Victor has written 92 reviews for films rated ★★★★½ .

  • Profile

    Profile

    ★★★★½

    One of those rare movies that, after a long wait and much anticipation, exceeded my expectations. Its formal similarities to other screenlife films I’ve liked are inevitable, but it goes beyond Unfriended, Searching, and others in both the intensity of its anxiety and the range of its ideas. Among these are, unexpectedly, a pointed exposé of the exploitative, alienating working conditions of freelance digital journalism and the not-unrelated appeal, however irrational, of complete escape. Bekmambetov also balances the claustrophobia of…

  • The Owl Service

    The Owl Service

    ★★★★½

    Really glad for those protracted “previously on” bumpers, because this took me a while to get through. But what’s not to love about a Marxist YA soap opera that pivots on class resentment, weird sexual tension, and languorous plotting (excepting the final episode, when all hell breaks loose)? The last scene will tear your heart out — gently, of course.

  • I See You

    I See You

    ★★★★½

    So people do remember how to make movies, then. Happy day.

  • Ferat Vampire

    Ferat Vampire

    ★★★★½

    Gives new meaning to that old joke: How do you cut the price of a Skoda in half? Empty the gas tank.

    Not only does Herz provide one of the best opening credits sequences ever executed (it’s a movie unto itself), he deploys his customary agile satire to skewer anarcho-capitalism’s tediously predatory cycles while also paying fond homage to virtually every cinematic Dracula up to that point. As meta-horror movies go, this is on a par with Cuadecuc, Vampir.

    Yet…

  • Red Shift

    Red Shift

    ★★★★½

    “Where’s God when you’re frothing at the mouth and your tongue’s down your throat?” One for the ages, literally.

  • Shadow in the Cloud

    Shadow in the Cloud

    ★★★★½

    I mean, yeah, every plot twist blasts through a suspension-of-disbelief threshold more outré than the last (who could’ve predicted that final, perfect shot?), but being consistently two or three steps ahead of us — at least — is what keeps this fresh the whole way through. I enjoyed every minute of it, I can’t lie. Top-tier unruly cinema.

  • Our Mother's House

    Our Mother's House

    ★★★★½

    This contains several subtly spooky scenes and a lone exceptionally terrifying one, but it’s mostly driven by a poignant, plausible, and psychologically sound inevitability. The child actors are terrific, and Bogarde is savvy enough to stay out of their limelight. I’ll just say it: Better than The Innocents.

  • Group Marriage

    Group Marriage

    ★★★★½

    The perfect remedy not only for the hours of ’70s exploitation movies I’ve watched in which existential cruelty (expressed primarily toward women) is the point, but also for the fractious, hyper-paranoid times we live in. It’s staggering to think that a work of popular entertainment bound for drive-in theaters could ever be this open, engaged, and primed for revolutionary social change, much less with funny boob and dick jokes; even the homophobic groaners that litter the first half are vindicated by the end, presciently so. If you’re feeling depleted by the turmoil of the past week, here’s your balm.

  • Sleeping Dogs

    Sleeping Dogs

    ★★★★½

    Sam Neill, apocalypse magnet.

  • Crazy Mama

    Crazy Mama

    ★★★★½

    “This is America, nothing is free. Nothing is free!”

    Thomas Piketty by way of Tex Avery, with a sexed-up Cloris Leachman, unanticipated tenderness, and, for cross-genre completists, a little side-hacking; Linda Purl also eats a hotdog while wearing a bikini just in case you forget it’s a New World joint. Never tops 60mph, but that’s part of its charm.

    RIP, Stuart Whitman — a fine comic actor on top of everything else.

  • Top of the Lake: China Girl

    Top of the Lake: China Girl

    ★★★★½

    Along with a Tommy Wiseau whine-alike as its primary villain, this has a funny Kath & Kim sight gag early on that prepared me for something other than a beat-by-beat simulacrum of the first season (or series, or whatever). It also points to the same artistic restlessness and deconstructive skepticism that drives Lynch’s The Return and Dumont’s CoinCoin, a fan-disservicing dash of cold water designed in part to interrogate the construct of serialized television while also forcing us to look at…

  • Marie, the Doll

    Marie, the Doll

    ★★★★½

    Slaps us in the face late in the last act with the reality of what we’ve been watching all along, then finishes up well before the stinging stops. Appalling, rewarding, essential.