Favorite films

  • It Follows
  • The Witch in the Window
  • The Empty Man
  • The Night House

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  • Bug

    ★★★

  • Zero Dark Thirty

    ★★★½

  • Old Joy

    ★★★½

  • I Know What You Did Last Summer

    ★★★½

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  • Premature

    Premature

    ★★★½

    Only a month ago that I saw this and I couldn't tell you much about how it ended. So there's limits on how memorable an experience it will give you, in terms of plot, but as a movie with vivid characters and a strong atmosphere this one is aces. It's all about Zora Howard, a talented young playwright who is also an incredibly powerful performer — she co-wrote the movie with director Rashaad Ernesto Greene and also plays Ayanna, the…

  • The Inhabitant

    The Inhabitant

    ★★★★

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

    Scary Movies XI.

    Very deliberately putting this review behind the spoiler veil.

    There are potential triggers in this movie that viewers would ideally be aware of beforehand; unfortunately, to forewarn the viewer is also to spoil the movie. Christian theology and Roman Catholic iconography are a big part of the movie's second half; there are also onscreen (though brief, and not especially graphic) depictions of sexual assault against children. And of course sexual assault with overtones of spiritual abuse (where…

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  • Wind River

    Wind River

    ★★

    My son and I were kind of amazed at how much this sucked. Just a series of messy choices with a cumulative impact, so that by the end there was barely anything left to admire. (Cast goes above and beyond, to be sure.)

    We greatly admire Sicario and Hell or High Water. I kept asking myself, "Maybe the screenplay's good but the execution is bad?" But no, the problems seem to have really started on the page. Some of the…

  • Nope

    Nope

    ★★½

    A movie of its time in more ways than one.

    These days, horror movies are often infatuated with theme to the detriment of characters and plot, and in spite of all of Peele's considerable creative and financial resources, Nope slowly moseys its way down into that same valley.

    Not to deny that poking around in that valley, you come up with some pretty cool stuff. I dearly love this piece by Alissa Wilkinson:

    Nope is centrally about how our experiences…

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  • Collateral

    Collateral

    ★★★★★

    Subgenres of the thriller genre:

    1. the thriller as art film, where the artist cannot stoop to actually thrilling his audience

    2. the thriller as philosophical rubbernecking, where we are invited to meditate upon the nature of evil — as severed heads roll our way

    3. the thriller as pastiche of esoteric pop-culture references

    4. the redundant thriller, either a remake of a good thriller or adaptation of a good novel, or both

    My highest praise of Collateral is that…

  • No Reservations

    No Reservations

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

    It's probably a mediocre movie in the final analysis, but it contains one scene that is priceless to me, and part of its immeasurable worth, for me, is that it provides a kind of iconography for the notion of a masculinity that's healthy and potentially healing.

    Aaron Eckhart plays a man who is really good at what he does but has retained all the spontaneity and even goofiness of a boy. He doesn’t fade into the scenery and he projects…