• The Belko Experiment

    The Belko Experiment

    ★★★

    Nothing really interesting going on with the office setting - not thematically or even with the kills - or with the experimentation angle; when someone at the ends notes all the insights into human behavior they gleaned, I was left scratching my head at what that could be. But it's also not without its lurid genre pleasures, a quietly stacked cast of solid character actors in business attire getting to go buck wild - John C. McGinley in particular really reveling in playing a lunatic - and some enjoyably gruesome kills.

  • Short Cuts

    Short Cuts

    ★★★★

    "He's all I got. I need company."

    These sorts of it's-all-connected narratives are usually hard for me to totally get on board with, but this might be the best one at making the connections between its absurdly stacked cast of characters not really seem contrived, all of them eventually linked fairly naturally via the plot and and thematically through living with pervasive reminders of death, both distant or intangible (aging, ambient pollution, the prospect of random violence or accident) or…

  • The Boys in the Band

    The Boys in the Band

    ★★★

    I've got no familiarity with this play or the earlier film, but definitely came away impressed with the distinct characterizations of the script and the performances - Parsons in particular is pretty great as he gets more and more bitter and some of the dramatic moments really deliver. That said, not sure if it's a Netflix thing or a Ryan Murphy thing, but it seemed all a little glossy/polished to really reach the ugliness I think(?) it's striving for near the end.

  • Braindead

    Braindead

    ★★★½

    Have to admit that for the first half of a movie billed in part as a comedy, there's not much in the way of jokes beyond: 'isn't this gross?' Eventually, though, a few great gags ("I kick ass for the lord!", a zombie baby, and some of the dialogue when the zombies swarm a dinner party) won me over, as did the sheer number of ways Jackson is able to deliver the gore in the utterly absurd last 30 minutes.…

  • Man of Tai Chi

    Man of Tai Chi

    ★★★½

    100% a video game movie - very dumb and not really too far removed at all plotwise from something like Mortal Kombat, basically just a vehicle for some very impressive martial arts choreography and cool settings. Tiger Chen lacks any of Keanu's charisma whatsoever but makes up for it by kicking a ton of ass, and it's a blast seeing Keanu ham it up as an evil, manipulative dickhead, especially in this era where he's (deservedly) everyone's favorite nice movie…

  • Stalker

    Stalker

    ★★★½

    "My dear, the world is so unutterably boring. There's no telepathy, no ghosts, no flying saucers. They can't exist. The world is ruled by cast-iron laws. These laws are not broken. They just can't be broken."

    This feels like a blasphemous rating, but I have to admit stretches of this felt like an absolute eternity. Very striking, alienating atmosphere and eventually its probing into issues of desire, faith, and self-actualization coheres into something really interesting. That said, on this day, I simply felt too dumb to appreciate it consistently on the level it aspires to. A future, closely attentive rewatch is certainly in the cards.

  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze

    Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze

    ★★

    It takes over an hour to get to Vanilla Ice which is BY FAR the best part of this movie which is itself all you need to know

  • Bulworth

    Bulworth

    ★★★½

    "Come on, we got 3 pretty rich guys here, getting paid by some REALLY rich guys to ask a couple of other rich guys questions about their campaigns....which are financed by the same guys that pay you guys your money. What are we talking about here?"

    Adored this movie's radicalism and its fairly vicious conception of an utterly hollow, bought-and-sold political class. It's an inspired choice to make Bulworth at the beginning a spineless neoliberal -during Clinton's heyday! - but…

  • Richard Jewell

    Richard Jewell

    ★★★★

    "How can they do that?"

    "Because you don't matter. That's how come."

    Knocked this a tad my first watch because of Hamm's and especially Wilde's ludicrously dumb performances, shines through clearer now that it's all Clint's utter contempt for cops (a consistent theme in his late career, despite popular belief) and the press (completely fitting for this shameful story). One of the most anti-journalist movies ever, and maybe Clint's late-career masterpiece?

  • The Tracker

    The Tracker

    ★★★½

    Mostly great as a centerpiece for David Gulpilil, who I'd only seen in a few other things before this but is always a compelling presence. Even at 90 minutes this is pretty thin as far as incident, lots of padding with montages of the Australian countryside set to some rootsy Australian folk music (performed by an Indigenous musician, I discovered afterwards) . But that's some pretty gorgeous padding, and Gulpilil rules as an Indigenous bush tracker, seemingly obedient to the white cops using his services and slowly revealing much more to his character.

  • They Shoot Horses, Don't They?

    They Shoot Horses, Don't They?

    ★★★★

    "Maybe it's just the whole damned world is like central casting."

    The kind of premise you might knock for being too on the nose without the knowledge that: (1) these sort of contests actually happened during the Great Depression; and (2) just a few months ago a video went viral of teachers scrounging for dollar bills to pay for their classes during intermission of a hockey game.

    A minor complaint, but don't think the flash forwards add a ton to…

  • American Splendor

    American Splendor

    ★★★★

    "Harvey tends to push the negative or the sour and he can be very depressed, and therefore very depressing.... He just doesn't think that sunshine and flowers sell."

    Genuinely one of the best Giamatti performances! He's one of my favorites even though (or actually because) so many of his characters still seem kinda like Paul Giamatti, but contrasted with stylized interviews with the real Harvey Pekar, his commitment is all the more impressive.

    Had no familiarity with Pekar or his…