Victor has written 20 reviews for films rated ★★ .

  • Seizure

    Seizure

    ★★

    I’m still puzzling over how this came out of Oliver Stone’s experience in Vietnam. He had a subscription to Charlton Comics’ Ghost Manor over there, maybe? Fun cast though.

  • Teenage Hitchhikers

    Teenage Hitchhikers

    ★★

    Sometimes when you roll the dice you end up watching a movie with lines like, “From now on, every time I rape somebody I’ll be thinking something’s wrong with me!” I need better dice.

    YouTube — the digital equivalent of that drive-in movie theater I wasn’t allowed to go to when I was a kid.

  • The Cremators

    The Cremators

    ★★

    Hard to figure how a sci-fi–horror movie called The Cremators with this poster could be so dull.

  • I, Tonya

    I, Tonya

    ★★

    Tex Avery’s Quentin Tarantino’s “Madame Bovary.” Some trick, casting Nancy Kerrigan as Tonya Harding.

  • The Demons of Ludlow

    The Demons of Ludlow

    ★★

    Super-cheap and generally amateurish, this nevertheless has some effective scares, atmosphere to burn, and an intriguing lo-fi weirdness. It’s also kind of dull. On a par with those old Charlton spook comics, then, but thankfully without the participation of Pat Boyette.

  • Grizzly

    Grizzly

    ★★

    Diverting enough Jaws clone with a fun cast, wacky gore effects, and eye-candy optics — this is a triumph of the Georgia State Film Commission if nothing else — but just dumb as a rock. The lowlight comes when the head of Richard Jaeckel’s horse gets clawed off in one swoop, and the horse continues to stand there for a good 30 seconds before toppling over, head intact. Horses are different in Georgia, I guess.

  • Blood Shack

    Blood Shack

    ★★

    A robust argument for the death of cinema, except it's less cinema than an earnest, dopey home movie Steckler made for/with his kids. Hard to begrudge, then, but perfectly awful just the same.

    ETA: I gave this a couple more stars after watching Super Cool, a sort of Orange County dry run for Inherent Vice and easily Steckler’s best, most likable film. Now that I’m convinced he was a capable filmmaker, I can see this for what it clearly is — a valentine to his wife and daughters, who I’m guessing cooked up the story for him. Kind of sweet, really, if not especially cinematic.

  • The Swamp of the Ravens

    The Swamp of the Ravens

    ★★

    Plodding, but weird enough to make me push through to the end, even if its originality is less by design and more due to inspired incompetence. There are some effectively atmospheric scenes (and natural sound effects) in and around the swamp, and the nightclub songs have to be heard/seen to be believed — the robot one I can’t even begin to fathom. I haven’t laughed that hard in a while.

    But there’s also some upsetting shit in the movie that…

  • Big Bad Wolves

    Big Bad Wolves

    ★★

    If the incessant ’90s-style score hadn’t punctuated the shit out of every last scene here I might’ve been able to get on board. As it was, it made me notice everything else that’s wrong with the movie: the tonally inconsistent performances (a couple of which are just plain bad); the glaring lack of consequences (the suspect is savagely beaten for the entire first act and comes away with a little cut on his lip); the borderline smug “aren’t we naughty?”…

  • Kingdom of the Spiders

    Kingdom of the Spiders

    ★★

    I was enjoying this well enough until the unwitting tarantula extras started getting squashed, electrocuted, blown-up, spray-hosed, burned, etc., etc. Unconscionable. Too bad, because up to then it’s an affectionate and effective riff on ’50s giant bug movies, without a trace of snooty irony.

    The extra star is for Bolling, who’s earthy, earnest, and impenetrable as ever, and overtly kind to the spiders. Unlike Shatner, she also doesn’t appear to kill any of them.

  • Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale

    Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale

    ★★

    This has a great premise and intermittently lush visuals, but it's too cheap and corny to pay off — the climax, such as it is, is antagonizingly disappointing. There’s also a preoccupation with putting the boy protagonist in the path of dirty, dangerous, naked old men, which ultimately becomes creepy in a way I didn’t sign on for. (Also, why/how are there no women in the village?) What a letdown.

  • Sicario

    Sicario

    ★★

    Calling bullshit.

    Villeneuve and Taylor Sheridan make dutiful nods to the potential grey areas in and moral counterarguments against an aggressive, sloppily broad drug war, but SIcario pivots almost entirely on a swooning fetishization of force. There are a few moments of effectively realized ambiguity, but in the end the film trashes its better impulses by upholding the tired myth of the swaggering, naive but good-intentioned American cowboy, and the cliche of wholesale savagery south of the border. It exists…