• A Fistful of Dollars

    A Fistful of Dollars

    ★★★★

    [77]

    Millionth(-ish) viewing, no score change. I nervously anticipate the day I watch this and fail to fall helplessly under its spell, but I’m slowly growing optimistic that theoretical day might never come. At this time of writing, I hadn’t watched a single movie in over two months—a few days before my second child was born—and while the hiatus has been an unexpectedly nice mental break (I spend my increasingly short evenings watching reruns of GOOD EATS and DINERS, DRIVE-INS,…

  • Anima

    Anima

    Since my movie viewing has taken a (largely expected) hiatus—with a second child in the house now, every fleeting moment of “freedom” is either dedicated to watching partial episodes of “Cutthroat Kitchen” or attempting to catch up on sleep—you will have to settle for sporadic updates and, more important, my unregulated rambling about the second greatest artistic medium to grace the human race: Music! That’s right, end of Quarter One 2021 means it’s officially time for my favorite albums from…

  • Archangel

    Archangel

    ★★★

    [56]

    It took Madden only two years and two feature films to start approaching “too ‘Maddin’ for its own good” territory, but goddamn even when he’s at his absolute wankiest (i.e., here), I can’t help but admire the man’s unwavering commitment to evocative formalism and deliciously bizarre narrative contraptions. I watch something like this and on one hand, totally understand why someone might find it torturous; conversely, however, I can’t fathom not being at least stirred by the conceptual singularity…

  • Audition

    Audition

    ★★★½

    [67]

    Quick apology for the recent brevity and scarcity of reviews; I’m currently in a hospital room with my wife in the early stages of labor, awaiting the arrival of our second child—a baby girl this time!—so it has been a very busy few months to say the least. In any case, this capsule will be equally brief, but for good reason! I wanted to get something down before I forgot about it.

    Most convincing lenticular phenomenon I’ve seen in…

  • A.I. Artificial Intelligence

    A.I. Artificial Intelligence

    [35]

    Second viewing, first in maybe fifteen years. Didn’t care for it then, certainly don’t like it now. The optimist in me yearns for the superior, far less emotional version that Kubrick would’ve surely crafted; the realist in me knows that even he couldn’t turn this rotten material into something salvageable. The problem is rooted in Aldiss’s short story, alas, bound to both a subject matter and hypothetical question that I don’t believe is terribly exciting or substantive enough to…

  • Palm Springs

    Palm Springs

    ★★★½

    [65]

    I’m sure anyone, if tasked, could find a thousand little things to justify why this isn’t a Good Movie, but can we all at least admit and rejoice in the fact that Andy Samberg was finally involved with a project that wasn’t a total and utter piece of shit? It’s strange—I think the dude’s funny, but (until now) had no actual proof to substantiate my feeling that way. He just seemed like a naturally witty guy who’d been continuously…

  • The Vast of Night

    The Vast of Night

    ★★½

    [48]

    Admirably economic, but…I dunno…kinda boring, too, and with a payoff so minute that the lengthy build-up hardly seems “worth it” even in retrospect. I reckon that one’s reception will hinge largely on whether they find the long passages of dialogue—which, I understand, work twofold as both budgetary governors and radio drama mimicries—either invigorating and enticing or tedious and wearisome. Guess to which camp I belong? Evocation of the fifties was spot-on, though, and Fay and Everett’s rapid-fire verbal volleyball…

  • The Little Things

    The Little Things

    [40]

    A bunch of completely innocent teenage girls dead and we are ultimately asked to commiserate with the detectives and policemen involved? Not discrediting their work nor the toll such things would undeniably have on one’s psychological well-being, but the leverage seems rather rotten, doesn’t it? Counterargument A: ”But there’s no other way to depict it!” Counterargument B: ”The deaths of these specific girls are irrelevant and totally not the point of the film!” Partially true on both counts, I…

  • Possessor

    Possessor

    ★★★½

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    [63]

    Not as obsessively bodily as much of his father’s work—which is, for me, a good thing—but appropriately creepy when it decides to be either grotesque (that mask…ugh) or downright gruesome (the teeth…the eyeball…the fingers…), distributing its unsettling attributes little by little in a multitude of ways. Deceptively nuanced, too; Christopher Abbott genuinely looks as though he’s lost within his own body, and his psychological game of King of the Hill unfolds with exceptional elegance. Cronenberg even throws in some…

  • Bad Boys for Life

    Bad Boys for Life

    ★★★

    [51]

    Could have—and by all means, should have—been far, far worse, and for as intermittently boring and/or downright stupid as this is, I think it’s a solid improvement over the debut. Directorial swap didn’t concern me much, considering Bay isn’t exactly the Parthenon of consistency and quality (and I attribute the greatness of BAD BOYS II more to a freak, ephemeral accident than a testament to his “growth” as a director or whatever), but the cast - both new and

  • Bad Boys II

    Bad Boys II

    ★★★★

    [71]

    I already described in detail my somewhat unexpected yet longtime affinity for this film in my capsule for MIAMI VICE. The points are all an “x” vs. “y” format, but those sentiments could be extrapolated so that the “x” includes not only MIAMI VICE but nearly any other obscenely overblown and massively funded action flick of the past several decades. The short of it: Smith and Lawrence’s chemistry is approximately 97% responsible* for why this movie doesn’t suck as…

  • Bad Boys

    Bad Boys

    ★★½

    [43]

    Despite having revisited BAD BOYS II north of ten or twelve times, I’ve only seen the original maybe twice—the inaugural viewing, and once again to confirm that it is not only a popcorn fart in the shadow of its monstrous successor but completely inessential to unlocking any of that delicious sequel magic. Having finally decided to buckle down and watch the much overdue (and completely unnecessary) third entry, I figured I may as well tumble through the whole trilogy…