• Nightmare Alley

    Nightmare Alley

    ★★★★½

    Look, I'll be honest, you throw in some old school Tarot, some ancient Arabic Hamsa imagery and a Carnival of Souls descent into the depths of the soul, and you've won over uncle Mark. Del Toro's fixation on the occult and the Santa Sangre-esque mysticism is totally aligned with my sensibilities as an artist. This is a worsted wool suit tailored to me.

    Now, that being said, this isn't your typical Del Toro monster movie. Concurrent throughout most of Del…

  • The Beatles: Get Back

    The Beatles: Get Back

    ★★★★★

    Get Back, if nothing else, proves that music journalism didn't just suck in the 21st century, it kinda always sucked. British tabloids and musical lore would have you believe Let It Be just barely made it to tape amidst the in-fighting of the legendary quartet. The footage, unless completely manipulated in the editing room, tells a very different tale.

    As far as fly-on-the-wall docs go, this is probably going to be the top of the heap for time to come.…

  • Survive and Advance

    Survive and Advance

    ★★★½

    There are three things we all should do every day. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. And number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy.

    Jim Valvano said that just 2 months before he died of cancer, broadcast live at the ESPYs after telling the Producers to go fuck themselves for trying to cut his speech short so…

  • Smiley Face

    Smiley Face

    ★★★

    What could be the only female-led stoner comedy is made charming by Anna Faris’ completely committed portrayal as Jane, the indebted California pothead.

    Many Easter egg moments that justify its genre (something David Gordon Green never quite understood with his stoned entry), from the three little pigs references that infer the importance of labour  to the armchair Marxism introduced the first time we see Jane with a red star on her laptop.

    There is much at play surrounding the morality…

  • Woodstock 99: Peace, Love, and Rage

    Woodstock 99: Peace, Love, and Rage

    The closest piece of contemporary media to Hieronymus Bosch.

    Had to watch after the deadly Astroworld music fest.

    Not sure the documentary carefully reflects enough on its own insipid lens to justify its finger-wagging approach. One of the more astute journalists wraps it up well when she asks, "How did this not happen?" sandwiched between some of the worst critiques I'd ever heard. You think that the fan demographic of Woodstock (extroverted males with friends) have migrated to message boards…

  • Belfast

    Belfast

    ★★★★

    Does Belfast re-invent the "coming of age in a politically charged time" wheel? No.

    You've got people most recently comparing it to Roma, but Roma weirdly never got the same treatment being compared to, say, Yi-Yi (an absolute masterpiece) or all of its black and white predecessors Pather Panchali, Shoeshine, Paper Moon, Mouchette, Forbidden Games, The Magnificent Ambersons, the list is endless because - guess what? - it's a cliche. And cliches tend to win Oscars (see: Roma).

    But that…

  • I Know This Much Is True

    I Know This Much Is True

    ★★★★★

    I Know This Much is Blue

    Cianfrance's ambitiously heavy adaption of the 900+ page Lamb novel is held up courageously by Mark Ruffalo, who (without repeating what many have) gives one of the best performances, perhaps, of this decade in both the roles of Dominick and Thomas. OK, this is a six hour mini-series that's actually just a really long film, but I'll rate the episodes accordingly:

    1. Episode 6 (5 stars)
    2. Episode 1 (5 stars)
    3. Episode 5…

  • Cyrus

    Cyrus

    A bit of a stodgy script is totally uplifted by the trifecta of Tomei, JCR and Jonah "Mid-90s" Hill. There is no denying this is a brilliant set-up that makes for some of the most awkward moments in cinema. Every stand-off scene between Reilly and Hill is utterly magnetic. The oedipal comedy is successful, in part, because Hill walks a fine line between deadpan comedy and dead serious. It's creepy and amazing. I feel like in another director's hands, that…

  • Parents

    Parents

    ★★★

    A tonal acquaintance to The Shining, Balaban pulls no punches in his offbeat horror comedy about parents. Superbly directed with knockout performances by Randy Quaid, Bryan Madorsky, and Mary Beth Hurt, it elides its generally contrived premise. Shot in Toronto, it captures the shadowy suburban milieu, in ways, better than Blue Velvet.

    But the story is hack. And it's too bad because everything else is going for it. From its inventive cinematography to its legendary Badalamenti score to its terrific…

  • Things

    Things

    ½

    Look, you can try to find redeeming things about Things all day.

    Oh, it's kinda channelling early Warhol.
    It's a more raw cut of a Canadian Tobe Hooper film.
    There's a world it creates like no other.

    I don't fuckin' buy it. This is pure Scarbz garbaggio. No, this is not a good insight into what Canadian cinema is, nor is it a misunderstood arthouse film. This is up there in my top 5 worst films I've ever ever seen. And I've seen trasssshhhh.

    Andrew Jordan should be arrested immediately.

  • Primal Rage

    Primal Rage

    ★★½

    I think this is about AIDS.

  • Don't Let the Riverbeast Get You!

    Don't Let the Riverbeast Get You!

    ★★★★

    Very reminiscent of early Trey Parker/Matt Stone work. This is a kindred spirit to Cannibal: The Musical where absurdity and conviction meet in a horror comedy that works. There is a lack of technical prowess, sure, but it's made up for by the tenacity and sheer fun that Charles Roxburgh and Matt Farley possess.

    It knows exactly what its going for and totally commits. This is a lot more than I can say for most pictures out these days. Stuck…