• The Sentinel

    The Sentinel

    ★★★½

    I hadn't seen "The Sentinel" in years. A strange, enjoyable, and distinctly 1970s horror, it's clearly influenced by "Rosemary's Baby" and less-so "The Exorcist," but in keeping with the strange surrealism of "Suspiria" (also released in 1977), and perhaps influential on "The Eyes of Laura Mars," which came out the following year - another film I should rewatch.

    Some of the special effects are dated, the soundscape is a tad shrill, and the storyline is bizarre, but as a study…

  • Possessor

    Possessor

    ★★★★

    I am still thinking about this film days later; I think I like it more as I think about it.

  • She Dies Tomorrow

    She Dies Tomorrow

    ★★★

    Stylistically "She Dies Tomorrow" is an interesting film, but there is so little to it and it's so inconclusive (ha-ha) that it's frustrating.

    It tries to be an existentialist meditation on finitude (quoting Camus is quite transparent), but because it jumps around between several characters, we are given no sense of clarity and no understanding of ontology: instead nothing but resignation and brief, superficial moments.

    The film is obviously more postmodern than Camus. Is it a pandemic or apocalypse narrative,…

  • I See You

    I See You

    ★★★

    Short on writing, long on plot swerves, "I See You" is good for a thrill, but I wanted more. It bugs me when narrative elements are merely "revealed" or "suggested" unless the style of the film works that way (for example, surrealism); otherwise, tell me a story: flesh it out. The twists at the end were intriguing, but barely in sketch form. Seeing isn't everything.

    P.S. I watched the wrong one first, too *facepalm*

  • Helter Skelter: An American Myth

    Helter Skelter: An American Myth

    ★★★★

    Excellent especially for its depiction of the after-effects of and on Manson's family: the trial, the time in Death Valley and the disillusionment of some members of the cult. Aspects of the episodes are repetitive but overall this is an interesting series, with LOADS of context footage.

  • Doctor Sleep

    Doctor Sleep

    ★★★½

    It's funny how many reviewers note they were "surprised" they liked "Doctor Sleep" as much as they did - but that's exactly how I felt too.

    I was captivated by the story (I read the book back in 2013 when it came out), loved seeing Ewan McGregor again, and liked the cast as a whole - the Knots were so well-conceived, from their RVs, to their costumes & props. But I was most surprised by how keyed up & frightened I was…

  • Trouble Every Day

    Trouble Every Day

    ★★★½

    Such a strange film about hunger and obsession. Filmed beautifully, with a great original soundtrack, Claire Denis' "Trouble Every Day" tells its story almost entirely through visuals; the dialogue is strikingly sparse. But the story is more hypnotizing as a result. Beatrice Dalle plays Core, an imprisoned carnivorous? vampiric? cannibalistic? beauty, who breaks out occasionally, and who reminds me of Scarlet Johansson's alien-woman in "Under the Skin," both luring men to their demise like sirens, in an erotic and captivating way. The film is also repugnant, in some parts, but I couldn't look away.

  • Meditation Park

    Meditation Park

    ★★★★

    I adored "Meditation Park."

    This film is such a thoughtful depiction of ageing, immigrant families, and neighbourliness. It's a slow-moving dramedy, eking out gentle revelations about self-hood, particularly that of Maria, a Chinese-Canadian grandmother, who is - minute-by-minute - realizing that she has forsaken her identity in order to prop up her husband's, who hasn't returned the favour, subsuming her under his household rule. He's not a bad man, but he fears death, causing him to seek control. As Maria…

  • Palm Springs

    Palm Springs

    ★★★★

    So I cried when the Kate Bush song came on. LOL. I am such a romantic sap. I also groaned aloud and thought, "Oh. This a rip off of 'Groundhog Day'."

    Such is the journey that I undertook while watching "Palm Springs" on a balmy summer's eve, which, bizarrely, follows the journey of our main characters: in other words, I wanted to love it, then I thought, "no, actually, I think I hate this," after which, I resolved, "oh well,…

  • Relic

    Relic

    ★★★★

    "Relic" is a slow burn, with a wild third act that had me breathless; I am a little claustrophobic, so when you watch this you'll know why.

    The film is also something of an intimate version of Darren Aronofsky's "Mother," but rather than exploring God-complexes and the Apokalypse, Natalie Erika James examines generations and the interconnected roles of maiden-mother-and-crone, through the triptych of wholly invested performances by Robin Nevin, Emily Mortimer, and Bella Heathcote.

    Perhaps the house itself should be…

  • The Dark Mirror

    The Dark Mirror

    ★★★½

    Within one minute, "The Dark Mirror" is underway with a murder, and we are swept into a mystery and investigation immediately. The twin factor is held back a little longer, but once it is revealed that Terry and Ruth Collins are twins - and not very cooperative ones at that - the uncanny doubling is everywhere.

    The detective implores, "which one did what?!" But to no avail. They are the prime suspects, but they have alibis. The twins, both played…

  • The Rental

    The Rental

    ★★★

    "The Rental" does a fine job at building tension between the operating landlord of the house-rental and the four city-dwelling hipsters who've rented it for the weekend. I particularly enjoyed the way the conflicts are layered, be they racial, familial, and/or marital.

    However, the randomness of the third act results in a weak denouement, almost undoing all the care generated toward the characters in the first two acts. For example, I was expecting a connection, an "ah-ha!" in the final…