• Elvis

    Elvis

    ★★★½

    65

    As a biopic of Elvis Presley's life, Baz Luhrmann's latest overstuffed epic of glitz and glam doesn't do anything beyond a cursory Wikipedia glance, but as a music film, it's often astonishing at capturing the mythic stature of Elvis as a performer. Luhrmann's bag of stylistic tricks don't always work, but they contribute to the film's messy canvas of American excess and exploitation. Austin Butler is really convincing as Elvis, and he embodies Elvis' extravagant superstar energy. As a…

  • Easter Parade

    Easter Parade

    ★★★★

    75

    "No, I mean it. You're the most wonderful dancer I've ever seen. You could get anyone to dance with you. You could get the very best."


    "I don't want the very best. I want you."

  • The Harvey Girls

    The Harvey Girls

    ★★★

    55

    A distraction so pleasant and fluffy that it took a minute to realize how invested I was in its backlot western musical shenanigans. As always, Judy Garland is an angel. Gorgeous colors and cozy musical numbers.

  • Benediction

    Benediction

    ★★★★½

    83

    In Benediction, there's a thrilling and disjointed balance of spoken poetry and cinematic language - its methodology portrays an existence for Seigfried Sassoon which offers no escape, no relief from its myriad of horrors. Terence Davies creates a formal space to represent the main character in the present, as subjectivity is distorted and thrown into the wind. Wartime archival footage in overlays and dissolves are often accompanied by excerpts of Sassoon's poetry, only to be disrupted by more traditional…

  • Sunset Song

    Sunset Song

    ★★★½

    70

    This is bleak stuff, even for Terence Davies. At a certain point in the middle, it's a bit much in the misery department, often incessant and one-note, but Agyness Deyn centers this epic in a psychological register, with key excerpts from the source text functioning as bridges between certain passages of the film. Davies is (rightfully) focusing on the larger picture here - with a dichotomy of family and country, love and loss, and the physicality of the protagonist's…

  • The Deep Blue Sea

    The Deep Blue Sea

    ★★★★★

    95

    It's only apt that Terence Davies conveys moments of love and lust as fleeting glimpses, and the bulk of the narrative is a harsh reckoning with reality. Bleak as fuck. Running at 90 minutes and some change, The Deep Blue Sea involves us in an affair of fantasy and self-destruction, but Davies never allows for convention to take root in how it all unfolds. A series of fettered details flourish when they're placed out of order - the sporadic…

  • Distant Voices, Still Lives

    Distant Voices, Still Lives

    ★★★★★

    100

    "I sit and wait for the sun
    To shine down on me once again
    It rained when I found you, rained when I lost you
    That's why I get the blues when it rains"

    Terence Davies offers a lyrical sense of ritual amidst the process of ordinary life in Liverpool. Funerals and births, Christmases and birthdays, baptisms and evening trips to the cinema. Yet a typical rainy morning, as the family begins to stir and breakfast is being made,…

  • Crimes of the Future

    Crimes of the Future

    ★★★★½

    90

    An excerpt from a 1997 interview regarding Crash:

    Gavin Smith: "The flipside of all this questioning of free will is that your films imply that personal growth or transformation in the individual literally threatens the social order."

    David Cronenberg: Well, I think it does. I think it's an analog to art. The tension between society and art is kind of what makes both of them possible. Art is constantly trying to be assimilated by society and tamed and at…

  • Jurassic World Dominion

    Jurassic World Dominion

    10

    I'm not excited to inform you that Jurassic World Dominion is comparable to The Rise of Skywalker, but that's the reality of what we're dealing with here. In terms of franchise structure, the Jurassic World series does have its share of similarities to Disney's Star Wars trilogy: a safe, exciting crowdpleaser introduction, an ambitious and divisive middle chapter, and now, a stinker of a third film that overstuffs itself in an attempt to "fix" what's already impossible to glue…

  • Back to the Future

    Back to the Future

    ★★★★★

    100

    A perfect blend of precise, clockwork screenwriting and Zemeckis/Gale's fetishistic time loop shenanigans. With a closed system of problems and payoffs, the blockbuster thrills offer a propulsive countdown quality that goes hand in hand with the outlandish 'meet the parents' concept. Still as ingeniously entertaining as ever.

  • The Empire Strikes Back

    The Empire Strikes Back

    ★★★★★

    100

    "All his life has he looked away...to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was."

    It's impossible to mince words with this one: it's as good as any movie can realistically be.

  • Norm Macdonald: Nothing Special

    Norm Macdonald: Nothing Special

    ★★★★

    73

    Norm waiting for the dog to stop barking so that he can continue his one-take comedy zoom call. I laughed a lot.