• The Commando

    The Commando

    ★½

    Unfortunately, two fairly interesting plot ideas -a house invasion teen slasher and a hard police drama about PTSD- never cohere. Moreover, the very rough acting and perfunctory technical aspects cannot save these elements. When the action/violence does come in, it is sharp and brutal, but ultimately too little. Sadly, I cannot recommend unless you are a MJW completist. Hopefully he has something stronger up his sleeve next time around.

  • The Transgressor

    The Transgressor

    ★★★★½

    After hearing so much about this film as a legendary piece of grindhouse exploitation, I was overwhelmed to discover a powerful treatise on sin & faith, the turmoil of flesh & spirit. The evil that men do unto women, and in turn the petty avarice inherent in us all that sparks the most grievous of cruelties. Overt ruminations on human holocaust highlight the deepest wounds of violence that reverberate with each generation in transgressions systemic and personal.

    Plot threads weave together to…

  • Mile 22

    Mile 22

    ★★½

    One of the more fascinating movie experiences I’ve had this year is the modern black ops action film Mile 22, with Mark Wahlberg reuniting with his longtime collaborator director Peter Berg. While their last 3 films together were all based on real life stories of tragedy and heroism, Berg returns to the fantastical with a story about a highly classified covert action team known as “Overwatch” operating in an unnamed Southeast Asian country, tasked with getting a local defector out…

  • The 355

    The 355

    ★★½

    THE 355 is fine, at worst it’s cliched but the action works more often than it doesn’t (some parts of it do suck, no doubt). This is the kind of “mid budget movie for adults” that all you fucking film nerds swear up and down you wish there were more of. Quality and taste account for something, sure, but I can’t be mad at a movie that’s built for Sunday afternoon heavy rotations on TNT.

    Biggest problem with THE 355 is…

  • The Tragedy of Macbeth

    The Tragedy of Macbeth

    ★★★★½

    MACBETH is terrific goddamn Uncle Denzel bodied this shit, but this whole cast is on fire, can’t remember the last time I saw something where damn near every person on screen could deserve a nomination. Special mention in particular to Alex Hassell, serious best supporting material and just a great presence about him that I want to see more of.

    I like how this definitively feels like a Coen movie, high level cinematic theory imparted with moments of awkwardness that…

  • The Card Counter

    The Card Counter

    ★★★★½

    The weight of guilt, the gravity of sin, the black hole of annihilation.

    Traversing the thematic wavelengths of his previous works, Paul Schrader presents a cold and somewhat disjointed portrait of a man in an unending personal gauntlet of penance. Opportunities arise for escape, but the wages of sin must be paid in full.

  • Cherry

    Cherry

    ★★

    Knowing that this is based on the real account of a soldier turned drug addict who managed to survive makes me sympathetic to this story and the travails it explores, but Jesus Christ as a film this is just a gormless plodding mess of cinema.

  • Encanto

    Encanto

    ★★★½

    ENCANTO is great. Feels the most like a traditional Broadway musical than any animated movie I've seen in a while. Lin-Manuel Miranda's music can sound similar but I think the songs here show growth/an expanded pallet. Cast is great all around too

  • The Matrix Resurrections

    The Matrix Resurrections

    ★★★

    My review of THE MATRIX RESURRECTIONS is that I’m glad that Lana Wachowski is doing better and I hope she finds her peace & happiness. Everyone’s loss is unique but we all know grief. I appreciate her taking us on another ride under these trying circumstances.

    I can talk about technical stuff or story construction issues but I’m kinda inclined to defy all the Letterboxd molecular analysis [suffice to say I am making this entry for logging and tracking purposes] .…

  • Spider-Man: No Way Home

    Spider-Man: No Way Home

    ★★★

    They coulda cut out a full hour out of this movie & just had the all the Super Humans do group therapy together and all the emotionally cloying/nostalgia stuff that’s practically bulletproof from criticism/impossible to resist woulda been just as resonant. A nigga was cryin tho.

    Very amusing/sad/ironic that a movie that just had a bigger opening weekend than AVENGERS INFINITY WAR literally lives & dies on previous better versions of this movie/character/IP and a hot Italian MILF

    Maybe there’s a metaphor about Hollywood in there somewhere.

  • Encounter

    Encounter

    ★★★½

    Riz Ahmed is a powerhouse as expected, but his young costars Lucian-River Chauhan & Aditya Geddada manage to keep up with him at every step of the journey and make it worthwhile, even if the other story elements outside of the central relationship are otherwise sparse and somewhat perfunctory.

    The Big Spoiler: this Sci-Fi Invasion Thriller is not what it seems, but the metaphors are still strong. Its difficult to avoid further spoilers, but the incredibly intense journey of a US…

  • Petite Maman

    Petite Maman

    ★★★★★

    Every now and then you need cinema stripped down to its barest components like this to make you remember the overwhelming emotional power movies can have. Here we have a truly beautiful contained little story about not being able to properly say goodbye to the loved ones we lost. However, more than being about “one more chance”, it is about celebrating the absolute glory of what we had along. 

    A bit of anecdote to why this movie was so special…