• Roja

    Roja

    ★★★★

    All the performances are great, but Madhoo is as good as it gets.

    The romance strikes just the right balance of whimsy, sensuality, tension and friendship. The supporting characters in the village add such a nice realist touch.

    The themes of patriotism and the encroaching expansion of Imperialism on marginalized communities strikes a balance that is surprisingly nuanced. Rahman's music still captivates me, and as much as I love Pudhu Vella Mazhai, it's the incidental music that makes so many of the tense scenes work so well.

  • A Quiet Place Part II

    A Quiet Place Part II

    ★★

    You take one game of raptor peekaboo in the kitchen, you take one face off with a demogorgon, you take one alien weakness from Signs, and try to stitch it together with solid acting and  a few interesting mechanics revolving around breath and the sense of hearing: I mean, you could do worse. Good execution of a flimsy concept that thought it was higher on its own supply than it really was.

  • Enter the Void

    Enter the Void

    ★★★★

    I think the film accomplishes its goals. Some very effective visceral moments for me at least. May merit a rewatch. Not sure what to think all told. From a certain angle I see it as a vanity project, but it's most likely a sour grapes scenario. I think it's is quite daring and intentionally off-putting. Like Haneke on acid at a rave. Not my favorite. But it is stuck in my mind so I think it is a success as a work of Art.

  • Tremors

    Tremors

    ★★★★½

    Maybe overrated. Michael Gross And Reba shooting that graboid is all I need out of a movie. The "Stampede!" bookend is such a clean setup-payoff. Really holds up for me.

  • Molly's Game

    Molly's Game

    ★★★

    Initial viewing - loved it. The Harlan Eustice scene was a gut-puncher that I needed at this time in my life. Perhaps the most effective anti-addiction PSA I have ever seen. It's a parable that hit me at just the right time. The rest of the movie holds for up me as well. Would like to revisit when I'm at a bit of a more stable place in my life for a more dispassionate review.

  • Cruising

    Cruising

    ★★★

    I was confused by the directorial choices in this one. The ambiguity concerning the killer seemed like a gimmick to me. I'm a huge fan of Friedkin, but sometimes his work shows age. Different strokes I reckon, but the ADR in this one just really breaks the spell. Feels so canned. The film as a whole just didn't connect for me.

  • The Cell

    The Cell

    ★★★

    D'onofrio creeped me out at first. The hooks stuff was unsettling. Has that Tarsem flair, but loses steam. Just not fully realized. Feels like a pastiche of Hannibal Lechter material mixed with Matrix and Dreamscape. Just doesn't quite land for me.

  • Downton Abbey

    Downton Abbey

    ★★★★

    It's soapy, contrived, convenient, and melodramatic. I loved it. It feels like one of the better seasons sqauashed into a nice neat package. Like a nice visit with friends. Perfect cinematic eulogy to Maggie Smith. A lot of the convenient moments really don't work, but the sentiment won me over. Production value taken up a level, but not overwrought. In the vein of big screen adaptations of serialized content like The Simpsons movie or Prairie Home Companion, but better than…

  • The Descent

    The Descent

    ★★★★

    Perfect depiction of claustrophobia.

  • Sorcerer

    Sorcerer

    ★★★★½

    Hard for me to be objective about this film. Will need to take some more time to think on it. Currently in my top ten.

  • Midsommar

    Midsommar

    ★★★★

    Requires an open mind and a willingness to decrypt its message. It's the feel good cult-horror of the year.  

    I would have made it shorter, but I can understand why Aster preferred making it this way. 

    Florence Pugh is so good. Absolute mastery. Deserves to stand alongside Collette's performance in Hereditary. 

    It's a real credit to Aster, too, that he can write these leads in such a way to leave the actresses room to deliver performances with such dynamic…

  • Triangle

    Triangle

    ★★★★

    My knee-jerk reaction is to give this a favorable rating. Will revisit my rating after subjecting it to sufficient scrutiny. The central theme makes it compelling to me. The execution is so-so. Tone, character, plot, casting, acting, and dependence on distracting CG  are all pretty perfunctory.  I still recommend it though. It is daring in its own way, and adds something to the contributions already made by similar films like Stay, Identity and in some ways (one particular way) even Hereditary and Netflix's miniseries adaptation of The Haunting of Hill House.