• The Adventures of Tintin

    The Adventures of Tintin

    ★★★★

    A-

    "I thought you were an optimist."

    Inventive formality meets the spatiality of an animated creation with genuine narrative plotting, intrigue, conflict, and visionary (swashbuckling) fascinations to boast. A better Uncharted adventure than the games.

  • Mars Attacks!

    Mars Attacks!

    ★★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    B+

    "They blew up Congress! Ha ha ha ha!"

    Tim Burton made a deliriously wacky, shlocky '50s alien invasion hybrid that contains the slaughtering of entire selections of A-list celebrities and most of Congress, as endorsed by the satirical critiques of American™ (conservative) cultural poison triggering their own annihilation; then to be saved by people who have never given a damn about that culture (naturally, children, working-class people, iconic leftist celebrities, gamers, and your one awesome grandma). It's not the exhilarating, intricate, and high-octane extravaganza I was hoping for - but that doesn't take away from its stronger attributes; the pastiche-driven entertainment, the hilarious cynicism, etc.

  • The Terminal

    The Terminal

    ★★★

    B-

    "Ever feel like you're living in an airport?"

    Super weird oddity of romantic and comedic sentimentality (adjoined with the occasional humanity of an immediate community & the callousness of the systemic causes) vs. the general overtness of its wandering, contrivances, and abundances of schmaltz. Nonetheless, it's pretty wholesome.

  • Chaos Walking

    Chaos Walking

    ★½

    D+

    "I've never seen a girl before."

    As someone who saw a marketing ad that said "experience the chaos this weekend," I was disappointed, as this is neither the colossal disaster many were hoping for - nor is it anywhere near something of mediocre quality. Also, fuck this straight-up for violence against horses and dogs.

  • Raya and the Last Dragon

    Raya and the Last Dragon

    ★★★★

    B+

    "My name is Raya."

    Gigantic sucker for narratives involving the histories & evolutions of a fantasy world that's struck by apocalyptic chaos, significant conflicts of humanity, and an eventual search/fight for some kind of potential restoration (the more intricate & idiosyncratic, the better). Consequently, this follows a similar, albeit infrequently unfulfilling & ordinary iteration of the narrative's more undeviating delights - the magical creatures, the variety of the mythical environments, the vividness of the images, the evil forces, and the (film's) adequate thematics of the hero's journey; intertwined with more neat cultural delineations. Shout-out to James Newton Howard, as always.

  • Coming 2 America

    Coming 2 America

    ★★½

    C

    "What do we have besides superhero shit, remakes, and sequels to old movies nobody asked for?"

    They go back to America for like ten minutes (also, this is a major step-down from both the previous film and Craig Brewer's Dolemite Is My Name - even though it's always nice to see Eddie Murphy again).

  • Hook

    Hook

    ★★★

    B-

    "Thank you for believing."

    Pleasant enough. The sentimentality works for something this purely whimsical and technologically efficient (ex: the SFX, the set designs, the music, the playfulness), yet the reimagining of the source material grinds to a halt when it's not pursuing the unrealized potential of its (now subtextual) potency - via the sheer emotionality, and tragedy, of moving beyond the wondrousness of a past youth & turning into a world-weary cynic once any ounce/remembrance of magic fades away vs. Captain Hook's longing for that past. The first act and the closing sequence are the exemplary highpoints (both outside of Neverland).

  • The Spy Next Door

    The Spy Next Door

    D

    "I've brought down dictators. How tough can three kids be?"

    Jackie Chan revisionism. Shot by Dean Cundey.

  • Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole

    Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole

    ★★★★

    B+

    "There's nothing wrong with dreams."

    If only all animated films were as remarkably gorgeous and visualized as this one. There's many bits & pieces of Snyder's fascinations with the self-reflexive notions of archetypal mythologizing (ex: the anti-fascist throughline of the central adventure; one which acknowledges the downfalls of lacking individual contemplation) - but, of course, it unfolds within the sincerity, optimism, and earnestness of a children's tale.

  • Duel

    Duel

    ★★★★

    B+

    "I play meat."

    Bare-bones genre experimentation that's enhanced by the American (masculine) angst and unrelenting viciousness of otherworldly forces - moving through desolate environments which match the exceptional visual formality of the directorial engineering. Mechanization and paranoia.

  • The Amityville Horror

    The Amityville Horror

    ★★★½

    B

    "Peace to this house and all who enter in it."

    One of the significant origins of the long-standing haunted house blueprint - of which doesn't prevent this from utilizing pieces of uncanny dreariness & strapping it to the rather eerie chills, blunt events, and familial turmoil that run through the film's general efficiency. Bonus points for going back for the doggo.

  • This Is Spinal Tap

    This Is Spinal Tap

    ★★★½

    B

    "Fuck the napkin!"

    A mockumentary which thrives through the satire-driven hilarity and somewhat inventive, experimental amusement of its narrative fabrications. Not too much beyond that of well-paced entertainment.