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  • Inferno




    Art horror phantasmagoria. There's almost no plot, just scene after thinly connected scene drenched in reds, blues, whispers, and an eerie emptiness. The moments of violence slice through the aural thickness like knives through flesh, the figure of the full moon portends macabre revelations, and almost every shot is exquisite. This is next-level stuff.

  • The Taking of Tiger Mountain

    The Taking of Tiger Mountain



    Reasonably entertaining, as ought to be expected with a cross between Indiana Jones and Seven Samurai helmed by Tsui Hark in digital-era blockbuster mode, but I wish the film had been even crazier, with colors and action that popped more and psychedelic imagery that cleaved closer to the director's best.

    That said, there are these crazy, clearly made-for-3D moments where the film does funky, self-reflexive things with the CG, like freezing the image for a moment while the "camera"…

  • The Bouncer

    The Bouncer



    Art house Van Damme. It's conventional to the core, but Leclercq directs the heck out of this thing, nowhere more so than in a nerve-jangling single-take home invasion sequence and a parking garage chase/shootout that would do Walter Hill proud. Additionally, the film makes great use of silence (some of the best scenes are dialogue-free) and stillness (of both the mise-en-scene and Van Damme's cannily understated performance), which then make the moments of motion and violence that much more powerful.

  • Master Z: Ip Man Legacy

    Master Z: Ip Man Legacy



    The action is exceptional. The pleasingly myriad fight scenes feature whip-fast movements without sacrificing a sense of power, and the camera strikes a near-perfect balance between wide framing for clarity and close-up inserts for literal and figurative punch. Yuen Woo-ping's still got it.

  • The Grey

    The Grey



    "Who do you love?"

    "Let her take you."

    Excels as a visceral Arctic survival tale but hits another level as a poem about the terror and sublimity of death. There are scenes in here that will haunt me for years.

  • Dog Soldiers

    Dog Soldiers



    Evokes Raimi's The Evil Dead not only in the besieged-cabin-in-the-woods premise but in how the film's budgetary constraints led to wild formal innovation. The clash of varied camera angles, whip-fast camera movement, and frantic action staged ingeniously across the clearly delineated geography of a small house creates a crazily kinetic viewing experience (this is the rare case where hyperactive editing actually aids the film's vision), and the whole thing is hilarious to boot.

  • Dead Man

    Dead Man



    On first watch, the individual Quirky scenes were hit or miss for me (I may change my mind with a rewatch), but the cumulative power of the film is overwhelming, with the strangeness of different narrative episodes coalescing into a larger, dream-like feeling and Neil Young's all-timer of a score reverberating with an ambient melancholy. By the final scene, the movie had won me over with its mysterious, evocative vision of death and dying, which here refer to both a metaphysical sense of life's ephemerality and the moral decay of an industrializing America.

    Also, just wanted to reiterate that Young's score is magnificent.

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  • London Has Fallen

    London Has Fallen



    The script is pretty lame in places, the hyper-nationalism is still not great (this might be the first film I've seen where a drone strike is treated as bad-ass) and I wish the film had explored its emptied out, pseudo post-apocalyptic London setting more, Escape From New York-style. All that said, this is still a sturdy, entertaining action thriller filled with car chases, close-quarters combat, and gun battles that culminate with an out-of-nowhere yet extremely welcome long take shootout.

  • Olympus Has Fallen

    Olympus Has Fallen



    There’s no denying that the film peddles the sort of toxic, militaristic hyper-patriotism that marks the U.S. at its most reprehensible, but the ridiculousness of the premise and its execution—a full-scale war on the White House lawn is not an image you see every day—made it easier for me to enjoy the film less as po-faced propaganda than a work of pure genre. The nationalism becomes merely part of the genre scenery, a throwback to those blockbusters where America’s…

  • Triple Threat

    Triple Threat



    "Captain Marvel may seem to be the action movie event of the month, but for fans of martial arts cinema, there’s a far more exciting film coming to Video on Demand on March 22. (It will also play in theaters for one night only — tonight, March 19). Its name is Triple Threat, and it seems tailor-made for action junkies who grew up on a diet of ’80s hard-body action films, kung-fu flicks, and, more recently, contemporary direct-to-video actioners…

  • Triple Frontier

    Triple Frontier



    A tense, wryly amusing story about the logistics of not just hitting the jackpot but moving your winnings (the film feels like a feature-length version of that scene from American Made where Tom Cruise has so much money that he doesn't know where to store it). The film could've cranked up the absurdity of its central premise more, but the A-list cast brings A-game performances, and the smooth, widescreen cinematography (the opposite of the Bourne-style shaky cam often applied…