• Here Today

    Here Today

    ★★

    A truly bizarre non-rom-com. Full review at ScreenCrush.

  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

    Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

    ★★

    “There's been no one for so long. Who are you?”

    “I'm Rey.”

    “Rey who?”

    [Rey looks off into the distance. She finally has her answer.]

    “Rey Sleazebaggano.”

  • The Immortal Story

    The Immortal Story

    ★★★½

    Find someone who loves you as much as Orson Welles loved wearing dodgy makeup.

  • The Hill

    The Hill

    ★★★★½

    A forgotten gem of Lumet’s catalogue, a prison drama that enunciates the genre’s typical themes — crime and punishment, claustrophobia, man’s capacity for cruelty — with outstanding cinematography by Oswald Morris. The camerawork isn’t necessarily flashy — very little about Lumet’s work is — but it’s marvelously expressive, especially its treatment of “The Hill,” a giant mound of dirt in the middle of a British prison camp used to punish inmates who get out of line. It looms in the background of…

  • Masters of the Universe

    Masters of the Universe

    ★★

    I can’t believe Monica never told any of the other Friends that she met He-Man.

  • Cotton Comes to Harlem

    Cotton Comes to Harlem

    ★★★★

    Proto-blaxploitation and proto-buddy cops, along with sharp social satire, authentic New York flavor and locations, and an absolutely first-rate car chase that stands among the best I’ve seen of the period. Not sure why I never got around to watching this one before; I was missing out. It’s streaming on Criterion Channel as of this writing.

  • Close-Up

    Close-Up

    ★★★★½

    Watched it again with Criterion commentary by Mehrnaz Saeed-Vafa and Jonathan Rosenbaum, which is illuminating in many ways — especially in the scenes where even they, the experts, have no idea whether what we’re watching is documentary footage or a reenactment.

  • Tom Clancy's Without Remorse

    Tom Clancy's Without Remorse

    ★★½

    A movie like its hero: Cold, detached, brutal, and a little one-dimensional.

    Full review at ScreenCrush.

  • Close-Up

    Close-Up

    ★★★★½

    “I don’t have time for movies, I’m too busy with life!”

  • Patriot Games

    Patriot Games

    ★★

    Weirdly, this is a lot less interesting and exciting than the Jack Ryan film that followed it, which dared to be a thriller about a crusading bookworm who never picks up a gun and awkwardly lurches through his action sequence. In contrast, Harrison Ford’s holding a gun on the poster for Patriot Games. It opens with Ford in full action man mode, too; literally leaping to the rescue of a British royal who’s about to be assassinated by terrorists. The…

  • Clear and Present Danger

    Clear and Present Danger

    ★★★½

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

    While some of the action sequences are utterly ludicrous, this is a good deal smarter and far less jingoistic than I remembered or expected. The film’s true villains aren’t the drug kingpins who set the plot in motion; they’re the image-conscious, war-hungry bureaucrats in the Department of Defense who instigate an unauthorized war in Colombia, along with the President of the United States who tacitly authorizes the scheme. If the past few years have taught us nothing else, it’s that…

  • The Offence

    The Offence

    ★★★

    Lumet loved to cast Connery against type. At least in the collaborations I’ve watched so far, Lumet never hired Connery to play a suave hero. In Lumet’s world, he’s always a low-status guy; an ex-con, a thief who’s not nearly as good at his job as he thinks, or here an aging cop on the verge of a nervous breakdown. (It can’t be a coincidence that Connery never shows up with this toupee in any of these movies either. His…