• The Yakuza

    The Yakuza

    ★★★★★

    The Run-On Sentence:
    As far as the films of Sydney Pollack go I had only seen Tootsie previously, meaning it would be an understatement to say I was ill-prepared for the poetic and powerful West meets East crime masterpiece that is 1974's "The Yakuza", a movie about Japanese culture's views on duty, honor, and guilt made with more respect, insight, and precision than a non-Japanese filmmaker like Pollack has any right to, a thoroughly engaging, moving, brutal, and perfect film.…

  • Auto Focus

    Auto Focus

    ★★★½

    The Run-On Sentence:
    Tragic true story/cautionary tale of "Hogan's Heroes" star, Bob Crane, here played wonderfully by Greg Kinnear and his buddy, played to creepy perfection by Willem Dafoe (who else?), who thanks to inside connections in the burgeoning world of video recording, provides Crane with the tools necessary to let his filthy sex fantasies done in private (and not so private) run wild and unchecked in this movie that begins as a sugary sweet and standard period biopic dramedy…

  • Mank

    Mank

    ★½

    The Run-On Sentence:
    David "I Used To Be Good" Fincher has created a bold new entry in the pantheon of self-impressed, too clever by half, masturbatory and self-obsessed "Old Hollywood" biopics, complete with period authentic filming and mimicry of better films, meaning a movie from a team as seemingly surefire as Fincher/Oldman unfortunately ends up feeling like a Frankenstein hybrid of the cloyingly cute vibes of Benjamin Button and the sleek, fast-talking vibes of The Social Network but like both…

  • To Live and Die in L.A.

    To Live and Die in L.A.

    ★★★★★

    The Run-On Sentence:
    Friedkin's spiritual successor to The French Connection, this time in the palm tree filled, neon laden, vivid 80s, with a similar setup of two partner cops going to questionable lengths to get their man, this time with perfect pacing and brilliant filmmaking equaling its predecessor but with even more fleshing out of the characters you're supposed to care about and an ending so ballsy and subversive that its final 10-15 minutes raised this from great to legendary…

  • Dance with the Devil

    Dance with the Devil

    ★½

    The Run-On Sentence:
    Madcap, playful and sadistic director Alex de La Iglesia is one of my absolute favorite modern directors but his third movie, Perdita Durango (or its boring US title, Dance With The Devil) has far too much of that last adjective I listed describing him and not enough of the first two, making this spinoff "sequel" to David Lynch's Wild At Heart (it's by the same author and minor characters cross over) dark and batshit like his other…

  • The Shooting

    The Shooting

    ★★★★½

    The Run-On Sentence:
    Arguably the first acid-western, The Shooting is mostly a straight western (and I wouldn't dare spoil things) until the tension is nigh on unbearable and the strangeness undeniable, with a final sequence that will make you reconsider everything you just watched, making this a turning point for westerns meaning the majority of my favorites in the genre came after (and were possible only due to) ones like this, a fantastic and (at the time) subversive little simple…

  • Picnic at Hanging Rock

    Picnic at Hanging Rock

    ★½

    The Run-On Sentence:
    This Australian breakout hit is an oft-cited favorite of weird cult film-lovers like myself so I was naturally excited and ready to be taken over by the transcendent, hypnotizing, ethereal dread of its reputation, and while I got all of the above in spades that's sadly all I got, with not much of a reason to care about the characters therein but plenty of reason to give into temptations of sleep as my brain's lack of any…

  • The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

    The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

    ★★★★★

    The Run-On Sentence:
    In my opinion, “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” is not one of the better Western stories told on film.........it’s six of them, with each tale increasingly better than the last, The Coens have outdone themselves (or at the very least matched their past peaks) and this sextet of stories perfectly captures the often fatal, nihilistic, and cruel (but also at times funny and beautiful) elements of the Old West, with each yarn’s uniquely memorable themes, musical motifs,…

  • Daimajin

    Daimajin

    ★★★★★

    The Run-On Sentence:
    Surprisingly beautiful, engaging, and decidedly un-campy Kaiju film set in feudal Japan, a parable that plays out like Kurosawa meets Harryhausen, with a satisfyingly built up payoff during its terrifying and visually stunning finale.

    Alternate Title:
    "Rashomonster"

    Take Aways:
    Turns out you can get blood from a stone but make sure you run afterwards.

    Highlights:
    Great costumes and sets, some truly great cinematography, a monster that still holds up as quite menacing rather than campy or fun, great ending.

  • StageFright: Aquarius

    StageFright: Aquarius

    ★★½

    The Run-On Sentence:
    Fairly standard slasher film gets extra point for odball cool, visually striking owl-headed killer and bizarrely fascinating opening scene and setup but ultimately falls flat due to mundane kills, not much substance beyond its low-rent 80s euro slasher style, and laughably bad writing/acting (directed by Michele Soavi who improved BIG TIME after this and later gave us the brilliant Cemetery Man).

    Alternate Title:
    "Hooters"

    Take Aways:
    Sprained ankle but only a psychiatric ward nearby? No problem! They'll…

  • Cemetery Man

    Cemetery Man

    ★★★★★

    The Run-On Sentence:
    A surreal descent into madness in a macabre, comic, and truly bizarre (yet oddly beautiful and sad) meditation on love, sex, and death (but mostly death) based on a novel by Tiziano Sclano (of Dylan Dog fame) with some amazing shots, a catacomb's worth of gallows humor and a typically great and acerbic performance from Rupert Everett (which makes the film feel like "Withnail and I" meets "Dead Alive") make Cemetery Man (aka Dellamorte Dellamore) an experience…

  • Hell or High Water

    Hell or High Water

    ★★

    The Run-On Sentence:
    I'm not sure what's more disappointing, the fact that a neo-western from the director of Starred Up with great cinematography, Jeff Bridges, and a soundtrack by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis left me saying "meh" or the fact that I just used the word "meh", a word I despise.

    Alternate Title:
    "Sigh Noon"

    Takeaways:
    Clever dialogue from authentic looking natives! Sullenly beautiful string music! This movie wants to be great but The Coen Bros and John Hillcoat…