Otie has written 19 reviews for films during 2020.

  • Holiday

    Holiday

    ★★★

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

    Robert Ames makes one shabby Johnny Case, that's for damn sure, but if you project Cary Grant onto him in your imagination, you can almost spot what Linda Seton sees in him. As much as Cukor's Holiday of '38 is a supreme masterpiece, this version is not entirely inferior.

    Mary Astor's striking beauty makes it easier to see why Johnny fell for Julia in the first place, even if it undermines aspects of the second half, like Ned's line about…

  • Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets

    Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets

    ★★★

    All a movie needs is a moment, looking over a tranny's shoulder, in this case, while sparklers go off in a parking lot to “damn, I wish I was your lover.” File this next to the great dive bar docudramas, On the Bowery and Last Night at the Alamo, but on a shelf below.

    I wish they'd given the personable Luke Combs-looking bartender the night shift, because the movie lost something when he left. Or maybe drama fades in every…

  • The Store

    The Store

    ★★★½

    In which a human man contemplates spending $44,000 on a coat made of wild sable, as a gift.

    The most relatable thing here is a rich lady who’s drunk and smoking in the Nieman Marcus while a personal shopper helps her pick out a bowl. (“The bigger the cereal bowl, the better,” she slurs, taking a huge drag.)

    The film really turns on two scenes, one of which indicates that sales managers are an insane cult, especially these ones, and…

  • The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling

    The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling

    ★★½

    When you're Judd Apatow and critics complain that your movies are too long, making a four hour documentary about Garry Shandling is a funny way to tell them off, but if it were any shorter, I wouldn't have learned that every Peter Berg script got a Shandling pass; or that he spent four years doing uncredited, unsolicited rewrites on Over the Hedge; or that he put everything he had into The Making of the Larry Sanders Show, a DVD extra.

    Always liked…

  • Resident Evil: Apocalypse

    Resident Evil: Apocalypse

    ★½

    Divorced entirely from execution, the concept of Alice fighting Predator 2 in Escape from Raccoon City is almost a good idea, but the Tony-Scott-from-Hell reality makes EuropaCorp movies seem reflective.

    On the bright side, Sienna Guillory's Xbox cut-scene acting – achieved by studying playthroughs – is a technical marvel; Nemesis is sick; and Milla Jovovich is an axiom of cinema, especially in a towel.

    Through what must be a loophole in the Guild, Paul W.S. Anderson wrote but did not direct this 🥺

  • Monster Hunter

    Monster Hunter

    ★★★½

    Alice battles kaiju on the Fury Road, what more do you want

  • The Laundromat

    The Laundromat

    ★★

    That rare example of a Hollywood movie in desperate need of dumbing down. The worst Michael Lewis adaptation never made, it fundamentally elides the very thing that makes Lewis a great (?¿) journalist: storytelling so compelling, it doesn’t matter how dry the subject matter is. There’s more drama in any given chapter of Lewis’s book on high frequency trading than there is in Burns’ entire script. (I haven’t read The Panama Papers to compare.)

    Where Lewis goes out of his…

  • Mank

    Mank

    ★★½

    Here, where a dump rake is beautiful but the human face looks like particleboard, is a movie about a wit – not a hack but not an artist – which, because it misunderstands its protagonist and is based on discredited sources, draws most of the wrong conclusions, and obliges capable actors to entomb meaningless perfection in a talky defense of the sort of capable work that contributed to but did not account for great art in Hollywood.

    What a weird…

  • Irma Vep

    Irma Vep

    ★★★★½

    “Wasn't it all a kind of happening?

    Aren't most films less than what has been lived?”

    – Olivier Assayas

    Motivated by disdain for le cinéma de papa and pictures his father wrote, Assayas holds bloated intellectual French cinema – the type he himself would go on to make, incidentally – in relief against his developing love for Maggie Cheung and the influence of the avant-garde. The force of Éric Gautier's camera, in front of which actors and activity are choreographed…

  • The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

    The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

    ★★★★

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

    Deeply moved by the image of Leatherface at twilight, this poor autistic victim of a villain, flailing his chainsaw in circles at the gods.

  • An Imperfect Murder

    An Imperfect Murder

    ★★½

    Something I'm cursed with is always finding James Toback movies interesting (if not worthwhile), and An Imperfect Murder is no exception. Dumped to VOD three years after its festival debut, its other title, The Private Life of a Modern Woman, is vastly preferable, even though you may struggle to think of another director that knows as little about the private life of a woman, modern or otherwise, as Toback.

    Like many of his films, this one features remarkable, disarming acting…

  • Love at Sea

    Love at Sea

    ★★★★

    An exquisite imperfection, all form and youth, like a path not taken in some alternate universe or choose your own adventure version of la nouvelle vague; Godard on opposite day, Demy through the looking glass. A cinema of bisexuality, committed to being various & half-finished, committed to the incompatible: interruption, sentimentality, understatement, and montage; sentiment interrupted by jump cuts and ideas of cinema that were never thought before and certainly not since. Rhythmically extraterrestrial. Off. Impractically French.

    It was the time…