• Hotel Transylvania: Transformania

    Hotel Transylvania: Transformania

    ★★

    I have enjoyed the previous "Hotel Transylvania" movies so I figured there was no reason I would enjoy this one any less.

    But I did enjoy it less. Because I think this series has just run out of ambition, run out of jokes and played out its whole "monster hotel/Dracula as overprotective dad" schtick. But, to be fair, this schtick worked and paid off far longer than I expected it to.

    I come not to bury "Hotel Transylvania 4" or…

  • Rush Hour 3

    Rush Hour 3

    ★★★½

    By the time "Rush Hour 3" came out, I had no interest in it. Well, okay, I was slightly intrigued that they had managed to lure Max Von Sydow into one of these (Von Sydow is one of my favorite actors, so his presence always increases my interest in something) but otherwise I wasn't really clamoring for another installment in the "Rush Hour" franchise. I didn't have very fond memories of the second one and though I enjoyed the first…

  • Shanghai Noon

    Shanghai Noon

    ★★★★

    I miss the days when Owen Wilson was in seemingly everything. He's got ample movie star charisma but it's such a totally oddball form of charisma that, frankly, looking back on this era from twenty years later, it's kind of strange that he became such a huge star. He emerged in "Bottle Rocket", a movie that I don't think got much mainstream traction until "Rushmore" hit big and people started digging backward to see where Wes Anderson had come from…

  • Candyman

    Candyman

    ★★★

    An artist looking for inspiration (played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) becomes obsessed with a local urban legend while wandering around a gentrified neighborhood trying to figure out his next project (with which he wants to say something about gentrification). Soon people around him start ending up brutally murdered and he may or may not be losing his mind.

    Even as a guy who finds subtlety kind of overrated, Nia DaCosta's "Candyman" lays it themes and intentions on quite thick. I…

  • Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous

    Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous

    ★★

    Gracie Hart finds that undercover work is now impossible for her within the Bureau after she tackled Miss United States and stopped the bombing of a beauty pageant live on national television, so the Bureau asks her to be a public relations agent instead, making appearances on talk shows and doing public signings of the book she has written about her experience. When former Miss Rhode Island and current Miss United States (Heather Burns) and William Shatner (I think he's…

  • Miss Congeniality

    Miss Congeniality

    ★★★★

    Sandra Bullock is Gracie Hart, a tough-as-nails female FBI agent who, due to her plain dress and tomboy attitude, is dismissed as "one of the guys". But when the FBI needs someone to go undercover at the "Miss United States" beauty pageant after it's been threatened by the movie's generic equivalent of the Unabomber (here known as "The Citizen"), Gracie has to undergo a quick extreme makeover for both her physical appearance (they glam her right up) and her manners…

  • The House

    The House

    ★★★★

    The animation style caught my eye, but I probably would have forgotten about it (as I do with most Netflix original movies, frankly if not for "Cobra Kai" and "Stranger Things" I could probably cancel my Netflix account and never miss it) but it lodged in my wife's brain and wouldn't leave, so she insisted we check it out.

    And I'm glad we did.

    "The House" is about, um, you probably can figure out what it's about. (Hint: it's right…

  • Rumble in the Bronx

    Rumble in the Bronx

    ★★★★★

    I know this will probably sound unenlighted to certain people (namely Jackie Chan snobs) but I believe "Rumble in the Bronx" is the greatest demonstration of Jackie Chan's powers and prowess that I have yet seen. And, yes, I've seen "Police Story" and "Project A" and "Drunken Master" and I liked all of them. But "Rumble in the Bronx" simply unhinges my jaw, gets my adrenaline pumping and turns me into a giddy moron more effectively than any other Jackie…

  • The Big Steal

    The Big Steal

    ★★★½

    "The Big Steal" is an early Don Siegel film, which is enough to pique my interest. But then you've got Robert Mitchum and Jane Greer, reuniting after their earlier triumph "Out of the Past", which further sweetens the deal. When you notice that it has a length of only 70 minutes, well, that's the icing on the cake.

    At least it was for me.

    Mitchum has come to Mexico to recover a large payroll that was stolen from him by…

  • The Tragedy of Macbeth

    The Tragedy of Macbeth

    ★★★★½

    Joel Coen's first solo film in the director's chair, "The Tragedy of Macbeth" takes the classic Shakespearean play and takes a German Expressionist (which, to me, means obvious sets that are nonetheless badass) by way of Ingmar Bergman (grim but emotionally vibrant, usually in black and white) route in adapting it that works remarkably well.

    The acting is superb, of course. Denzel Washington takes the Shakespearean dialogue and delivers it in a natural way that really soars. A lot of…

  • Eternals

    Eternals

    ★★★

    The "Eternals" are a group of, er, eternal beings of various races, ages, and sizes who were deposited on Earth thousands of years ago to protect mankind from "Deviants" who are big lizard-looking things and not sex predators that have to wear ankle bracelets. They believe they wiped out the last of the Deviants hundreds of years ago and have been waiting on Earth for orders from the Celestial who assigned them this gig. When they encounter a Deviant at…

  • Year of the Dragon

    Year of the Dragon

    ★★★

    I think Michael Cimino's "Heaven's Gate" is one of the most spellbinding epics ever made, a tragic saga that combines the grandeur of David Lean with a New Hollywood, gritty auteur sensibility to create one of, in my opinion, the best movies ever made. "The Deer Hunter" is almost equal to it. Both films are stunning feats of dark storytelling told on the biggest canvas possible, and I find them more impressive every time I visit them. I like his…