• Eraserhead

    Eraserhead

    David Lynch took a whopping five years to produce his first feature film, and the result is a cult classic masterpiece that represents the troubles and anxieties of parenthood on one hand while showing an industrialized world devoid of humanity, hope, and empathy on the other, and its depressing setting and mood, blank color palette, lifeless soundscapes, and grotesque makeup and special effects help to make us feel as trapped and perturbed as its protagonist before leading us to an inevitably shocking but cathartic ending.

  • Midsommar

    Midsommar

    ★★★★½

    With a slow-burning breakup story at the heart of its morbid pagan cult plot; a sophisticated portrayal of grief, trauma, toxicity, and even hallucinogens; an astonishing performance by Florence Pugh; stunning craftsmanship across the board; an unsettling contrast between beauty and horror; an effective sense of humor; and extraordinary visions and visceral moments throughout, Ari Aster bleeds the colors of various genres into a nerve-racking and spellbinding experience like no other.

  • F9

    F9

    ★★

    This is proof that the franchise can only push its ambition and ridiculous stunts so far before the result becomes tiresome, and the storyline between Dom and his estranged brother is too soulless and contrived to make us care about what’s happening anyway. But at least the very end has a welcome surprise.

  • Pig

    Pig

    ★★½

    I appreciate how Nic Cage is taking roles in unusual indie films that would have otherwise been more easily overlooked by general audiences, and he gives his most somber and heartfelt performance to date, but while Pig certainly has some meaningful things to say, the lack of exposition and tension, strange tone, and uninspiring plot made it hard to get invested in the story—thus rendering its few emotional highs ineffectual.

  • Judas and the Black Messiah

    Judas and the Black Messiah

    ★★★½

    Stanfield and Plemons shine, and Kaluuya steals the show with his performance, but the film itself is a little bland compared with other civil rights films and fails to reach its full potential when it comes to emotionally investing the audience.

  • Fast & Furious 6

    Fast & Furious 6

    ★★★★

    While most would argue that Fast Five is the best of the franchise, this film doubles down on everything that made that film successful while upping the ante with a consistently engrossing plot that increases the stakes and benefits from a menacing villain, a surprisingly emotional touch, and an abundance of exciting and stupefying action that doesn’t always need to make sense so long as it’s about family.

  • Annihilation

    Annihilation

    ★★★★

    An extraordinary and thought-provoking science fiction film that effectively condenses and deviates from its source material while leaving us with some beautiful, eerie, and frightening scenes and with plenty to chew on after it’s over.

  • Fast Five

    Fast Five

    ★★★

    Action-packed and decent fun, Fast Five is nothing too remarkable although it does boast some unique set pieces and solid stunt work, and the plot—albeit somewhat predictable and questionable at times—offers some surprises, and while certainly the most ambitious entry thus far, it launched the series in a new direction that would change it forever.

  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

    Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

    A magnificent, touching, darkly humorous, and very well-written drama about anger, loss, grief, despair, and compassion—with outstanding work from its superb ensemble cast (minus Lucas Hedges’ underacting) and one all-time great scene that surely won Sam Rockwell his well-deserved Oscar.

  • The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift

    The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift

    ★★

    The age disparity between the actors and the teenagers they play demands an awful amount of suspension of disbelief, the music during most of the action scenes cheapens them, and the story is thus far the weakest of the franchise, but it is refreshing to see how little the film relies on CGI for its stunts, and it does a good job—like the previous entries—at fleshing out its characters.

  • A Quiet Place Part II

    A Quiet Place Part II

    ★★½

    After a gripping opening, the film reveals that it inherited a lot of flaws from its predecessor—namely a lack of logic from characters and the story and in this case, a few blatant conveniences and questionable narrative choices, but it still racks up a fair amount of tension, suspense, and surprises to deliver a sufficient monster movie.

  • 2 Fast 2 Furious

    2 Fast 2 Furious

    ★★

    John Singleton proves himself a better director than Rob Cohen in this film, and the story is overall more entertaining—with an effective duality between the two leads and a defined villain, but like the first film, this one suffers from a lot of cheesiness (particularity in one glaring instance at the end) and a weak plot.