• No Man's Land

    No Man's Land

    ★★★★

    "With you, even drinking coffee is risky"

    Bosnian soldier Ciki (Branko Duric) finds himself trapped in a trench with Serbian soldier Nino (Rene Bitorajac). The two enemies are forced into a reluctant truce of sorts when Ciki's ally Cera (Filip Sovagovic), who they thought was dead, awakens to find himself laying on a spring mine that will detonate if he takes his weight off it. 

    The first act is solid war movie fare. It's tense and quiet and generates a…

  • An American Tragedy

    An American Tragedy

    ★★½

    After being a passenger during a hit and run accident, creepy coward Clyde Griffiths (Phillips Holmes) flees to another city where he uses a connection with a wealthy relative to become a manager of a business. He starts hitting on Roberta (Sylvia Sidney), an employee almost immediately despite the potential consequences to their employment, and quickly ditches her as soon as she is pregnant for Sondra (Frances Dee) a more upper class woman. Tragedy ensues. 

    Though An American Tragedy is…

  • Murphy's Romance

    Murphy's Romance

    ★★★½

    "When I'm pushed I shove."

    Single mother Emma Moriarty (Sally Field) and her son Jake move to a small town in Arizona to try and build a new life. She opens a business boarding and training horses and starts spending a lot of time with charming widower (and much older) Murphy Jones (James Garner), who runs a pharmacy in town. Their relationship deepens until Emma's immature leech of an ex husband Bobby Jack (Brian Kerwin) shows up and begins making…

  • Firestarter

    Firestarter

    ★½

    About as unremarkable as a film can get, Firestarter (2022) leaves the viewer cold due a lack of character work and poor storytelling. 

    There's some potential here in the core idea, which is basically an X-Men story about a young girl who can't control her destructive powers and is hunted by a government agency. Something is missing though. Between having our protagonist brutally murder a cat and her father use his powers to trick an old man into thinking he…

  • Suddenly, Last Summer

    Suddenly, Last Summer

    ★★★½

    "Most people's lives...what are they but trails of debris. Each day more debris more debris long, long trails of debris. With nothing to clean it all up but finally death." 

    Wealthy eccentric Violet Venable (Katharine Hepburn) is a woman grieving the loss of her son, who died the previous summer. She tries to persuade Dr. John Cukrowicz (Montgomery Clift), a lobotomy 'expert', to perform his craft on her niece Catherine (Elizabeth Taylor), who was with her son at the time…

  • This Is the Night

    This Is the Night

    ★★★

    When Claire (Thelma Todd) gets busted having an affair by her husband Stephen (Cary Grant) their sweet sweet trip to Venice is put in danger. Her lover Gerald (Roland Young) hires Germaine (Lili Damita) to pretend to be his wife and accompany him on vacation so he and Claire have plausible deniability and can keep hooking up. Shenanigans ensue as everyone spins schemes and counter schemes against everyone and amorous feelings shift from person to person. 

    The version on Criterion…

  • The Children's Hour

    The Children's Hour

    ★★★★

    "Wicked very young...wicked very old."

    Martha Dobie (Shirley MacLaine) and Karen Wright (Audrey Hepburn) are steadfast friends of many years who run a girl's school together. Things are going well until one day Mary (Karen Balkin), an awful kid, decides to use misunderstood snippets of information to spread rumours that her two teachers have been lovers. Their life unravels. 

    Stepping out from under the most oppressive aspects of the Hays Code, Wyler's second crack at the source material restores core…

  • These Three

    These Three

    ★★★½

    Two young women, Martha (Miriam Hopkins) and Karen (Merle Oberon), who are close friends decide to open a girl's school together when confronted with the question of what to do with their lives. Upon arrival in their new town they are both swept away by the dashing jack of all trades Dr. Joseph Cardin (Joel McCrea), creating a bit of a love triangle. Since Martha graciously steps back and keeps her feelings to herself, this isn't a problem until Mary…

  • The Lost City

    The Lost City

    ★★½

    Loretta Sage (Sandra Bullock), a prolific author of romantic adventure novels, is in a funk. She's avoided doing much of anything since the death of her husband a few years back until her agent finally convinces her to crank out the latest entry into the series. She includes some historical references to a lost city that attracts the attention of rich weirdo Abigail Fairfax (Daniel Radcliffe), who kidnaps her to try and force her to find the place in real…

  • Undine

    Undine

    ★★★★

    Christian Petzold's Undine is a fascinating mixture of melodramatic romance and fantasy, with a couple erotic thriller elements thrown in for good measure. We know something isn't quite right almost immediately as we open with a hurt Undine (Paula Beer) informing the man who is in the process of leaving her for someone else that if he follows through she will "have to kill him". There's a resignation to Beer's delivery that lets us know that the subtext is "I…

  • Don't Breathe

    Don't Breathe

    ★★★

    "There is nothing a man cannot do once he accepts the fact that there is no God."

    Three down on their luck young criminals pick the wrong house to rob. The tables are quickly turned on them and what should have been a simple job becomes an inescapable nightmare. 

    Don't Breath does a good job taking a familiar enough premise, people lured into situation way over their head by greed, and transposing some fun and interesting flourishes onto it. The…

  • After Yang

    After Yang

    ★★★★


    "What the caterpillar calls the end, the rest of the world calls the butterfly."

    In an unspecified future, Jake (Colin Farrell) and Kyra (Jodie Turner-Smith) purchase Yang, a techno-sapien, to help with raising their adopted daughter Mika (Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja) and ensuring she learns about her culture (something her non Asian adopted parents can't really be of much assistance with). After becoming a beloved part of the family, Yang falls into a type of coma, leaving them to grapple with…