Favorite films

  • House of Usher
  • Message Man
  • Barquero
  • Diamonds of the Night

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  • Furie

    ★★★★

  • House of Usher

    ★★★★½

  • Cold Ground

    ★★★½

  • Horror in the High Desert

    ★★★

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  • Fail Safe

    Fail Safe

    ★★★★★

    Sidney Lumet takes the same cinematic mechanics that defined 12 Angry Men - fraught dialogue-driven conflict, an unwavering camera, oppressive blocking - and expands that knife-edge emotional rollercoaster to global scale with Cold War stakes. Fail Safe pits fatigued fallible humanity against the inexorable inhuman apparatus of nuclear decisiveness, to deliver a doom-laden procedural masterpiece.

    Doom permeates the film right from its nightmare opening; each scene further sharpens that tension through stark calculated direction. Glimpses of banal melodrama become overshadowed…

  • A Sweet and Vicious Beauty

    A Sweet and Vicious Beauty

    ★★★½

    The current gold standard for trust-me-on-this-one recommendations, because A Sweet & Vicious Beauty does not make a good first impression at all. But stick with it, trust me. 

    The opening fifteen minutes are ROUGH as hell; the budget looks backyard theater production level and let’s just say this isn’t winning any acting/script awards. Doesn’t help that 1) this starts off following the wettest of wet-blanket protagonists and 2) you start to feel a dreadful regret at the realization that this thing…

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  • Furie

    Furie

    ★★★★

    Imagine if Veronica Ngo had been kicking ass like this in the ‘80s and ‘90s? The showdowns she would’ve had with HK titans? If movies like Raging Fire and Invisible Target are throwbacks to old-school cops-v-crooks carnage, Furie feels like a Vietnamese embrace of the Hong Kong beat-em-up, the likes of Angry Ranger or Queen’s High. No-nonsense rollicking momentum, whether it’s a matter of lean plotting or furious combat. Furie’s kinetic camera weaves among Ngo’s crushing precise blows, her everything-is-a-weapon…

  • House of Usher

    House of Usher

    ★★★★½

    The Red Death’s baroque delirium remains Corman’s best Poe IMO, but House of Usher was so engrossing in its contained descent into insanity. A film gripped by suffocating Gothic doom and accursed madness, both qualities oozing from a blond sibilant Vincent Price to permeate every haunting frame. Even Mark Damon’s average outsider - the kind of character who usually distracts from Price in these movies - becomes increasingly incensed and feverish, the cobwebbed halls seeming to corrupt his everyman countenance into…

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  • Gunpowder Milkshake

    Gunpowder Milkshake

    ★★

    There’s a section mid-film where Karen Gillan has a gun and knife taped to her paralyzed arms, swinging them around to fight a trio of hobbled goons, all of them awkwardly trying to kill eachother. During those brief minutes of inspired physical comedy, Gunpowder Milkshake threatens to become something inventive, fun, and different.

    No amount of Gillan swagger, Lena Headey murdering guys with gun-knives, or Angela Bassett doing her best Hammer Girl impression could save this movie though. Remember when…

  • Malignant

    Malignant

    ★★★★½

    Despite admiring Saw, liking Death Sentence and having a good time with Aquaman, I’ve always been somewhat mixed on James Wan. The Conjuring and Insidious never grabbed me (although the former is well overdue for a revisit). His films just seemed to...exist among the wider horror scene, while I gravitated more towards the likes of The Witch and Hereditary.

    But I am 110% here for the James Wan of Malignant. The director cashes in his Fast & Furious/Aquaman/Conjuring blank check on…