• The Matrix

    The Matrix

    ★★★★★

    The only element of this that consistently hadn't worked for me in the past—across both my too-cool-for-it college viewing and my revelatory revisit in theaters—was Trinity's confession of love for Neo. It was a contrivance, a screenwriting trick too clever by half, something the characters hadn't made me believe.

    This viewing, that "I love you" crashed into me. Because of course it's a contrivance, just as every bit of messianic destiny and prophecy in the film is. All of it…

  • Caesar's Guide to Gaming with Orson Welles

    Caesar's Guide to Gaming with Orson Welles

    A harrowing documentation of the auteur realizing there's no place left for him amidst capitalism's heap of broken images, wandering adrift through a smattering of rigged games of chance as contextless interludes of parodical "multicultural" enticements drift by like a transmission from hell. As Orson shambles from halfheartedly throwing in allusions to Hades and Poseidon to visible anger at being here to drunken, affectless stupor, we too feel ourselves lose all vestige of emotional response. We are all subsumed by…

  • Project A

    Project A

    ★★★★

    Jackie and Sammo are so fucking beautiful, two completely different physicalities combining to lay waste to hordes of mooks. Not the showiest setpieces they ever did, but lightning-quick and in perfect synergy with the film's comedy. Besides Police Story maybe the most perfectly structured Chan vessel I've watched so far (and boy oh boy does it share that film's hilariously cavalier attitude toward the long arm of the law). Rip-roaring adventure indeed.

  • Skate Kitchen

    Skate Kitchen

    ★★★½

    Last virtual date night with 'lie! Will probably rate this higher on a rewatch—spent most of it chatting with her and thus didn't really allow it to coalesce—but even as is it's such an excellent vibes picture. Watching it helped me get to know the woman I'll be living with in a few days even better, which was such a gift <3 Yes this is sappy, I'll run my page however the fuck I want

  • Night Moves

    Night Moves

    ★★½

    Has neither the deftness nor the interest in human nature needed to bring together its disparate threads—plays out like nothing so much as Chinatown if it cast Evelyn Mulwray aside at the third-act mark to make room for the plot, and that's implying a prior empathy toward and understanding of its characters that it doesn't possess (Hackman gets his own backstory neatly and artlessly delivered to him in a fistfight with his wife's monologuing side guy, while jokes about Delly's…

  • The Green Knight

    The Green Knight

    ★★★

    Wish this were both capital-W Weirder and less self-conscious—the best moments are little interludes like the quest for Winifred's head or the roving giants, where Lowery allows himself some majesty or whiff of the ineffable that's centered in the genuinely mystical rather than bolstered by ostentatious framing and the (admittedly quite pretty) score. On its own terms this is a carefully crafted aesthetic object, and Patel effortlessly carries and complicates the presence of a knight of old, but by the final segment I was praying for a conclusion that would let me stretch my legs.

  • Furious 7

    Furious 7

    ★★½

    The occasional ruminations on mortality are laden with poignancy, and while I don't think Brian's ending works in the context of the series—the last few films have reduced him to Dom's supporting character rather than a co-lead, leaving this film with little dramatic thread to stitch things up—in its real-world context it's incredibly moving. I just wish the rest of the film had been worthy of that ending—instead, we get a sallow, frequently incoherent mess of self-indulgence. Wan is no…

  • The Sorcerer's Apprentice

    The Sorcerer's Apprentice

    ★★½

    Sometimes the only thing that can stop occult 9/11 is a healthy dose of BDSM.

  • Top Gun

    Top Gun

    ★★½

    Maybe the perfect movie for me to return to the theater with, in that it is mind-numbingly stupid and probably evil and yet when the planes zoom through the sunset it tricks you into feeling like you're watching something holy

  • The Borderlands

    The Borderlands

    ★★★★

    Look, this kind of thematic territory crossed with the found-footage medium is already catnip for me. Throw in a comfy hangout vibe that shifts into some genuinely gnarly final moments and you've made me a convert for life. Would have scared the everloving SHIT out of me as a teenage evangelical.

  • Bound

    Bound

    ★★★★

    A Heterosexual Movie by the Wachowskis

  • The Fourth Kind

    The Fourth Kind

    ★★½

    The formal inventiveness of the constantly shifting splitscreen didn't permeate the rest of the movie for me, but alien abductions of any kind are catnip so I still had fun!! Perfunctory relationships and a general lack of tension are balanced out by some unnerving moments and a delightfully batshit sense of Sumerian history, the latter of which is like Philip K. Dick's VALIS by way of the History Channel. Milla Jovovich as Shelley Duvall should open all movies. Thanks, Esther!