• Dune

    Dune

    ★★★★★

    The core competency Villeneuve exhibits here has to be his maneuvering in-and-around the construction of these immense worlds to glimpse the bits of humanity and emotion that underpin them. A mother's desperation to both nurture and restrain her son. The burden of power against a family who, more than anything, desire to resist what is expected for them. Myth corroding normalcy; prophecy forbidding agency. Entire mythologies are supplanted by small visual cues; mentats are implied by an off-putting, machine-like vertical…

  • Point Break

    Point Break

    ★★★★★

    One thousand percent an over-the-top movie about a cop infiltrating a group of adrenaline-junkie surfing criminals, but also...wait for it..."so much more!" Point Break is a fascinating film, precisely because it's greatness is couched in such an absurd story. Immediately the reputation this has of being filled with homo-eroticism feels like a mischaracterization. It's an erotic movie *about* men, absolutely. Loads of sexual metaphors and imagery. The intimacy between the two leading men, specifically Reeves and Swayze here, is misread,…

  • The Green Knight

    The Green Knight

    ★★★★★

    "is this all there is?"
    "...what more ought there be?"

    Found the portraits to be a compelling distillation of an otherwise (wonderfully) loaded film. The first exudes masculinity, stoicism, power, confidence; bright and fully formed and without any doubt of his station or strength. It's a portrait of man made legend, a larger-than-life representation. The second is much more muddled...much more obscure. Dark and almost indiscernible unless lit correctly, it is (momentarily) positioned upside-down. It implies doubt, ambiguity and fallibility.…

  • Zack Snyder's Justice League

    Zack Snyder's Justice League

    ★★★★★

    What more is there to say? Yet another ambitious, bizarre, somewhat flawed, always entertaining, and utterly impassioned blockbuster getting a rave review from yours' truly. This long-awaited "Snyder Cut", a film born from truly maddening circumstance, is everything I could have hoped for. I've got a lot to say about this one, so I'll try to keep it brief. My thoughts boil down mostly to this: My criticism of the MCU has increasingly been it's slavish devotion to it's larger…

  • Tenet

    Tenet

    ★★★★½

    Very much a Nolan movie! Puzzled by the complaints I recall regarding the "incomprehensible" plot mechanics. Like Inception, Nolan shows us the rules early and proceeds to prove them to be true time and time again; even as those rules are stretched to their most complex application. Physics is the playground here; specifically time and in which direction we experience it. Outside of that? Bad guy looking to end the world. Good guy(s) with limitless funds proceed to stop him.…

  • A Serious Man

    A Serious Man

    ★★★★★

    Some all-time great ruminations on the absurdity of life from the Coens, here. A Serious Man has always struck me as being interested most in unknowable dualities, and the emotional toll of wondering why when there might not even be reason at all. There's a terror to living in a world where everything *might* mean something, but at the same time it all might be meaningless. Was Larry being tested and ultimately punished? Or is the universe arbitrary and he…

  • There Will Be Blood

    There Will Be Blood

    ★★★★★

    This feels like the rare case of a performance being genuinely essential to a film working at all; not merely enhancing or elevating the experience but being structurally integral from the first moment to the last. This is impossible to prove but the complexity and strength of Day-Lewis' work here cannot be oversold. It's a performance of a man constantly performing for others; pretending to be a father, a benevolent businessman, a man of faith and at times a human…

  • The Ring

    The Ring

    ★★★★½

    A brief inquiry on the internet would suggest there's more to this than just this specific film, so I can only really comment on the magic Verbinski spins with this. You really can't ask for much more than a Verbinski/Watts vehicle; this thing is just so potently atmospheric and filled with dread. It looks so unlike other horror films too, especially of it's era. Much more interested in what looks wrong or unexpected inside the frame, and in making literal…

  • Spider-Man 2

    Spider-Man 2

    ★★★★★

    Acknowledging that people look for different things in their superhero movies, Spider-Man 2 remains the absolute best one (in my opinion). Maybe not *the best*, which implies an objectivity, but undoubtedly my favorite because it finds it's foundations in the same things that drew me to comic books as a small child, and has retained my interest in them as I've grown up. I dig the costumed action, spectacularly melodramatic narratives and epic struggles between good and evil as much…

  • Snowpiercer

    Snowpiercer

    ★★★★

    This is a gloriously blunt and heavy-handed allegory; full of imagination and bold ideas and utter commitment to it's thematic ambitions. It's a clear tale of the 99% vs the 1%; a lovely bit of vicious hatred for wealth-based class systems and political suppression. It might be the first truly Marxist film released with any major platform in my lifetime; Bong seems committed to not extending any meaningful humanity or empathy to the villains in this. It's delightful how despite…

  • Emma.

    Emma.

    ★★★½

    Coupled with 2016's Love and Friendship, Emma. makes a compelling case that Jane Austen adaptations come best served with a sharp tongue and modern sense of humor. Wit and a sort of absurdist self-awareness are king here; along with a terrifically game cast led by Anya Taylor-Joy, who predictably soars in her role as a well-meaning but manipulative socialite. The tone is so light and peculiar that the complicated web of romance never feels overbearing or overly precious. Loads of good fun to this Jane Austen novice; would be interested to read a reaction from someone a little more versed in her work.

    2020 Ranked

  • Sonic the Hedgehog

    Sonic the Hedgehog

    ★★½

    Honestly had a nicer time than expected with this one. No doubt it's relentless goofiness and levity is enormously welcome in times like these, but I think even in times of normal misery this would be a satisfying flick. Cast is quite entertaining. Ben Schwartz shines as Sonic himself and has nice chemistry with the affable James Marsden. Jim Carrey clearly has a blast playing the villain here; he's just loads of fun. Whole movie is goofy, light and rather…