• Blair Witch

    Blair Witch

    Inane, unremarkable and interminable shit show that does nothing for found footage or the flagship namesake it intended to revitalize for the sole reason of allowing us to see the titular assailant and nothing more. Wingard went from this to Death Note then GvK for a third strike to some but evidently not enough as I sit here praying for something worthwhile like a Guest offshoot or some such bullshit but who's to say that won't turn out to disappoint too?

  • The Craft

    The Craft

    ★★½

    As much fun you can have with the idea of your shitty high school's rumor mill coming to life, leaning into the idea of the unfairly ostracized actually being the witches they look the part of. A lot easier to be intrigued than enthralled by the hybridization of baseline teen angst tropeyness and the occult than its overall execution, mostly because the excessive wish fulfillment stuff pales in comparison to power drunk practitioners mind-fucking you into a state of insanity…

  • Tango & Cash

    Tango & Cash

    ★★★

    The way this jumps the shark with its finale complete with monster trucks, immense pyrotechnics and Palance's fun house speaks to the quality of the product as a whole: a troubled and tropey amalgam of both the best and worst of '80s buddy cop romps at the tail-end of the subgenre's heyday. Stallone's clearly uncomfortable in Tango's skin as evidenced by egregious affectations of character when compared to Russell's at-home-with-himself foil, their chemistry remaining a constant but only in service…

  • Splinter

    Splinter

    ★★★

    A surprisingly efficient low-budget venture that knows exactly what it's doing with its simple premise, even if what it's doing isn't particularly memorable. Wilkins manages to evoke knockoff (sorta) Rob Bottin vibes with the creature design and does well enough with situational specifics regarding exposition, tension and gore, however Whigham's the only one that manages to effectively give a shit throughout.

  • Violent Cop

    Violent Cop

    ★★★★

    Slow to build throughout its depiction of the beleaguered Azuma's involvement in archetypal Yakuza goings-on - interdepartmental corruption included - but this thing really does come 'round to delivering the goods. Evolves from its plodding and procedural self into full-on fatalistic extremity as Azuma's transitional predicament warrants it, even if the whole shebang becomes more about action/reaction than anything truly thoughtful. Features one of the most unintentionally hilarious (and brutal) collateral damage bits I've seen in recent memory.

  • Mortal Kombat

    Mortal Kombat

    ★½

    Just objectively terrible on every level imaginable bUuUuUt only because this franchise was never meant to be realized like this in any form or fashion post-'95. For as much as a particular audience wants this level of fan service, MK's always been about *characters* and rendered more meaningful when the character you use/main does the cool violent thing(s) you're thrilled by and - in a sense - this satisfies. Overall an ugly, unnecessarily vulgar affair benchmarked by none other than a latter-act set piece that's actually its best but doesn't say much about any of the rest.

  • In the Earth

    In the Earth

    ★★

    The pandemic film you wish someone like Wheatley wouldn't attempt to make, but here it is in all of its austere, slog-tacular glory that misses the mark in accessibly employing the hallucinatory aftermath of a duo's involvement in a microcosmic and convincingly fictional research experiment. A visual and auditory showcase to be certain, just *absolutely* not for those disinterested in the folkloric aims and endgame.

  • Kill List

    Kill List

    ★★★★

    Leans into obfuscation of its true self as a deceptively simple diversionary tactic, imbuing Jay and Gal's professional goings-on with alarming esoteric unease as a full-on nightmare well and truly unfurls. Can be viewed as either a metaphorical nod to Jay's deteriorating, post-military mental state or just an appropriate parallel to it, Wheatley and Co. splicing genuine human distress with the surreal to both our and our protagonists' dismay. Still of the opinion that this is Wheatley's best through a clear-cut ability to subvert convention in the specific ways that it does whilst indulging in its much more sinister side.

  • Spartan

    Spartan

    ★★★★

    Economically and acutely rendered ops simulator with a sense of eternal forward motion that adds appreciable realism to Scott's crusade. This pointedly subversive tactic warrants and maintains your full attention; nothing is sacred or as it seems from moment to moment and before you know it, this rhythm becomes the film's remarkably terse and unsympathetic M.O. that bolsters an otherwise unremarkable core narrative. The game's the same but - as Mamet reminds us - there's more than one way to skin the political conspiracy thriller cat.

  • The World of Kanako

    The World of Kanako

    ★★½

    My second of Tetsuya's after Confessions and I'm definitely into but almost entirely over his dour, egregiously emulative proclivities. Repurposes said previous film's focus on shifty adolescents and their misdeeds with an added emphasis on "Do you know who your kids are?" as Kanako is indeed a manipulative sociopathic nightmare child of the edgiest caliber. Yakusho Kôji as Kanako's abusive, anguished and unstable alcoholic of a father nails what's a contender for the least nuanced performance of the 2010s, wildly…

  • Hollow Man

    Hollow Man

    ★★

    Supposedly Verhoeven's purposefully tepid response to himself following Starship Troopers which is undeniably its biggest mistake, rendering what's ostensibly a Y2K-infused Invisible Man riff as just a *mildly* horny genre hybrid with ham-fisted God complex overtones and - of course - 'splosions. Bacon's admittedly as good as ever despite Sebastian's thin, archetypal motivations that run parallel to the exact lack of risks this takes despite a well-placed Superman joke and clever exploitation of its $50M effects budget.

  • Stray Dog

    Stray Dog

    ★★★★

    "There's no such thing as a bad man. Only bad situations."

    A thoughtfully concocted noir steeped in après-guerre (postwar) sentimentality that still runs with the best. Its cut-and-dry outlook pertaining to how you choose to live your life after the war's what drives this; Mifune's Murakami of course so clean cut and green behind the ears that he feels responsible for those harmed by his stolen pistol, his perp - angry at the world - instead embodying flip-side, dead-end criminality…