M.D.D. has written 6 reviews for films rated ★★★ during 2021.

  • The Curse of the Jade Scorpion

    The Curse of the Jade Scorpion

    I've enjoyed the more recent Woody joints that I've seen such as Blue Jasmine and Vicky Christina Barcelona, but I've been told the majority of them are pretty awful so I have been working through the later-day catalog gingerly. This one was maybe slightly below average and I'd only recommend it to completists. It has a sort of cool old-timey tone and predictably strong performances, but the screenplay was only fitfully funny and Allen's attempt to hearken back to the zanier comic era of Sleepers and whatnot seemed forced as a result.

  • Public Enemies

    Public Enemies

    I may be a Coppola apologist, but I've always been touch and go on Michael Mann. His debut Thief and Manhunter a few years later showed a lot of promise with stylish visuals, inventive use of music and a knack for impactful yet nonexploitative violence, but much of his generally acclaimed work like Last of the Mohicans and Heat does very little for me despite seemingly checking all the boxes. A strikingly effective period depiction and brisk sense of momentum…

  • Outbreak


    Hadn't seen this since the VHS days and it felt on the whole appropriate to bust out now. Didn't realize Wolfgang Petersen directed it back then but in retrospect his steady and tightly wound approach to pacing adds a lot to what could have been a pretty disposable disaster thriller. The highly implausible plot is easy to overlook when at any given moment some of the better actors of their era are onscreen, with Kevin Spacey and Donald Sutherland supporting…

  • The Neon Demon

    The Neon Demon

    Like the rest of Nicolas Winding Refn's other post-Pusher output, I found this one to be an intense and visually arresting experience while watching it, but find I have very little to think about or say upon completion. The old adage "style over substance" is particularly appropriate here. At times I felt like I was watching a bizarre mirror universe giallo version of Showgirls, at others a sleazy contemporary erotic thriller take on Blood and Black Lace, but the aesthetic…

  • Copycat


    Highly implausible yet thoroughly white-knuckle yarn with an excellent lead performance from Sigourney Weaver that makes me wish I saw her pop up in middle of the road fare more often. A retired professor is driven to agoraphobia by a serial killer's attempt on her life, only to be terrorized further as an invalid by (you guessed it) a copycat. Imagine Wait Until Dark meets the first season of Millenium and you're on the right track. Also, what happened to…

  • Demolition Man

    Demolition Man

    I put off watching this for years because it got middling reviews and I thought it was going to be another super lazy action sci-fi that was typical of the time, and the first ten minutes or so it felt as though my worst fears were confirmed but I was in the mood to watch shit blow up. Then the film pivots towards full-blown screwball dystopian comedy and becomes strangely watchable in spite of some dated sounding banter here and there. I wasn't really prepared for the intentional laughs so I had a surprisingly good time.