• North by Northwest

    North by Northwest

    ★★★★★

    Is this the best Hitchcock? It's certainly the most fun, and "fun" is the right word -- the romance and action in other H. films can feel clinical and detached (though I also get that that repression works in favour of a film like The Birds). Here, Grant kisses with reckless abandon, and evades his would-be captors by getting belligerent at a stuffy auction. What better precedent is there for the Mission Impossible series than this film's weightless floating between…

  • Signs

    Signs

    ★★

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

    The ultimate post-9/11 brain fog movie. If your idea of a touching sci-fi is a dying woman's last words foreseeing her brother-in-law kicking an alien's ass with a baseball bat, I guess we just have different ideas about emotional resonance, and I've also never shed a tear while an F-16 flew over my head.

    Sci-fi movies that are more about familial relationships than big intergalactic battles are kind of my bread-and-butter, but I can't imagine anyone making a movie while…

  • The Matrix Revolutions

    The Matrix Revolutions

    ★★

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

    The first film introduced bullet time, had a whole lot of vague, symbolic but iconic stuff that brought it to near-mythical status, but it had a poorly-written plot and one of the most tacked-on romantic endings in an era full of them. The second one exploded the whole red pill-blue pill dichotomy in a nearly-incomprehensible statement about destiny and some badass cartoon physics, but it failed at the world-building it was trying to set-up and has about 45 minutes of…

  • Oxygen

    Oxygen

    ★★★½

    It is definitely possible to see past the massive plot holes of this film and just ride from one exhilarating, expansive twist to the next.

    But it also makes a lot of sense as a cosmic analogy for screaming at your computer, making this perhaps even more of an effective quarantine film than its 90-minutes-in-a-claustrophic-chamber already suggests.

    Interesting point though - there are a ton of sci-fi movies about diabolical AIs, but is this the first about how the very…

  • Battleship Potemkin

    Battleship Potemkin

    ★★★★★

    "For a spoonful of borscht".

    That's the whole thing, isn't it? The line almost has a double meaning - the sign is clearly hung around the sailor Vakulinchuk's neck to show how petty was the crime that cost him his life. But on the other hand, the film seems to suggest, he died as a martyr "for a spoonful of borscht" as well, the daily bread denied by the corrupt Czarist regime.

    The whole film is in that tension -…

  • Blood Simple

    Blood Simple

    ★★★★★

    The entire back half of this film, when Abby and Ray are talking completely past each other, neither aware of what's really going on, is among the most exhilarating exchanges you'll see in any noir, neo- or otherwise.

    Ignore everyone who says this is The Coens "in chrysalis" or some bullshit, this is the Coens arriving fully formed. Some aspects - the sparseness of its settings, the chiaroscuro lighting, the limited but pointed black humour - never got better.

  • Distant Voices, Still Lives

    Distant Voices, Still Lives

    ★★★★★

    Extraordinary - like nothing I've ever seen. It has all the elements of a musical and a kitchen-sink drama, but it's not really either of those, something more akin to a series of tableaux that verge on the avant-garde in how self-contained they seem to be.

    In the first half (Distant Voices), the tableaux mostly serve as fragments of memory, punctuated by deep trauma and bursts of inexplicable, contradictory emotions in the present. In the second half (Still Lives), after…

  • Host

    Host

    ★★★

    The most terrifying part is where they finally meet IRL and they're scared AF but instead of hugging, they KNOCK ELBOWS.

    This film is going to be a museum piece in 2 years.

  • The Trial of the Chicago 7

    The Trial of the Chicago 7

    ★½

    There's no more fitting Aaron Sorkin hero than Joseph Gordon-Levitt as prosecutor Richard Schultz. Sure, Sorkin doesn't believe in his prosecution of a very clear political show trial, but here's a man of principle, willing to approach the bench to berate the judge for binding and gagging a defendant in an AMERICAN courtroom, willing to stand up to honor the fallen heroes of the Vietnam War when one defendant reads their names.

    It's all bullshit by the way - Schultz,…

  • The Gospel According to Matthew

    The Gospel According to Matthew

    ★★★★½

    The one where an atheist filmmaker makes a radical Marxist interpretation of the life of Jesus by (checks notes) literally transcribing the gospel verbatim.

    In all seriousness, you can feel Pasolini's politics in the way certain passages get stressed over others: the miracles are there, but they feel respectfully downplayed, as if the filmmaker actually took Jesus seriously when he told his followers not to tell anyone how they were healed. By contrast, the most provocative parables get underlined: particularly…

  • What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

    What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

    ★★★

    My favourite part is when Bette Davis and Joan Crawford had to move out of their home because they'd chewed so much scenery.

  • 537 Votes

    537 Votes

    ★★★

    "HAHAHAHA. Bummer!" You said it, weatherman