Victor has written 106 reviews for films rated ★★★ .

  • WeWork: or The Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn

    WeWork: or The Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn

    ★★★

    There’s a sucker born every minute, and some of them own banks.

  • Kong: Skull Island

    Kong: Skull Island

    ★★★

    I finally powered through this so as not to be completely lost during Godzilla vs. (ha), and with lowered expectations based on my first pass mostly enjoyed and was even surprised by it. The big, opening buildup going fully to shit minutes into the second act was unexpected and rewarding, and framing the whole thing as a Vietnam War allegory even kind of made sense (although the aesthetics of the setting seemed to have been conceived by a pre-teen who…

  • Sea Fever

    Sea Fever

    ★★★

    To say this borrows elements of other, better horror movies is being kind — it’s more like a sandwich with Alien as the meat and The Thing as the bread. It’s still reasonably tense before turning listless, and the understated pathos Nielsen and Scott bring to their roles is deep and satisfying. The puny budget is never not a deficit, though, and having the lead character — whose scientific chops and scary intellectual focus are touted again and again in…

  • The Red Badge of Courage

    The Red Badge of Courage

    ★★★

    The inevitable, instantly dated MGM schmaltz and post-production manhandling don’t help, and whoever had James Whitmore deliver Crane’s passages without a trace of their intended irony ought to have been buggy-whipped, but there are more fundamental problems. Huston intermittently captures the book’s mutedly mortified tone and pulls off some effective scenes, and is savvy enough to let the story’s forward propulsion drive its themes. But the puny budget and Murphy’s wooden, quasi-Method performance consistently let him down; I never once…

  • Kona Coast

    Kona Coast

    ★★★

    Ambling late-sixties TV pilot with satisfying perks for fellow desiccated nostalgia nuts — old-Hollywood pros in meaty guest-starring roles, lush travelogue visuals, a hint of moral ambiguity to keep the story interesting, bikinis — and enough dated, embarrassing material to seriously mitigate the fun — casual racism, sexual assault as a punchline, gay panic, age-inappropriate romantic pairings, bikinis. Requires a fairly high Richard Boone tolerance, too; if you’re a fan of his schtick rest assured that he both spouts poetry…

  • Madron

    Madron

    ★★★

    Let’s see if I have this straight: European nunsploitation movies traffic in unhinged orgies of blood drinking, demon buggering, and tit torture, while Israeli-American co-produced ones conscript their poor sisters into regimented, near-matrimonial servitude with plug-ugly saddle tramps who, after reaping the connubial benefits of the setup a couple of times, engineer convenient suicide-by-vigilante exit strategies. Judeo-Christianity, folks — pick your poison.

    Caron, whose work I was unfamiliar with before watching this, is slyly funny and game, and her chemistry…

  • Where Evil Dwells

    Where Evil Dwells

    ★★★

    Transcends its “art-adjacent city dirtbags troll the suburbs, Lorne Guyland edition” setup with a sustained, disorientingly ugly mood and legitimately upsetting scenes of amphetamine-torqued violence. Still, the dying/dead animal footage is needless and lazy, and I have yet to be convinced that the Cinema of Transgression ever transgressed anything consistently besides baseline decency toward women.

  • Invasion of the Blood Farmers

    Invasion of the Blood Farmers

    ★★★

    Upstate ag entrepreneurship, right on.

  • The Snake Woman

    The Snake Woman

    ★★★

    “I was too blind to imagine,” says the guy who’s been injecting cobra venom into his pregnant wife, after she gives birth to a snake baby. Maybe skipping that peer review wasn’t such a great idea after all.

    Charming, cheesy, nonstop (or a little over an hour, anyway) fun, this is faux-Hammer at its finest. Highlights include Professor Exposition turning up 20 minutes in to describe in detail everything we’ve just watched, a village mob in serious need of a…

  • Doctor Sleep

    Doctor Sleep

    ★★★

    I enjoyed the ride and generally admired Flanagan’s respectful, clever callbacks to Kubrick — especially the stealthy 2001 ones — for a lot longer than I expected, and even managed to roll with the convoluted and hopelessly hokey rock-n-roll vampires surviving on soul bong hits stuff (which reminded me of why I stopped reading Stephen King ages ago). Then the action inexplicably moved to the Overlook, the nostalgia spigot opened up to full blast, and the damn thing turned into…

  • We Summon the Darkness

    We Summon the Darkness

    ★★★

    At least as cheesy and cliched as the movies — and, reflexively, the entire decade — it attempts to skewer, but there are moments of real dread, a few solid laughs (most of them courtesy of scene stealer Maddie Hasson), and some genuinely upsetting gore. But while Alexandra Daddario is always interesting to watch, she was so good in We Have Always Lived in the Castle that this feels like a significant setback; having her play a character nearly 20 years her junior hardly helps. Thankfully, this probably isn’t an obstacle in her path to becoming the millennial Meg Foster.

  • Cindy Sherman #untitled

    Cindy Sherman #untitled

    ★★★

    Later: Since seeing, and loving, Office Killer, I’ve been in a state of cinephiliac tug-of-war between hoping Sherman makes another feature film and fearing that she will. Is it too much to hope that that’s what’s being got at here, without the chance of wrecking real Cindy’s streak? I can dream.

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    I can’t begrudge anybody their personal interpretation of Cindy Sherman’s work, but padding this doc with art critics, academics, and rando celebrities yammering on about What It All…