• Detective Story

    Detective Story

    There is no one I’d rather have direct an interior scene than William Wyler. Wyler communicated story and tension through staging as well as anyone ever, and the (mostly) single location setting here is a perfect showcase for his talents.

  • A Bucket of Blood

    A Bucket of Blood

    An acidic, anti-elitist uppercut. As a lowly minimum wage worker, every time Dick Miller was applauded and then told to fetch an espresso or clean the garbage cans, I winced.

  • Patterns

    Patterns

    The lack of a score makes this even more stark of a story. It’s the white-collar version of Blue Collar.

  • Room

    Room

    Sean Bridgers and William H. Macy could play brothers. What was the casting director trying to say?

    Anyway, I wish the first half was the whole thing. Jacob Tremblay carries the movie.

  • Final Destination

    Final Destination

    Oh, great, more stuff for me to be nervous about.

  • U.S. Go Home

    U.S. Go Home

    This story of loneliness and longing proves that music matters most when you’re young. Stellar dance sequences.

  • Riders of Justice

    Riders of Justice

    A dexterous script and multitasking direction manage to balance the dramatic shifts in tone, as you get spurts of John Wick action mixed with contemplative grief set next to ironic laughs and gallows humor. Most importantly, all the major characters are afforded their humanity.

    For a movie that questions the randomness in our lives, that one scene would highlight a particular mood only to be juxtaposed by another in the following moments—it makes sense. We’re all just along for the ride anyhow.

  • Breakaway

    Breakaway

    The frenzy of liberation; impossibly cool.

  • Momma

    Momma

    This would probably be better served as a feature length film. In its current short form, it never really has a chance to settle; instead, we’re just jumping from one emotional moment to the next, when what we really need is spacing, some room to breathe. That being said, it's an effective—if manipulative—tale with a solid sense of visual storytelling. Strangely, it might actually work best when it feels like a horror movie.

  • Sole Survivor

    Sole Survivor

    Most horror movies feature trauma but don’t seem to be about it, at least not like Sole Survivor. Through careful pacing, this movie understands that traumatic stress produces a level of fear that can seep into your every moment.

  • Time to Die

    Time to Die

    A man is killed. His killer and the man’s two sons meet 18 years later in a small town. From such a simple setup comes a wise story about pride, time, and justice. Beautiful handheld black and white cinematography and a knowing performance from Jorge Martinez de Hoyos further the movie’s cause.

  • Norm Macdonald: Me Doing Standup

    Norm Macdonald: Me Doing Standup

    “I come from a long line of death.”

    When Norm talks about his dad passing or his uncle’s cancer, you can see him momentarily drift elsewhere. There’s a little bit less of the stand-up facade in those moments and more of just a guy grappling with his own emotions.

    RIP to a uniquely funny man, a legend.