• Bullet Train

    Bullet Train

    ★★★

    Brad Train:

    Two and a half stars for Zen Brad, who is pretty great. Another half star for the Guy Ritchie vibes. 

    A little bloated, much too cute, but I’ll take my Brad vehicles anyway I can get them these days.

  • Prey

    Prey

    ★★

    Predator places the familiar elements of its series into a fresh historical context and adds some ambition into a stale formula. Was interested in what Trachtenberg might do with the material. Turns out, not much. 

    Unfortunately the untapped context doesn’t do anything for the writing, CGI, predictable plot, and overwrought action beats. The thin characterization is meant to carry the stakes into the conflict but falls flat. Nothing is entrusted to the audience. Everything is telegraphed. Plays out mostly like…

  • Becoming Cousteau

    Becoming Cousteau

    ★★★★

    Imagine not caring about The Life Aquatic as a film because you lived it. 

    Then imagine Wes Anderson making one of his best films inspired by your life. 

    That’s how awesome Jacques Cousteau was.

  • Fire of Love

    Fire of Love

    ★★★★½

    More like: The Life Volcanic with Katia and Maurice Krafft. 

    There’s a quote at the beginning of the film that says understanding is just another word for love. That is the cord of this film and the tenor of the Krafft’s life together.  A humble portrait of two lovers who humbled themselves to a life of study of the greater wonders alive in our world. Through that proximity to those greater forces, they found a life properly weighted, joy-filled and…

  • Mass

    Mass

    ★★★★

    Through the sheer force of four performances, perfectly accented by quiet image and a patient camera, the depths of unimaginable pain and tragedy are displayed to show both the crippling cost of our brokenness and inadequacies and our devastating need for forgiveness to finally be free of their power over us.

  • Us

    Us

    ★★★★

    Nope precipitated a rewatch. 

    Hands Across America was a self-congratulatory, self-indulgent bit of showmanship to show how much we “care” with little accomplished beyond patting ourselves on the back at having created it. It’s a case study for most of our surface level benevolence. What if its shadow, all the obvious, horrific suffering that takes place for our wasteful and willfully ignorant society and culture to exist as it is, did the same? What nightmares would that ensue as it…

  • Thoroughbreds

    Thoroughbreds

    ★★★½

    “…you can only get so far, thinking how everyone else thinks.”

    Does a great job of highlighting the twitches, ticks, and fidgets that hide what lies beneath our humane facade, all masking the self-obsessed, self-regard of “knowing how expensive we are.” Sharp edits and sound design stand out.  

    All in all, a pretty good Anya Taylor-Joy origin story.

  • Nope

    Nope

    ★★★★★

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

    What's a bad miracle? 

    It begins with people incapable of processing reality except through the lens of the entertainment and spectacle which has been given to them and they subsequently have given themselves to.

    This spectacle then turns from a miracle of possibility to a necessity to something evil, terrifying, something that devours us. Spectacle becoming a self-perpetuating monster, always hungry, producing more and more death, unconcerned with those whose lives are ruined, destroyed, and required to continue the machine.…

  • Elvis

    Elvis

    ★★★

    Luhrmann’s maximum theatricality and frantic pacing keeps the film afloat simply by sheer momentum. Who Elvis might have been easily gets washed out by the music, the next colorful set piece, cut, montage, or historical instance. 

    There are moments when it almost touches upon the transcendence it seeks out with a few inspired sequences and Butler’s captivating performance. It’s entertaining but feels as if it misses its mark.  It often lays it on pretty thick, is bloated, and deals in…

  • Last Night in Soho

    Last Night in Soho

    ★★½

    A pretty far departure for Wright from his usual pacing, narrative, and tone and unfortunately a pretty far departure for him from his quality. 

    Seemed to be a personal film for him but also one devoid of his unique directorial flair. His visual sequences shine (especially in the first half of this film) and Taylor-Joy and McKenzie are game but the plot, atmosphere, and tone completely loses its balance about halfway through and never regains it. A thriller without thrills.…

  • The World's End

    The World's End

    ★★★½

    Captures the magic of the Cornetto Trilogy while being noticeably weaker in most of the trilogy’s strengths: narrative, characters, and humor (excepting the razor sharp one-liners replete throughout this one)

    Felt like less of a smart, focused send up of a clearly defined genre (as were its two predecessors before it) and more of a loose idea with which Wright and Pegg did their best. Just a more creatively strained tone here. Oh well, it’s still hilarious.

  • The Black Phone

    The Black Phone

    ★★

    Pretty ready for our six-year, collective, Stranger Things hangover to be over. 

    Discovered today my Ethan Hawke love has limits.