• Malignant

    Malignant

    ★★★★★

    95

    How lucky are we to exist in a timeline where James Wan goes from directing the gonzo epic Aquaman to spicing up his own Horror resume with something like Malignant? If I had to describe a movie that checks every sort of box to appeal to me personally, it's this. Not only riffing on Gialli, James Wan returns to his terror roots with bone-deep references of splatter horror and 80s grindhouse. Mixes of Dario Argento, Frank Henenlotter, David Cronenberg,…

  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

    Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

    ★★★

    55

    Can't really muster up any excitement for Goblet of Fire, although it's certainly not the worst in the series. Basically 'Homecoming Week' at Hogwarts except it lasts for an entire term. Some exciting and memorable action set-pieces, with an eerie climax with Voldemort at the graveyard. And the Yule Ball is very fun. But it certainly doesn't match up to its predecessor.

  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

    Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

    ★★★★★

    95

    "For in dreams, we enter a world that is entirely our own. Let him swim in the deepest ocean or glide over the highest cloud."

    God, it's just brilliant, isn't it? At once a crystallization of the tone found in the first two films, and the basis for the hopelessness of the rest of the series. "Something wicked this way comes" is an excellent tag-line for a movie that seems to capture a quality akin to Ray Bradbury. The…

  • Before the Devil Knows You're Dead

    Before the Devil Knows You're Dead

    ★★★★

    80

    Sidney Lumet directed Before the Devil Knows You're Dead at the wise age of 82. It was his last film, but it feels like he was just getting started. With Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke, Albert Finney, Marisa Tomei, hell, even Michael Shannon and Amy Ryan - this ensemble cast dives deep into the grime of hopeless family ties and desperate situations going from bad to worse. Singling anyone out would take all day, as this film is all…

  • Excision

    Excision

    ★★★½

    65

    A tragedy written in the blood of those who couldn't find their way. If the world is impossible to endure, the only alternative left is to lash out, to make your own future, by any means necessary. While mostly gratuitous and gnarly in its gore, there's an underbelly of empathy for Pauline, a teenager who doesn't know how to shape her curiosities and instincts into a traditional form. How does one express themselves if there's no outlet? Excision finds…

  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

    Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

    ★★

    40

    Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was one of my favorite films in the series when I was a kid. It has plenty of creature action (spiders! snakes! mandrakes!) while still attempting to maintain a lighter tone. But Chris Columbus isn't nearly as successful here as he was with Philosopher's Stone. For one, the material is much weaker. For a two hour and forty minute movie, Chamber of Secrets is packed with filler. The narrative isn't sturdy enough…

  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

    Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

    ★★★½

    70

    Hadn't seen the Harry Potter series in full in quite some time, so I figured I'd make Philosopher's Stone my initial selection for autumn viewing. This first entry honestly holds up incredibly well. It's a joyous, whimsical kids movie, with delightful world-building that is strengthened by the ensemble cast and a genuine sense of magic. If this movie can be categorized as anything, it's one long introduction and an exposition dump in its entirety, but it's still super evocative,…

  • Don't Breathe 2

    Don't Breathe 2

    ★★

    38

    Not quite as formally accomplished as the first film (Fede Alvarez is merely a writer and producer on this entry) but it pushes the concept even further into exploitation territory. Pretty much every character in this movie is a fucking scumbag, and the plot is about as stupid as can be without sinking the entire ship. To be clear, this is gnarly in fits and starts, with some killer suspense sequences, so I'm not disregarding it entirely, but it isn't very memorable in spite of the increased shock factor.

  • The Night House

    The Night House

    ★★★½

    63

    The Night House doesn't necessarily stick the landing with its narrative revelations, but until then, it's an ambiguous and startling slice of psychological horror. Rebecca Hall's performance is the foundation of a film that plays with physical space before finding its way into the darker recesses of depression and mental health. Its strongest ideas stem from concepts of mazes, paths, and otherworldly realms that provide an evil space for those struggling with a lack of purpose, a void in…

  • Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School

    Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School

    ★★★

    53

    This is about to be so nerdy so I apologize in advance. The three film run of direct to video Scooby-Doo movies in the late-80s (Boo Brothers, this, and Reluctant Werewolf) aren't exactly close in quality to the Mook Animation entries a decade later, with Zombie Island arguably being the pinnacle of any Scooby-Doo movie, but they're certainly better than the entries in the mid 2000s that fell into a repeating cycle of boring villains and locales. At the…

  • The Little Things

    The Little Things

    15

    The Little Things provided one of the more entertaining viewings of 2021 for me. And all because of its incompetence. Front to back, this is total garbage. A mess of cop clichés, sloppy writing, and an aesthetic that feels like Amazon Prime rather than HBO. Denzel Washington is asleep at the wheel, so muted and bored in his delivery that calling the role "phoned in" doesn't quite capture it. Jared Leto is unhinged doing his usual MeThOd AcToR routine,…

  • Singin' in the Rain

    Singin' in the Rain

    ★★★★★

    100

    "I've had one motto which I've always lived by: Dignity. Always, dignity."

    Undoubtedly my favorite musical. Just glancing over at the poster makes me smile. So what happens when I watch the movie? Mere words can't describe. This is about as fulfilling and joyous as the cinematic experience can get. Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, and Debbie Reynolds are a dream team. Every song is delightful, but even more so is how these three performers move through any space that…