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Rob has written 12 reviews for films released in 2018.

  • The Favourite

    The Favourite

    ★★★½

    Best dance sequence since Ex Machina.

  • The Haunting of Hill House

    The Haunting of Hill House

    ★★★

    Has its moments (including what is possibly the highest quality jump scare of this decade), but taken as a whole it’s overwritten, too long, too polished, and too corny.

  • Halloween

    Halloween

    ★★

    It may be the first in the series (other than the original) to have a director and screenwriters with name recognition, but this is just another Halloween sequel, thankfully nothing less but certainly nothing more. It’s pretty boring.

    Also, is there any greater talent in Hollywood who is as routinely wasted as Judy Greer is?

  • Apostle

    Apostle

    ★★½

    The director of The Raid putting his spin on The Wicker Man sure sounds like fun, and Apostle starts off with promise, with a wild-eyed Dan Stevens lurching around a muddy village of Victorian cultists. But the movie kneecaps itself before the halfway mark, rushing to resolve the most interesting aspects of its plot in favor of making a gonzo, gore-soaked spectacle of the superfluous remainder.

  • Sorry to Bother You

    Sorry to Bother You

    ★★

    What a mess. I’m sympathetic to what Sorry to Bother You has to say about the intersection of capitalism, exploitation, and racism, but all of its statements, like all of its jokes, are blared from a megaphone and continue long after their point is made. Its amateur-hour vibe is far more tedious than charming, its gonzo satire is self-conscious, and its progressive politics are undercut by its lone female character functioning primarily as a trophy.

  • Three Identical Strangers

    Three Identical Strangers

    ★★★

    There’s a helluva story here, but this documentary is more interested in entertaining than enlightening, and at least one of the conclusions it draws is downright insulting.

  • Eighth Grade

    Eighth Grade

    ★★★½

    Hello, I am a seasoned veteran of all manner of deranged horror films, and I watched most of this through my fingers.

  • Incredibles 2

    Incredibles 2

    ★★★★

    I can’t decide if its ideas are muddled or merely complex, but as a pure action movie, Incredibles 2 is a lot of fun. I’m disappointed that the filmmakers couldn’t find a way to avoid the strobing effects that exclude epileptic viewers. For a company as creatively industrious as Pixar, that struck me as a lazy choice.

    As for the preceding short film, Bao, bravo to Pixar for stepping away from the Eurocentric boys’ club, but yeesh, maybe apply that diversity to something less cloyingly trite?

  • Hereditary

    Hereditary

    ★★★

    For whatever reason, horror is having a moment of sustained critical cachet, with a growing list of scary movies receiving praise for emotional resonance, thematic richness, and/or excellence of execution that transcend the genre’s usual stale jump scares. Hereditary seems keen to get in on the action, offering a sophisticated layer of fraught family drama atop a pulpier horror foundation; its familiar depictions of unraveling psyches and things going bump in the night are shaped by deeper notions of fatalism…

  • A Quiet Place

    A Quiet Place

    ★★★

    A Quiet Place centers on a family living in a not-too-distant future in which vicious aliens with hypersensitive hearing have wiped out much of the world’s population. A little over a year into the invasion, after losing their youngest child (of three) to the creatures, they have another child on the way. In a world where silence is absolutely crucial for survival, a newborn baby is the ultimate liability, and while we’re privy to the family’s many ingenious strategies for…

  • Isle of Dogs

    Isle of Dogs

    ★★★½

    Wes Anderson’s films are all effectively stop-motion animation, and part of what I find off-putting about most of his live-action work is the resulting reverse-uncanny-valley effect. I had been over his schtick for years by the time Fantastic Mr. Fox came out and made me realize that the world of proper animation is where Anderson belongs. Isle of Dogs is a welcome return to that place.

  • Annihilation

    Annihilation

    ★★½

    Listen (shh) to what the flower people say
    Aahhh
    Listen, it’s getting louder every day