• Run Silent, Run Deep

    Run Silent, Run Deep

    ★★★½

    What can’t Robert Wise do? Hollywood’s most versatile craftsman turns his shine on the submarine genre for expectedly entertaining results. Plenty of internal strife amongst the ranks, silent tension in the deep, and all manner of other now-expected tropes of the sub-genre are solidly implemented.

  • The Sound of 007

    The Sound of 007

    ★★★½

    Sure this is another Eon sanctioned Bond doc that feels like thinly veiled promotional material for No Time to Die, but as long as they keep being this well put together I won’t be one to complain. Great editing and cool motion graphics keep this from being stodgy and successfully “visualize” a story about sound. Not a ton of new info hear for Bond heads, but the participants are largely very candid (apart from the No Time to Die stuff,…

  • Panic

    Panic

    ★★★½

    Panique successfully captures the psychological schisms
    between outsiders and society at large, with criminality as the difficult to parse interlocutor between them, that is a common theme in Georges Simenon’s writing (I don’t know how faithful this one is as a specific adaptation though, as I haven’t read Monsieur Hire's Engagement). Here the outsider, a genial but undoubtedly odd Monseuir Hire, is willfully misidentified as the culprit of a murder — first by the actual criminals and later by the…

  • Decision to Leave

    Decision to Leave

    ★★★½

    Park Chan-wook turns his maximalist stylistic flourishes — with which he even manages to make texting an inventively visual display on screen — to a more subdued romance-thriller than the baroque genre turns he’s known for. The result is a movie where I was constantly waiting for another shoe to drop to both twist the plot and deepen our understanding of the characters. Much of the film seems inspired by Vertigo, but where that film is constantly taking dreamy detours…

  • John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum

    John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum

    ★★★

    This one really started to test the limits of how much I care to sit through anything other than John Wick killing lots of people in these movies.

  • Triple Frontier

    Triple Frontier

    ★★★

    Caught somewhere between the triteness of a gruff, bro-y action movie about America’s broken warriors and a Wages of Fear suspense tale about the lengths (both practically and morally) a group of desperate men will go to to finally make an amount of money they feel they deserve. The former elements are cliched and dull, but the latter is largely well executed and legitimately tense. The first act is a bit of a snore, but once the team is assembled…

  • 3 Women

    3 Women

    ★★★★½

    Altman’s desert nightmare finds insidiousness within the mundane, spaces our subsurface desires have the freedom to run rampant and cause all sorts of internal and external havok. The obviousness of much of the symbolism creates a foothold for the viewer as its structure and narrative turns become more opaque and unpredictable, and you can marvel at the humanity with with these characters are performed (and inhumanity of some of their actions) and glean some meaning while you’re otherwise submerged in the dream logic that gradually takes over.

  • The Menu

    The Menu

    ★★½

    A decently fun setup begins to tire once you realize there are no swerves or surprises on its well-telegraphed punch-line. It’s another heavy-handed metaphor film in the genre space, but without the artistry of execution that come with some of the more famous recent examples (Peele’s work comes to mind, even down to the sketch-comedy vibes). There’s no depth to offset the repetitious structure, and though some of the performances are good it doesn’t shake the feeling of watching a…

  • Chan Is Missing

    Chan Is Missing

    ★★★★

    A smart shoe-string noir that uses genre trappings to dig into the cultural specificity of the Chinese American experience and identity in 80’s San Francisco. Both the A-plot about Chan’s disappearance and the man-on-the-street cinema verite interstitials each reinforce the other by complicating and obfuscating any sort of easy takeaway. The more we learn about Chan the less we can pin him down, and the more we learn about what it means to be “Chinese American” the less we can…

  • She's the Man

    She's the Man

    ★★

    Amanda Bynes was funny. Shame whoever wrote this wasn’t.

  • Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

    Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

    ★★★½

    A slightly different flavored sequel to Knives Out that further codifies Johnson’s approach to the whodunnit genre: an all-star cast (this time around (over)extended to a plethora of cameos), extremely topical politics and discourse laid over goofy mystery archetypes, and a structural gambit that offers a twist on a familiar setup. The latter two elements sparked a degree of annoyance in Knives out and seemingly full-blown ire in Glass Onion among certain audiences, but in both cases I think they’re…

  • Die Hard

    Die Hard

    ★★★★★

    Just as Die Hard ensures all its locations are memorable so they all stand out geographically and you know exactly where John and the ”terrorists” are throughout the movie (porno mag hallway, waterfall atrium, etc), it also has an all-time great henchman selection and ensures each one has a remarkable appearance, line, and/or death so the body count checklist can be easily tracked to keep up with the stakes. Obviously goons like smart-most Theo, Fabio-hair Karl, or even Crunch-bar guy…