• After the Dark

    After the Dark

    "Teenage Thought Experiments: The Movie"... in which it is revealed that love is the most dangerous thought experiment of them all.

  • A Deadly Adoption

    A Deadly Adoption

    ★★

    I'd completely forgotten this was a thing until scrolling through titles this evening and catching myself thinking, "That kind of looks like—no, it's Will Fer—and that's Kristen W—I remember this!" Ninety minutes later here I am. Almost every time Ferrell or Wigg are on screen a smile came to me as I reflected on how much thought, care, and consideration went into making this margarine sandwich of a movie. This is genius level mockery. This isn't a parody in the…

  • Madman

    Madman

    ★½

    Madman portrays zero self-awareness—and there's no end to its brain-puckering kitsch—but besides owning what is perhaps the most asexual hot tub scene in film history (?), it also has flashes of top-tier '80s slasher brilliance. Simple as its template might be, it's effective.

  • Dolls

    Dolls

    ★½

    There's an awful lot of suspension of disbelief at play here, but never does Dolls make it feel like the the plot wasn't wholly cohesive. As goofy as it was, I appreciated how all the characters were rolled up in wholesome caricatures of themselves—that it was never fully clear if they were dimwitted or self-aware was so appropriate given the broader nonsensical tone of the movie. About as good as silly, playful, '80s fantasy horror might get.

  • Page One: Inside the New York Times

    Page One: Inside the New York Times

    Yesterday a link began making the rounds, its headline as biting as anything I've seen on the subject matter: "The Truth Is Paywalled But The Lies Are Free." I'd forgotten about this documentary, but a recent online rabbit hole has led me in the direction of reading selections from the late David Carr, and Page One landed in my lap last night by way of kismet. "But let us also notice something," the article notes, "the New York Times, the New Yorker,…

  • The Cremator

    The Cremator

    ★★★★

    The sophisticated psychopathy on display in Rudolf Hrusínský's lead character (Kopfrkingl) bears a deceptive contrast to the lavish extremes exhibited throughout much of the film. To lower himself to the indulgences of high society would be shameful, yet shame is nowhere to be found when indulging in his own reframing of righteousness. The veil of formality is one that conceals the character's own deplorability. His mission to save and set free all around him reveals his position that even the…

  • The House I Live In

    The House I Live In

    The story behind what it means to be a "criminal" in this country is complicated. The story of how criminality has been defined, and how that disproportionately relates to groups of people who are not white, is also complicated. What isn't complicated is the presentation of this documentary, and the ease with which revelations are made about the role racism plays in propping up the monstrosity America calls a justice system. "They ask us the wrong questions, then feed us…

  • The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!

    The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!

    ★★½

    I'll never forget the first time I saw the opening scene as a kid, where Nordberg attempts to bust a drug deal, and how incredibly hard I laughed as each step of the folly escalated matters further and further into a farcical dream state. Leslie Nielsen's deadpan delivery is so incredible here and throughout the series, and the writing and physical gags are on par with any of the great satires of its time.

  • The Babysitter

    The Babysitter

    ★★

    Crouching over against the wrecked vehicle, the young protagonist embraces the evil babysitter with his eyes, he himself having just survived spiraling his car into her-taking out the front half of his parents house in the process. Speaking to the lengths he'd go to for her, he wimpers, "I drove a stolen car through you" before they say their final goodbyes. A self aware horror comedy with blockbuster production quality and a script bulging with gory absurdity. I enjoyed this far more than I thought I would.

  • Coherence

    Coherence

    ★★★

    This is maybe the third or fourth viewing of Coherence and one of the things that struck me this time around was how much the film invites us into the (slowly escalating) confusion of its characters. The lobster barely recognizes the rising heat as it's being boiled. All the while I couldn't help but wonder what continued to bring this group of people together? There are rigid personality clashes and as the film progresses, corrosive secrets once held by subgroups…

  • Peeping Tom

    Peeping Tom

    ★★½

    The use of childhood trauma as such an integral part of character development in Peeping Tom some sixty years ago seems incredibly progressive for its time. Even now, the reveal seems bold. Little about Karlheinz Böhm's Mark Lewis seemed endearing or alluring enough to attract the attention from his would-be victims throughout the film, but in terms of nailing the cold, detached killer role he did well. There were engaging scenes along the way—the hairlip photoshoot still stands out to me—but overall I felt a lack of narrative cohesion as the film's conclusion took hold.

  • Phenomena

    Phenomena

    ★½

    It was cool seeing Jennifer Connelly in this early role, watching Donald Pleasance on-screen always tickles me (because I get him confused with James Tolkan, who was in so many roles from when I was a kid), and the interplay with grubs and bugs was... Creative? But the runtime felt endless and I wasn't invested enough by the time the finale came around that I felt any particular way about how it ended. Having seen several now, Opera may forever be my favorite Argento film.