• The Sparks Brothers

    The Sparks Brothers

    Enigmatic, silly and relentless. Fun if also patently overlong, I think music nerds will get a lot out of it.

    I had never heard of The Sparks Brothers before and now, after seeing this, I still don't think I could say I know much of anything about them. A very strange and kooky duo whose personas keep their audience at arms lengh. Possibly truly ahead of their time.

    I can get behind some of the kitsch of it all and…

  • Howards End

    Howards End

    A melodrama for the ages. As stately and mannered as it is gut-churningly, brutally emotional.

    Played exquistitely by Anthony Hopkins, Henry Wilcox might just be the most intensely hateable character in fiction. Ever a greedy, cynical and chauvinistic piece-of-shit-fat-cat rubber baron, time and again, Henry proves himself not only unprincipalled, hypocritical and cruel but also cowardly, short sighted and foolish. How the ravishingly beautiful, whip smart and effortlessly charming Margaret, played with harrowing sensitivity by Emma Thompson, could ever marry him is beyond baffling to the point it is almost a plot hole.

  • A Ghost Story

    A Ghost Story

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

    Assured and committed direction elevate what is essentially a bare-bones tone piece.

    While I may not necessarily agree with many of the creative decisions Lowry has made, they speak to a uncommon level of confidence and vision.

    Aesthetically the film is beautiful. Hazy, mystical and textured like cheap cotton... It dawned on me surprisingly late, that the vignetted 4:3 aspect ratio created a Ghosts POV- as if we too were looking through holes cut in a bed sheet, and it…

  • Trick 'r Treat

    Trick 'r Treat

    Is there such a thing as a novelty movie?

    Like A Christmas Story, A Love Story or Space Jam (the original... Why God why do I have to say that)- but for Halloween. Basically the cinematic equivalent of The Monster Mash, or Flying Purple People Eater.

    Great for late night Halloween time viewing and perfectly harmless but outside of that hyper specific context- it has little to offer. Lightly entertaining if also modest and distinctly not scary.


    Extra points for…

  • Freddy vs. Jason

    Freddy vs. Jason

    Despite some of the film's dated presentation, I would argue that this was ahead of it's time in more ways than one.

    While it is tonally more similar to "Scary Movie" and what "The Fast and Furious" movies have become than its forebearers, it still manages respectful homeges to Freddy and Jason's respective lore and quirks in ways that I feel most slasher fans will be happy with. Though Freddy gets done kind of dirty. Always playing catch-up, he simply…

  • A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

    A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

    Easily the best Nightmare on Elm Street sequel and is probably the most significant in terms of establishing the tonal structure the rest of the franchise would take.

    Possibly an even better entry point to the series than the Original. Freddy Krueger is so well established within the cultural landscape that it is perfectly reasonable to expect the average audience member to be able to follow along, even when it comes to the film's more self-referential plot details.

    Unlike the…

  • Thir13en Ghosts

    Thir13en Ghosts

    A dumb haunted house movie with epileptic editing.

    Too many fun ideas to dismiss entirely. Brisk pacing at least makes it super digestible.

    Dumb as a bag of hammers though.

    Confused staging and temporal geography are especially disorienting, make this a particularly frustrating experience.

  • Hellraiser

    Hellraiser

    Abberant, Deviant and Perverse.
    Clive Barker successfully and adeptly adapts his own story with gleefully disgusting gusto.
    Strong performances, disgusting gore and deeply fucked up ideas run though this macabre horror classic.
    Where the film fails for me is in its core conceit- the uniquely harrowing interplay of sadistic torture and sex that runs through Clive Barker's greater body of work is as off-putting an idea for a horror movie as it is patently genius.

  • The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It

    The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It

    I don't have much to say about The Conjuring movies as a whole other than they are serviceable haunted house movies that are a little too loud for my tastes. But with that being said- this is by a wide margin the worst one.

    Without James Wan's assured direction (what with his energetic camera, insane jump scare sequences and grounded mise-en-scene) this film flounders into a disoriented, confused jumble that flops on the floor gasping for water.

    Not scary, convoluted…

  • Dune

    Dune

    Flat, uninvolving, dull and laborious.
    Dense with lore, world building and spectacle but light on story, character and impact.
    Exceptional effects work and solid performances struggle to bring weight to what is ostensibly a first-half of a grander narrative. Yet I am uninterested in where that leads.

    Dune as Novel, as text, as an art Object is a remarkable accomplishment of imagination and a stunning interweaving of historical and anthropological knowledge within a sci-fi context- a work of such total,…

  • Crimson Peak

    Crimson Peak

    The resolution and the reveals are all a little obvious for how slow and close to the vest this tries to play it's story. Art Direction, Costumes and Cinematography are the real heavy-lifters here, all are amazing and almost, almost justify the film's existence. If it all looked as dull, dated and cheesy as the story- then we'd have a real stinker on our hands. As it is this is a serviceable haunted house movie, with an especially authentic Victorian aesthetic which seems all too rare these days.

  • Saint Maud

    Saint Maud

    An excellent example of a small-scale, contained horror film that excells largely in the strengths of the core pillars of Screenwriting, Directing and Performance.

    While I saw a lot of the twists and turns in the story coming from a ways away, that didn't really undermine the film's central feelings of anxiety and dread.

    Great ending too. No spoilers. But damn. That's how you leave an audience shook.