• Men

    Men

    ★★½

    Effective toolkit (Jessie Buckley's tremendous, Rory Kinnear positively unnerving in all iterations, singular sound design with her echoes as a recurring motif and those chanting choirs, richly colored and deeply mysterious English countryside generating folk horror vibes, some lighting choices that will haunt the mind like the way the apple tree is illuminated by some kind of spotlight at night) but it's servicing a terminally minor work. A movie about the insidious threat of the male gender on all women…

  • Language Lessons

    Language Lessons

    ★★★★

    "My Skype Call with Andre". Another minimalist Duplass miracle: a whole movie of Facetime calls, nothing more nothing less. Mark Duplass gets a year's worth of Spanish lessons as a gift, his teacher being Natalie Morales in Argentina, so they tiptoe into a friendship over the course of many teleconference tutorials. It's a conversation movie, a romance too albeit the platonic kind (Duplass is gay), and an inevitable Covid-era production gimmick. Could've been laborious and dry but however they workshopped…

  • Violets Are Blue

    Violets Are Blue

    ★★★½

    Humming little romantic drama about high school sweethearts who go their separate ways - he settles down in their hometown as a journalist with a wife and a kid, she becomes a successful international photographer - then reunite one hot summer as adults when she comes back for a visit. As the "Who's the Boss" theme reminds us, there's a path you take and a path not taken; the choice is up to you. Kevin Kline and Sissy Spacek are…

  • The Bad News Bears

    The Bad News Bears

    ★★★½

    Not that funny anymore after subsequent decades of improved jerk-humor and fouler-mouthed kids and subverting family-friendly formulas every which way (though seeing the kids in this smoking and drinking has become more of a taboo than ever half a century later, ironically), but poignant under the hood, and pretty riveting as a baseball movie in the end, after everyone's characteristics and motives have been established for the final game, and the stakes are laid out. The script wanders too much…

  • Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers

    Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers

    ★★★½

    Common dilemma we're all aware of: revisiting childhood entertainments, specifically that which was made for children. They often don't age well, or the decades since have seen significant advances in aesthetics, sensibilities have changed/accelerated, our adult personas have cultivated different tastes, those old shows/movies were actually pretty empty, just time-filling pinwheels of color and motion. This happened to me with "Ducktales" many years ago, a show I still admire for its sense of adventure, all-time great theme song and relatively…

  • The Parallax View

    The Parallax View

    ★★★★

    Just read Sean Fennessey's review, it's a master class.

    One of cinema's political thriller ur-texts, "Parallax" views its common tale of conspiracy and corruption under glass, as Alan J. Pakula frames much of the action from a distance, without pulse-pounding music cues, or with impressionistic shot composition and editing that make it feel like a dream. It's almost like a commentary on political thrillers more than it's trying to be another one itself. Everything from the Kennedy assassination to "The Manchurian…

  • The Addams Family 2

    The Addams Family 2

    ★★★

    *sorry for the long review of a trifling movie. Consider it a loose chat, jump in at any paragraph for a different observation*

    Now maybe it's just because we had a prior movie to get used to this latest Addamsthetic, but this sequel, which re-uses a lot of the same schtick, somehow sits more comfortably and feels like an improvement. Not that it ranks alongside either of the '90s Barry Sonnenfeld live action versions; just that it's easier to enjoy…

  • This Is the Night

    This Is the Night

    ★★★

    After creating the "Purge" series and collaborating on its 5 films and 2 TV seasons, James DeMonaco cashes in his blank check with a coming-of-age odyssey set in 1982 Staten Island. Didn't see that coming, but at least the all-nighter timeline of the story tracks from his earlier work (aka the very premise of "The Purge" as well as long-ago scripts he wrote like "The Negotiator" and the "Assault on Precinct 13" remake; the guy loves a half-day plot discipline).…

  • Piranha

    Piranha

    ★★★

    This barely fulfills its quota as an above-average B-movie: plenty of Texas-summer-by-the-lake atmosphere, signature-Dante tongue in cheek tidbits (I always forget there's a totally unrelated lab experiment monster in this that isn't even remarked upon), and prime character actor glory (Kevin McCarthy, Keenan Wynn, Barbara Steele and Dick Miller: we salute you). The trilling sound of the swarming fish becomes more endearing the more times you've seen the movie, and the crunching noises are appreciated. If you've seen the much…

  • Jackass 4.5

    Jackass 4.5

    ★★★½

    In case you haven't seen other .5 "Jackass" in-between-quels, this isn't just some time-filling extended scenes compilation you might find on a DVD. There are tons of all-new stunt sequences presented here, and continuations of those from "Jackass Forever" this past February, a bit of behind-the-scenes exposition about how the movie came together, how it ironically started production just a week before the Covid shutdown and when it resumed filming seven months later Johnny Knoxville's hair had gone completely grey,…

  • Charlie's Angels

    Charlie's Angels

    ★★★★½

    Me watching this movie: swirls for eyes, circus music playing dimly in the background like a siren under whose spell I have fallen, euphoria blasting out of my orifices like a person fusing with sunlight. I unabashedly loved this movie back in 2000 and I still do! THIS is fun popcorn blockbuster entertainment. It's a firehose of glee. This is the ideal for me. Maximalist candied-world visual panache, boundlessly positive cast chemistry (you can't even tell some of these people…

  • Beer

    Beer

    ★★

    "All beer is essentially the same. Piss colored fermented water."

    A movie called "Beer" could have gone pretty much anywhere. Among those who have ever heard of this low-charting '80s comedy, I wonder how beer-drinkers feel about it being an advertising satire rather than a barfly hang-out joint or an inane sex farce like other appetizing '80s titles like "Hot Dog: The Movie", "Hamburger: The Motion Picture", "The French Fries Film", etc. At least this thing is trying to be…