say about The Rise of Skywalker feels about the same. Anyway, I’m done. Thanks for the memories, Star Wars, if not this particular one.

  • The Irishman

    The Irishman

    ★★★

    I’ve never shared the average cinephile’s effusive fascination with Scorsese’s brand of pathologically dishonest men, but I’ll give said men credit for consistency: their demands for much more than they’ve earned are always reflected in how much time the audience is made to spend with them.

  • Lake Mungo

    Lake Mungo

    ★★½

    Like many ghost stories, Lake Mungo is about grief, its apparitions manifestations of its characters’ inability to accept their loss; and like many ghost stories, its emotional core is overshadowed by its spook factor. And that’s fine. Lake Mungo’s misstep is in its approach to being a mystery thriller, loaded with nonsensical twists and arbitrary red herrings, none of which coalesce into a remotely satisfying resolution. At one point, a woman who has spent the entire film being haunted by…

  • Away

    Away

    ★★★½

    The sole survivor of a plane crash tries to find his way back to civilization through a semi-mystical wilderness while being slowly pursued by an ominous giant, It Follows-style. With strategically undercooked cell shading and a quest-oriented narrative, Away feels more like a video game than a film, but it’s a game I enjoyed watching. Incredibly, in keeping with its protagonist’s solitary journey, this whole film was made entirely by one person. Not so long ago, it would have taken someone a lifetime to pull this off.