• The Man in the Moon

    The Man in the Moon

    ★★★★

    You want to see a natural actor? Reese Witherspoon made this when she was 14 and had never been in anything before — and she still blew away every other person in the cast, including veterans like Sam Waterston. It’s not at all shocking that this woman went on to a huge career; this is one of the most impressive acting debuts I’ve ever seen.

  • Personal Best

    Personal Best

    ★★★½

    There’s a lot to like in this movie, from the performances to the dialogue (written by Robert Towne, making his directorial debut), but probably my favorite aspect is the fact that my #1 Billy Joel deep cut — “Rosalinda’s Eyes” from 52nd Street — makes multiple appearances on the soundtrack, along with songs by Kenny Loggins, Boz Scaggs, and Michael McDonald. Wait, was I the music supervisor of this movie? I know I was only two years old at the time, but that seems to be the only reasonable explanation.

  • The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

    The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

    ★★★

    Cage really brings it; between this and Mom and Dad and Pig, his career’s in the midst of a very exciting upswing. As for the film itself ... it didn’t quite measure up to its star for me. The stuff about “Nick Cage,” washed up actor is funny and sad. The subplot about Cage working for the CIA morphs the story into a less appealing form. The spy sequences are too silly for the more melancholic side of Cage’s performance…

  • Classic Albums: Steely Dan - Aja

    Classic Albums: Steely Dan - Aja

    ★★★★

    Well, what the fuck else was I supposed to watch after coming home from a Steely Dan concert? A movie that doesn’t have Donald Fagen and Walter Becker breaking down the bass line from “Josie”? Hell no.

  • Happy New Year

    Happy New Year

    ★★★½

    A twisty caper comedy with a wonderful Peter Falk lead performance as a crook with a flair for disguises who tries to steal some jewels along with the heart of an antiques dealer. A lovely little bauble like the ones Falk’s character tries to steal from Harry Winston.

  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

    Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

    ★★★½

    "This time, it's gonna take more than killing me to kill me” is on the Mount Rushmore of Sam Raimi moments.

  • Brother's Keeper

    Brother's Keeper

    ★★★★

    Would make an interesting double feature with It’s a Wonderful Life. No man is a failure who has friends.

  • Sonic the Hedgehog 2

    Sonic the Hedgehog 2

    ★★½

    A lot of this gets a shrug from me, but like with the first one I did enjoy how these movies give Jim Carrey license to channel mid-90s Jim Carrey and go WAY over the top. That stuff makes me smile. I also enjoyed all the scenes with Natasha Rothwell as a jilted bride. (I do not recall which game had Sonic contending with a scorned woman who got left at the altar, but whatever.)

  • Elvis

    Elvis

    ★★½

    There were many Elvis Presleys. The young, gorgeous Elvis who transformed pop music with a quiver of his voice and a wiggle of his hips. The movie star Elvis, who cranked out one musical after another and nearly lost his audience for good. The sequined jumpsuit Elvis, thrusting and karate kicking his way across the stage of the International Hotel in Las Vegas. And finally, the bloated, exhausted Elvis who seemingly worked (and drugged) himself to death.

    The best thing…

  • Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe

    Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe

    ★★★

    Even if Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe doesn’t quite achieve its full potential, and the overall package feels a little archaic in 2022, it does land a bunch of big laughs. And that’s where the calculus of streaming comes in. Would I recommended this movie if you had to spend $18 in a theater to see it? Probably not. But the film is streaming on Paramount+, where a subscription will run you ten bucks a month — and if…

  • Back to the Beach

    Back to the Beach

    ★★★

    Some may be able to resist a movie where Connie Stevens admiringly tells Annette Funicello “you sure have wasted an incredible pair of hooters” right before Pee-wee Herman shows up out of nowhere to perform “Surfin’ Bird.”

    Some, but not me.

  • Living Out Loud

    Living Out Loud

    ★★★½

    Here is a nice reminder that movies don’t have to be about astronauts or superheroes or test pilots or sorcerers or treasure hunters or dinosaur trainers. They can just be about people. If the cast is good, if the script is smart, that’s more than enough.