• No Time to Die

    No Time to Die

    ★★★½

    I was born under Connery’s reign. Bond has been around my entire life. I can’t say for sure, but I’ve seen at least half of the movies, probably no more than 3/4ths. I think the only one I’ve seen in the theaters was Moonraker. At best I’m a fair weather fan (and barely that).

    I can take or leave the franchise. To me it’s the musical equivalent of rock band KISS. Big live show theatrics, pyrotechnics, fire, blood, loud, and…

  • The Lost Daughter

    The Lost Daughter

    ★★★★½

    I love that Gyllenhaal works in layers here. The stories purpose is obviously not about the mysteries and moral conundrum involving a lost toy. But I’d argue it’s also deeper than just examining the struggles of motherhood, or even more broadly parenting. My take-away was that it’s really about the ramification of choice. Good choices, bad choices, and everything in between. Despite the awkward tension that permeates nearly ever scene, I was left feeling inspired by the whole thing. Our…

  • Songbird

    Songbird

    Damn it. I inadvertently stepped into a steaming pile of Michael Bay Double Feature without even realizing it. Unless his producer credits here don’t really count? I think they do, as his trademark exploitive bullshit is all over this mess.

    Solid candidate for the worst film I’ve seen in several years.

  • 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

    13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

    ★★½

    I thought enough time had passed where I could separate the political reality of a Benghazi film with its cinematic value. But it turns out not enough time has passed.

    I can’t hear “Benghazi” and not think of that world class douche-bag Trey Goudy and supreme hypocrite and general scumbag Kevin McCarthy exploiting this event because the sissy boys were threatened by Hillary. Of course this doesn’t have anything to do with Bay’s film making…..but it does. He’s putting the…

  • AVP: Alien vs. Predator

    AVP: Alien vs. Predator

    ★★

    Profoundly stupid in all the ways one would expect from a Paul Anderson film. And yet it also manages to capture the signature creature moves from each franchise in a breezy 100 minutes. Is that enough? It sure as hell looks better than that dismal sepia crap Fincher shot.

    But damn is it as dumb as dumb can be. Effectively fan fiction with a modest budget.

    I’m assuming Requiem is a hard pass.

  • Raw

    Raw

    ★★★★½

    Julia Ducournau’s “Raw” is almost like Twilight (2008)…..if Twilight didn’t suck complete ass.

    Its probably more coming-of-age drama than traditional horror film, but this still goes for the jugular with several gasp-out-loud moments. Actress Garance Marillier even evokes some Kristin Stewart-isms, but Garance has the distinct advantage of not being in a shitty movie.

    I liked the whole fresh approach with this, but in particular I loved cinematography. For a film presumably low budget this was fantastic - a few…

  • Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard

    Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard

    ★½

    I pretty much hated everything about this, including the wife, the bodyguard and the hit man.   I will concede there was a day I would’ve enjoyed it so I guess that is worth something.

  • Station Eleven

    Station Eleven

    ★★★★½

    There was something refreshingly sincere about this production.

    It’s 10 hours blissfully free of sarcasm, snark and cleverness. There is no Ryan Reynolds or Will Ferrell. No Superheroes. No over-processed CGI, car chases, or endless streams of gun fire.

    There is drama and death, but it’s never exploitive. There are no good guys and bad guys, just people trying to stay alive and make connections.

    There is love, loss, and loneliness, but not in ways you expect. It doesn’t define anyone. People overcome.

    There was no attempt to sell me anything.

    I doubt there will be a season 2.

    Arts are respected.

    I loved it.

  • 300

    300

    ★★★

    I forgot how sociopathic and deranged Snyder’s vision of Sparta is. These F’ers are loons. Throwing babies off a mountain if they aren’t military capable. Eugenics as a celebrated social policy. Full scale investment in the military industrial complex. Open pits to throw diplomats in. These people are first class Fascists.

    I’m cooling on this one. Credit to Snyder for going all-in on this crazy shit, but it just doesn't work for me now like it did 15 years ago.

  • Pig

    Pig

    ★★★★

    Three thoughts crossed my mind after finishing this.

    1. Director Kevin Lewis (Willy’s Wonderland) and Michael Sarnoski (Pig) both looked at Nic Cage and thought, “…the trick with him is the fewest lines of dialogue possible”. They might be on to something.
    2. Portland is the most self-aware city in the USA that isn’t Manhattan.
    3. How important is re-watch appeal in determining the value of a movie.

    I quite liked this, but feel equally confident I’ll never watch it again. Does that matter in how one judges the value of a movie? I used to think it mattered, but less inclined to think that anymore.

  • The French Dispatch

    The French Dispatch

    ★★★½

    If Marvel movies are amusement park rides, then Wes Anderson films have become children’s pop-up books. Two dimensional worlds that spring to life as you turn the page. Any accompanying narrative drowned out by your imagination as you watch quirky little people, dogs and fish mill about their lives in whimsy. I’m captivated by his aesthetic of light, space and color. It’s all so visually mesmerizing.

    But I’ve also not RE-watched an Anderson film since Rushmore and The Royal Tennenbaums.…

  • The Last Duel

    The Last Duel

    ★★★★★

    I went into this with the sense Ben Affleck and Matt Damon were the wrong casting choices for 14th century French squires. By the time it was over my New Year resolution was to trust my instincts in 2022. Sure, having Affleck play a drunken d-bag was fitting, but he’s still the embodiment of contemporary meme culture. The Boston Due were distracting. Fortunately Jodie Comer and Adam Driver more than make up for it.

    Is this truly ***** entertainment? I…