• Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah

    Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah

    ★★★

    "Our history will no longer include Godzilla."

    Essentially a feature-length Star Trek time travel episode, complete with colorful uniforms, that happens to feature Godzilla and my favorite of his nemeses. On paper, I prefer the more downbeat vibe of Godzilla vs. Biollante, but Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah is cheerfully committed to its bonkers hokeyness from beginning to end, so it doesn't run into tonal incongruity the way that film did (the genuine article Akira Ifukube score surely helps). The King…

  • Rebecca

    Rebecca

    ★★★★½

    In the past, I think it just slipped under my radar because the age gap between Olivier and Fontaine didn't really register for me, but Travis planted the idea in my mind and on this viewing I could not help seeing it everywhere.

    "Promise me never to wear black satin or pearls... or to be 36 years old."

    "What will you be? Alice in Wonderland with that ribbon in your hair?"

    "It's gone forever. That funny, young, lost look I…

  • Akira

    Akira

    ★★★½

    Like Metropolis crossed with Blade Runner crossed with Brazil, filtered through the late-20th-century dystopian-superhero cynicism of Watchmen or Batman Returns, with a popping color palette that reminded me of Warren Beatty's live-action Dick Tracy more than anything else (a compliment). So dizzyingly insane in terms of its aural and visual qualities that I was quite content to simply go with it as a purely sensory experience for a while, but by the end I did find myself wishing I cared about the story or characters.

  • Godzilla vs. Biollante

    Godzilla vs. Biollante

    ★★★

    It seems faintly absurd to complain that a Godzilla movie has too much Godzilla fighting the Japanese military, but: a significant swath of this feels like it's less effectively repeating beats from its immediate predecessor while underserving Biollante (a wonderfully, palpably grotesque Carpenterian/Cronenbergian plant monster with the makings of an incredibly tragic origin story). I love the overarching sense of doom-laden escalation – man creates nuclear weapons, nuclear weapons create Godzilla, man creates new anti-Godzilla weapons that only make things exponentially…

  • Dune

    Dune

    ★★★★

    When I first saw this in IMAX, my ability to appreciate it was limited somewhat because I couldn't help comparing it to what had played out in my head while I was reading the book. Ironically, I came to a greater appreciation of it on the small screen, once multiple viewings had eased me into Villeneuve's interpretation of the text. Seeing it in IMAX now, already knowing it and loving it for what it is, I think I had my…

  • The Return of Godzilla

    The Return of Godzilla

    ★★★½

    One gets the sense that this would have already played like a throwback to the '50s upon its release in the '80s. Watching it forty years on, it feels doubly old-school and thus doubly charming. The completely miniature-based scenes of Godzilla's rampages are no more convincingly realistic than a Wes Anderson movie and I had an enormous grin on my face the whole time I was watching them. I love how organically it develops the original film's anti-nuclear themes into…

  • Spectre

    Spectre

    ★★★½

    The most purely fun and purely Bondian entry of Craig's run, even in spite of all its ill-advised crossover attempts. If Quantum of Solace evoked the lean, grounded efficiency of the Dalton films, Spectre is a modern update of Moore's gorgeously silly and often languorous extravagance (with a semi-successful dash of sweeping romanticism á la On Her Majesty's Secret Service). A goofy, guilty pleasure; now that I have seen all the other Bond movies, I like this one more, not less.

  • Quantum of Solace

    Quantum of Solace

    ★★★★

    "I don't think the dead care about vengeance."

    The spaghetti western Bond movie.

    (Now I feel like rewatching The Living Daylights and Licence to Kill.)

  • The Black Cauldron

    The Black Cauldron

    ★★★

    Forgettable, paint-by-numbers faux-Star Wars storytelling with some profoundly uninteresting characters, but it looks pretty cool about 75% of the time (i.e. whenever it doesn't look shockingly unfinished) and I like Elmer Bernstein's theremin-laden score. Basically the Disney equivalent of Ghibli's Tales from Earthsea.

  • May December

    May December

    ★★★★

    They're obviously very different movies, but this is weirdly similar to The Zone of Interest in that they're both about a family in a nice house making a strenuous effort to tiptoe around the evil that's been built into the core of their lives. If it's already old hat to say that The Zone of Interest is about "the banality of evil", May December is even more banal, a film carefully composed out of clichés and buzzwords designed to deflect…

  • Metropolis

    Metropolis

    ★★★★★

    A towering work of art; it struck me, quite forcefully, as one of the greatest films I have ever seen.

    Lang's images are astonishing not only for their enormous scale, but also for their spiritual import. Given its legacy, I was surprised to discover that this is not really much of a science fiction film. The futuristic trappings (which make no pretense to realism) exist alongside ancient, medieval, and gothic design elements. The cumulative effect is dreamily obscure and iconically…

  • Blackhat

    Blackhat

    ★★★★½

    I was going to order the Arrow 4K online, but the worryingly ambiguous product description didn't mention the director's cut, so I felt compelled to go to a brick and mortar store and buy it with my own hands... which feels like some kind of perfectly apt meta reflection on the film itself.

    I first watched the theatrical cut of this on my laptop while I was in a COVID-induced haze – which is already unideal enough, but I didn't find…