• No Man's Woman

    No Man's Woman

    ★½

    marie windsor is a dead ringer for illiana douglas here and a real firecracker, great example of why people like rooting for the bad guys. there's literally nothing else doing in this movie, the man in the love triangle and the detective are two slices of wet beef off the same slab to the point i confused them at several points. this movie is just about seventy minutes but it goes to show that doesn't matter when your movie just stops halfway for a bunch of whitebread tightasses. great title tho

  • Bay Coven

    Bay Coven

    one of those movies that only survived by being uploaded to youtube because it has someone famous in it (woody harrelson, star of VENOM 2). a tug of war between rosemary's baby's outline - inattentive husband becoming inexplicably closer to weird neighbors - and yuppie cliches (industrial loft apartments, mentions of souffles and filenes basement, dialog about "landing that big account", primary conflict about becoming a long distance commuter). really rushed but i appreciated the old fashioned WASP spookiness that never hints at lovecraft for one second. inferior to the completely ridiculous wes craven tv movie INVITATION TO HELL starring susan lucci

  • Malignant

    Malignant

    the first half or so, i wasn't really feeling because it felt overly flip - really enjoyed the dead alive/braindead style opening scene but the fake NCIS stuff is just mocking the audience. this is probably my least favorite of wan's horror movies other than the original saw, i don't think he actually does insincerity very well. that said, the man simply bears the crosses of modern horror, he resurrected the jumpscare, traded gore for ghosts and here he goes again, tripling down in a truly absurd third just to prove the point that people really do love a twist.

  • The Card Counter

    The Card Counter

    there's a lot of weird details in this that make it seem fake, for example, the titular character has a huge upper back tat that appears to be written in comic sans. each and every motel and casino has a big, fake, CG placard or sign, every tertiary character is a poorly observed "type", likely emphasizing the total irrelevance of everything outside oscar isaac's interior life. i will say that dafoe always makes it look easy, for such a beloved actor he switches so well into unpleasantly edgy that its disturbing. best use of 360 VR since gonjam: haunted asylum

  • The Night House

    The Night House

    strong "written, produced and directed by" vibe, which is fine because i like rebecca hall and her big, exaggerated facial expressions. all the more tragic that this isn't very good. odd blend of straightforward reddit logic in service of trying to outsmart a ghost with the house of leaves imagery, very reminiscent of oculus, the rare modern horror movie i outright hated. still some bright spots, like seeing vondie curtis-hall again.

  • The Green Knight

    The Green Knight

    ★★½

    maybe the most "house style" a24 movie other than it comes at night, not especially offensive outside of it's redditcore affectations (ie being compared to dark souls, of all things). markedly inferior to oz perkins' moody GRETEL AND HANSEL. dev patel would make an excellent guybrush threepwood, sean harris is always at his best playing characters just seem to have to been revived from the brink of death. alt title: "the fuckboy's progress

  • Unsane

    Unsane

    ★★★★

    a signature zoned out, muted, yet totally histrionic sodebergh movie. all the principals act like they're on robitussin until the fever breaks, then it turns into an early depalma movie. a great example of "style is substance", with all the weird, too close closeups, extremely narrow phone camera FOV, fluorescent lighting, and lots of surreptitious, claustrophobic, surveilled cinematography. it even works that claire foy is just barely holding onto that american accent with one hand. the surreal superimposition of domestic and institutional abuse as one and the same may seem glib but using stylization to imply unreliable narration really works.

  • You Were Never Really Here

    You Were Never Really Here

    not as good or original as ramsay's last film, which was far too long ago. it's easy to read this as a deconstruction of heroic masculinity, "rescue fantasies", imperiled maidens and so on, but they already made this movie. its called taxi driver. therefore what you end up with is a stylish homage, which is fine and everything, but in many ways feels like an exercise. the emphasis on willowy teen blondes as objects of fixation seems like unreconstructed writer's workshop bullshit, but what do i know. love joaquin, hope lynne gets a shot at directing a real movie soon

  • A Quiet Place

    A Quiet Place

    it is nice to see that genre studios still have a recognizable look, feel and ethos, and there's none more amusing than the platinum dunes (friday the 13th remake, purge series) house style, which is very lush and bourgeois. this is lifestyle magazine horror. it's very funny that end of the world movies are so rote by now that they're totally aestheticized: politics, lifehacks and clothing choices straight out of a prepper magazine. its something that leaps out because of the emphasis on the nuclear family as the irreducible political unit, now even reactionary nostalgia is wounded and apocalyptic.

  • Annihilation

    Annihilation

    there's something about alex garland's writing that i don't like that assumes you've never even heard of scifi before. exposition has a big place in genre film and shouldn't be excised entirely, but part of what makes weird fiction work is leaving some work to the imagination and above all, trusting your audience. an extended, mostly wordless sequence in the third act breaks free for a short, abstract little jog, too bad so much of the film is characters telling you their backstory.

    BIG props to buff gina rodriguez in the vasquez from aliens role.

  • Foxcatcher

    Foxcatcher

    ★★★★½

    absolutely could not stand capote, moneyball was only pretty good outside of jonah hill's outstanding performance. for whatever reason i fell in love with this movie, possibly because everything packs together nice and dense, like canned corned beef.

    films about competitive activity tend overextend the visual metaphor but that's what i love about this, greco-roman wrestling, of all things, serves as a pretty solid base to bitterly attack the misbegotten ideals of dynastic succession, american style work ethic, therapeutic homosociality, etc. the actual case this is based on barely figures into it.

    fine work from steve carrell as nosferatu

  • War for the Planet of the Apes

    War for the Planet of the Apes

    ★★★½

    the rare example of one of those cinematic universe things that doesn't seem toyetic and just plods along, telling the story it wants to tell. i have to wonder if it's because a full two thirds of this series is cgi ape pantomime, it's like a hundred million dollar version of la planète sauvage or something. the story of chimp moses delivering his people from debased humans got me good, like the last two it's pretty downbeat without being grim and there are barely any jokey jokes. admirably committed to its premise

    also loved the extremely jaunty and eclectic soundtrack.