• The Innocents

    The Innocents

    ★★★★½

    Masterfully crafted, genuinely unnerving killer-kids-with-superpowers slow-burn apartment building horror. Plays out like LET THE RIGHT ONE IN meets CHRONICLE directed by Bong Joon Ho. Between this, the also excellent BLIND, and his writing credits on THE WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD and THELMA, I'm a big Eskil Vogt fan.

  • The Day that Doesn't Exist

    The Day that Doesn't Exist

    ★★★

    Bizarre Hong Kong horror-comedy curio. Some big laughs in there and lots of weirdness. Fun with a crowd and the print looked fantastic.

  • Everything Everywhere All at Once

    Everything Everywhere All at Once

    ★★★★½

    Finally saw this! Let me get this out of the way first: my problem with hyperactive, hyper-stylized movies like this is what's initially dazzling eventually becomes exhausting. As such, this does ultimately feel a little too long and like it has one or two endings too many.

    That said....

    Holy. Fucking. Shit. This is Michel Gondry's The Matrix. Wildly creative yet built on deep wells of emotion. Funny and thrilling and goofy and sincere and ambitious and rich in character and ideas. I laughed and cried. Give Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan all the awards.

  • 4 Little Girls

    4 Little Girls

    ★★★★

    Powerful, moving doc. Not flashy but really well-made. Lee makes the wise decision to shoot it all in intimate close-ups, allowing the victims' families words to speak for themselves.

  • You Are Not My Mother

    You Are Not My Mother

    ★★★

    Well-made, well-acted Irish folk horror with some very effective sequences. Ultimately doesn't contain enough new ideas to distinguish itself from similar recent, "elevated" horror titles like RELIC, THE BABADOOK, SAINT MAUD, and HEREDITARY, but Dolan remains a director to watch.

  • The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

    The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

    ★★★½

    This kind of thing could easily end up too smug and clever for its own good, or make the mistake of treating Cage like a punchline. Instead it's a nicely heartfelt, sometimes even sweet action comedy that really gets what makes its star so special. Pascal and Cage are both wonderful and make an excellent buddy duo.

  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

    Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

    ★★★½

    Messy, overstuffed sequel is too heavy on exposition and too light on emotion. Doesn't help that none of the character motivations seem to track. Luckily it's very well-acted, and Raimi gets to let loose more often than I thought would be the case, especially in the pretty great final act, making this one of the more visually inventive Marvel Studios films overall. Some bonus points for a winning Elfman score and a non-bloated running time as well. Still, doesn't end up as much more than solidly mid-tier Marvel for me.

  • The Andromeda Strain

    The Andromeda Strain

    ★★★★

    Obsessively procedural, grounded sci-fi. Sometimes stodgy or dated but always engaging and full of cool ideas. Loved the innovative split screen use and gorgeous, Oscar-nominated production design. Mostly functions as a medical mystery of sorts, but builds to a fantastically suspenseful final setpiece.

  • Arsenic and Old Lace

    Arsenic and Old Lace

    ★★★★★

    Riotously funny black comic farce, with just the right amount of actual menace. Clearly based on a play, but Capra directs the hell out of it so that it never feels too stage-bound. I adore Grant in full screwball mode like this.

  • Holy Flame of the Martial World

    Holy Flame of the Martial World

    ★★★★

    Wild Shaw Brothers fantasy action extravaganza, packed with fights and effects, told at a lightning-fast pace, and yes, borderline incomprehensible... but who cares? Tons of fun.

  • When Marnie Was There

    When Marnie Was There

    ★★★★

    Gorgeous "one summer I'll never forget" coming-of-age story mixed with a spooky gothic melodrama. Beautifully animated and full of memorable, complex characters. Another non-Miyazaki Ghibli winner that should be better known in the West.

  • The Hidden Fortress

    The Hidden Fortress

    ★★★★

    Fantastically crafted, rollicking road adventure. Visually astounding -- this was Kurosawa's first time shooting in TohoScope and he's already a master at using the widescreen frame. More of a hangout movie than an action piece, but when the action does come it hits hard -- that spear duel is brilliant stuff.

    Everyone knows that Lucas took elements of the story for STAR WARS, but what stands out for me whenever I watch one of Kurosawa's more populist films like this one is just how much Spielberg cribbed from him.