• Return of the Jedi

    Return of the Jedi

    ★★★★★

    People say this is the bad one?

    Breathtaking spectacle and scale matched by some of the most intimate character work in the saga. You get a swashbuckling adventure film packaged with George going all in on his Vietnam allegory by taking it to its logical conclusion: the defeat of the Empire by teddy bears. I'm not joking when I say it's a genius swerve, the same singular vision that made the greatest of the Jedi and the sage of wisdom…

  • The Invisible Man

    The Invisible Man

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

    Why wasn't the handprint on the shower bit in the movie?

    A harrowing portrait of how the residual impact of an abusive person can continually shatter your life while also being a well-constructed "predator you can't see" sci-fi stalker thriller. Rare case of "having cake and eating it too" working out, largely because Whannell knows when to play hardball and when to let scenes breathe. One of his best choices is his first: refusing to show any build-up to Cecilia's…

  • The Empire Strikes Back

    The Empire Strikes Back

    ★★★★★

    Given that this is the first real "franchise" sequel, in terms of how we understand the concept as it would come to dominate modern filmmaking, it's amazing how much this film deviates from the mold for sequels it allegedly helped to create.

    People like to forget this, but the "dark" installment of the Original Trilogy doesn't have any major character deaths. Go back and check. Literally none. It's the only Star Wars film where nobody important dies. It also doesn't…

  • Marriage Story

    Marriage Story

    Rough.

    I don't "get" Noah Baumbach. I never have. I don't know if it's because I process movies and emotions and pretty much everything differently than he does. Whatever it is, I am always left cold by his work, with one exception: Frances Ha, which is not only the best movie he's ever made, but also the only one that, to me, felt like it had both a coherent sense of self and actually managed to get me to feel…

  • Star Wars

    Star Wars

    ★★★★★

    The classic to end all classics.

    One of the most economical blockbusters ever made, which is amazing when you realize we don't meet our main character until about twenty minutes in. A testament to the power of George's mythic vision and the precision of Marcia's ability to edit it into something workable. The story of how disastrous the original cut of this film was is almost as legendary among film historians as the film itself. That Oscar was well deserved.…

  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

    Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

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

    Sorry everyone, but I love this movie.

    It's kind of nuts how this is a better Episode III than the real Episode III. There's some alternate dimension where this movie (presumably with an opening crawl and a different title because Rogue One doesn't really fit the name scheme of the saga films) was the final installment of the prequel trilogy and on opening night people lost their fucking minds in the theatre when they realized it literally segues perfectly into…

  • Solo: A Star Wars Story

    Solo: A Star Wars Story

    (long sigh)

    The only Star Wars movie that doesn't feel like a Star Wars movie.

    Some people will think that's a different criticism than I'm actually making, but whatever. As frustrating as the prequels are, I can respect that they were incredibly ambitious and were trying for something. This doesn't try for anything. I'm not even one of the "Release the Lord and Miller Cut!" people. The bits and pieces of this that feel like them don't work either. I…

  • Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith

    Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith

    Ugh, what the fuck

    Revenge of the Sith is commonly referred to as the "best" of the prequels. Some even consider it to be in league with the Original Trilogy. Quite frankly, I think that's beyond absurd and bordering on insane. I'm part of the minority contingent who think it's the worst of the main saga, not necessarily because it's devoid of any merit but because of how hard it blows all the potential it has. You have to try

  • Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones

    Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones

    Alright, time for a hot take. After my latest rewatch of the prequel trilogy in a single sitting, it's time to speak my truth.
    Attack of the Clones is my favourite prequel.

    Everybody says this is "the worst Star Wars movie" like it's a known fact. I'm not here to tell them they're wrong. I'm here to, if not necessarily "go to bat" for this film, to at least offer an alternate perspective, and say that out of the three…

  • Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace

    Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace

    Finally doing my Episode IX rewatch so it's time to talk about all these damned Star Wars movies

    It's been several years since I've watched any of the prequels. I know a lot of people have turned around on them, and that many of the kids who grew up with them are now adults who still love them. I was one of those kids. This movie came out when I was five years old. I watched it four times at…

  • Terminator: Dark Fate

    Terminator: Dark Fate

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

    It's fine.

    I always find it weird when the subtitles that franchise sequels are forced to go with since movie studios decided that numbered installments went out of vogue don't actually reflect the movie's story in any meaningful way. Avengers: Age of Ultron doesn't feature the "Age" of Ultron, since the entire plot takes place over about four days. You could probably interchange all of the generic titles of the Resident Evil sequels (aside from The Final Chapter for obvious…

  • Men in Black

    Men in Black

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

    I watched all four Men in Black films in the last 24 hours so I guess it's time to talk about them.

    Men in Black is not a franchise.
    That might be a weird thing to say when there's four of these movies, but I think it needs to be said. Men in Black was technically based on a Marvel comic book, but it threw out almost everything about those comics besides the title. It has sequels and tie-ins, but…