Favorite films

  • eXistenZ
  • Exotica
  • Strange Days
  • Snake Eyes

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  • The Black Phone

    ★★

  • False Positive

    ★★½

  • Lightyear

    ★★★★

  • Jurassic World Dominion

    ★★★

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  • The Card Counter

    The Card Counter

    This is middle of the pack Schrader. That said, middling Schrader eclipses most American filmmakers on their “A” game. Despite playing its narrative cards a bit too loosely, I nonetheless appreciated The Card Counter’s unflinching and scrupulous examination of a layered moral quagmire. The film definitely suits Schrader’s recurring motifs & sensibilities like a spade — dealing out a hyper-reflexive character study of a tortured figure carrying immense ethical weight, contrition, and self-loathing. But it’s also so glibly content with itself that…

  • Rollerball

    Rollerball

    Rollerball is a slippery, stylish, paranoid 70s thriller with a cool subversive energy. As protagonist Jonathan E., James Caan sports overgrown chest hair, bell bottoms, & a glib smirk befit for a porno movie. His smarmy countenance, however, grows increasingly quizzical and jaded as he investigates the totalitarian powers invisibly pulling levers behind the scenes. Turns out the ultraviolent, futuristic roller-derby game he’s devoted his life to may not be all it seems. This newfound disillusionment is punctuated by a dreamy interlude…

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  • The Black Phone

    The Black Phone

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

    Blumhouse films are easy on the eyes but not on the mind. This should open with a disclaimer: Beware of losing brain cells if you dare think during this movie. Everything in the script is conspicuously manufactured and cheap — vacuous frills superficially crafted to pander to a thoughtless audience. The serial killer, The Grabber (Ethan Hawke), has zero motive or psychological complexity — he’s about as well delineated as his stupid name. The black balloons and black truck he cruises…

  • False Positive

    False Positive

    The biggest false positive here is the A24 logo. Easily one of the studio’s least fecund entries. Worse than terrible, it’s just mediocre — bereft of narrative indirection or ingenuity. The terror-induced hallucinations are redundant, the suspense barren, and the big reveal predictable as anything I’ve seen. For the true horrors of infertility, watch Private Life instead.

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  • Bo Burnham: Inside

    Bo Burnham: Inside

    Jean-Luc Godard once famously said that “all you need to make a movie is a girl and a gun.”

    Bo Burnham just upped the ante, proving that all you really need is a single human being confined inside a single room—and maybe a caustic sock puppet, too.

  • Sound of Metal

    Sound of Metal

    Fu#!. As a once broke touring musician, this film hit hard. Really hard.

    And the sound design is straight up impeccable.