• Happy Death Day

    Happy Death Day

    ★★★½

    I love the format of time-loop movies. You’ve got a protagonist who’s an awful person—you know you’ll see them evolve to be better. You’ve got a ton of little scenarios to make the day memorable—all of which they’ll be able to predict to prove their point, and potentially help those involved. This time around, there’s also a guessing game for who is killing our protagonist Tree (short for Teresa, I think). This is a solid addition to the genre, as it has a lot of fun with its premise, and has good performances all around.

  • Wild Wild West

    Wild Wild West

    ★★

    Look, there’s some stuff that’s fun. Will Smith as a wise-cracking cowboy? Yes please. Weird, anachronistic gadgets? Yes please. Giant mechanical spider? Honestly, yes please, because that fits into the camp stuff really well. But it’s couched in a lot of not great stuff. Confederates, slavery jokes, Kevin Klein feels miscast, the plotting thinks it’s serious despite being stupid. Kenneth Branagh is absolutely wallowing in the River of Ham, and it’s hard to tell if that’s a good or bad decision—the movie hides a lot of bad stuff behind his goofiness, even if he looks like he’s having a fun time. Silly, could’ve been better.

  • Super Mario Bros.

    Super Mario Bros.

    ★½

    Yuck. Just yuck. How was this considered a good idea? I genuinely don’t know how anyone behind the scenes approved any of this. Even if you try and view this as a unique sci-fi story, and not a Mario adaption, it’s still bad! Its ugly setting is nothing like the games, so wildly different that it feels more dystopian. Honestly, Bob Hoskins isn’t bad as Mario, and John Leguizamo is fine. The only bit of video game tie-in that I liked was…

  • Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol

    Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol

    ★★★★

    This is were Mission Impossible takes off. The mythos of Ethan Hunt. The practical stunts. The much better team dynamics. The way it connects with the prior films. The way comedy is eked out of tense situations without the characters having to say a punchline. Everything is so so good. Simon Pegg’s banter. Lea Seydoux being way better used than she was in Spectre. Paula Patton kicking ass. Josh Holloway getting some love on the big screen. Tom Cruise doing…

  • Clue

    Clue

    ★★★★★

    The comedic dialogue and physical comedy in this is some of the absolute best. Just hysterical stuff at times. Tim Curry gives a completely off-the-chain performance and it’s a wonder to behold. Other than him, my favourites are Madeline Kahn’s Mrs White (for deliciously defending her not-murder of her husband) and Lesley Ann Warren’s Miss Scarlet (for simply being thrilled at every development and having the time of her life). Fourth place goes to the Singing Telegram Girl.

  • Magic Mike XXL

    Magic Mike XXL

    ★★★★★

    I don’t know if this is a real 5 stars, or if it’s just such a solid improvement over the first that I’m in shock.

    The character work done here is crazy good, allowing all the strippers from the first movie (minus McConaughey & Pettyfer) to have genuine human moments. The friendship between them all is what the movie is celebrating, and non-toxic male friendship is so rarely seen that this feels fresh and lovely. The dancing is also improved over…

  • Magic Mike

    Magic Mike

    ★★★

    Two good things:
    1. Channing Tatum & Cody Horn’s relationship was very sweet and believable. I really enjoyed their chemistry.
    2. The dancing is very impressive. The amount of control they had is crazy.

    Three problems:
    1. This movie is so yellow. I’ve seen movies set in the Middle East with less yellow tinting. Didn’t know Florida was so yellow.
    2. The dance sequences are impressive—when they’re actually dancing. When it’s just dry-humping the female audience members, it’s less impressive and…

  • They Live

    They Live

    ★★★★★

    Holy shit, they made this movie in 1988?! NINETEEN EIGHTY-EIGHT!!! A hidden society of upper-class people manipulating the lower-class to keep them subdued through television, magazines, and authoritarian law enforcement. If this was made today, it would be called ‘too on the nose’, and yet here it works perfectly. Also, Keith David is very handsome. 

    John Carpenter Ranked

  • Mission: Impossible III

    Mission: Impossible III

    ★★★½

    This has always weirdly felt like the smallest Mission movie to me. The plotting is simple—a mission gives them a guy’s name, they kidnap him, he escapes, he blackmails them to get a thing, they do, final showdown—but it is still interesting. I think the ‘small’ comes from JJ Abrams. This is his debut after a lot of TV work, so this feels like Big TV. There’s a lot of close-ups on faces rather than letting the screen and scene…

  • Pitch Perfect 2

    Pitch Perfect 2

    ★★★

    Didn’t really have the charm of the first, but the songs were still good, and there were some parts that made me laugh. One thing I hated was the character Flo, a new singer on the team whose every line of dialogue is a “joke” based on a Mexican stereotype.

  • Venom

    Venom

    ★★★½

    This movie is so weird. Tom Hardy is making some wild acting choices, and frankly, I’m here for it. It’s been said before, but this genuinely feels like it was made in 2003. The editing, the soundtrack, the character archetypes. BUT it was made in 2018, and bizarrely feels like a breath of fresh air against a decade of MCU movies, just as it doesn’t feel like anything being made nowadays. I shouldn’t be excited for the weird sequel, but I am.

    Also, Michelle Williams flicking her tie from her neck to Tom Hardy’s and pulling him into the bedroom really worked for me. Oof.

  • Maleficent

    Maleficent

    ★★★

    A really solid 3 star film. Jolie does a great job showing the audience another side of a classic “villain”, and showing how she was wronged. Elle Fanning is well-cast as the naive and beautiful Aurora (and casting Black Sails’ Hannah New as her mother is *chefs kiss*, however brief), learning about the fantastical world outside of the one the fairies and her father are keeping her in. Her father is played by a fairly miscast Sharlto Copley, who isn’t…