• Ghostbusters

    Ghostbusters

    ★★½

    Three white male amateur paranormal investigators — each one a giant in his own mind but seemingly incapable of communicating meaningfully with other human beings (including his teammates) — commit a variety of crimes, misdemeanors, and acts of folly:

    - stunningly unprofessional behavior in an academic setting (and the film's anti-intellectual bent blames academia for this);
    - casual misogyny;
    - flagrant destruction of public property;
    - theological and philosophical reflections that demonstrate spectacular ignorance;
    - waving around massive phallic symbols as…

  • To Die For

    To Die For

    ★★★★

    [Criterion Channel]

    First time I've seen this since it was in theaters, and man — it's so much better than I remember.

    Most filmmakers would have given the lion's share of the attention to the lioness herself — and Kidman's ferociousness is worth every penny. Like the character of Suzanne Stone, she too terrifyingly good at this. (Hard to believe Kidman was 28 when she did this; she looks more like 20.)

    But it's Gus Van Sant, and so he's most interested…

  • Shiva Baby

    Shiva Baby

    ★★★

    [Streaming on Kanopy]

    Social Anxiety: The Movie

    It's impressively entertaining in the sense that a collision involving 17 vehicles might be impressively entertaining, especially if every single driver were at fault for being terrible drivers who all thought they could get away with ignoring the rules of the road.

    Is it... instructive? I suppose, if you need a movie to show you that it's unwise to sell your body for some extra cash, have multiple sexual partners without them knowing,…

  • No Time to Die

    No Time to Die

    ★★★

    [AMC Alderwood 16 in IMAX]

    When I was a sophomoric moviegoer, I bought tickets as a sophomoric moviegoer, I reviewed as a sophomoric moviegoer, and I enthused as a sophomoric moviegoer. But when I became a man, I put away sophomoric things — including my deliberate pursuit of, revelry in, and recommending of movies that glorify gun-wielding heroes in a world where it is increasingly clear that such glamorization of guns fuels the fires of a toxic ideal of masculinity and…

  • Titane

    Titane

    ★★★

    [AMC Alderwood 16]

    Love hertz.

    . . . . .

    Titane = Cronenberg's Crash + Holy Motors + Let the Right One In + The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo + Rubber + Kill Bill: Vol. 2 + Le Fils + ... Together Together?!

    . . . . .

    I don't think anything could have surprised me more than to have the opening moments set to my all-time favorite rendition of "Wayfaring Stranger" ... the one performed by Sixteen Horsepower.…

  • Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

    Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

    ★★★★★

    [Streaming on HBO Max]

    "You ever have so much to say about something, you just couldn't say it?" — Jefferson Smith on the ideal of America versus the reality of its fundamental corruption

    Yeah, Jeff. Yeah... I often do.

    You should see us now, in 2021, as we circle the drain of Trump's Re-Election Abyss. Maybe I'm just getting older, but I'm struggling anymore to believe there is light at the end of the "long, dark tunnel." In America, anyway.…

  • Thief

    Thief

    ★★★½

    [Criterion Channel]

    “Inside you are on ice from time. … I can’t work fast enough to catch up … I can’t run fast enough to catch up. … The only thing that catches me up is my magic act.”

    It’s hypnotic, Mann’s “magic act” capacity to worship toxic masculinity even as his storytelling fully acknowledges the deal-with-the-devil self-destruction inherent in its vanity. Taken seriously, isn't this MAGA Cinema? I’d love to see a parody of this with Will Ferrell in…

  • The Guilty

    The Guilty

    ★★½

    [The Crest Cinema Center]

    Top 5 Letterboxd Reviews I Considered Posting Here:

    5. And so, the Man on the Phone trilogy joins the short list of trilogies in which the second movie — Locke — is the best. (I'm not ready to say if this third one is better than the first — Phone Booth — or not.)

    4. "9-1-1. What's your emergency?" "I just watched The Guilty and my confidence in 9-1-1 operators has just been shot to pieces. Please tell me…

  • Night Moves

    Night Moves

    ★★★★

    [Criterion Channel]

    It may not be the best ‘70s movie, but it may very well be the most ‘70s movie.

    Oh for a day when an actor like Gene Hackman plays the lead of a detective movie like this again.

    Increasingly, noir seems to me to be a genre in which women seem despondently aware that they are incapable of making a meaningful difference in the world, while men think they can make a difference, then make somewhat-endearing fools of…

  • Broadcast News

    Broadcast News

    Given the near-unanimous adoration for this film among my friends and my favorite critics, I thought I'd give it a second look — more than 15 years after my first encounter with it left me underwhelmed.

    This experience wasn't much different.

    I mean, I'll follow Holly Hunter anywhere, and her performance here makes every minute worthwhile.

    But the love triangle remains a frustrating comedy for me. I have the same problem here with Brooks's screenplay that I have with several…

  • The Card Counter

    The Card Counter

    ★★★★

    [AMC Alderwood 16 with my friend Bryan Zug]

    I’m sure I’m in the minority here, but I much prefer Schrader* in this leaner direct-storytelling mode without cluttering the screen with asterisks and hyperlinks that tell us which art films he’s quoting. First Reformed, despite its strengths, felt like sitting through a film course. I found this more immersive, the chemistry between Isaac and Haddish riskier and more interesting, and the haunting score by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s Robert Levon Been (son…

  • The Lost Leonardo

    The Lost Leonardo

    ★★★½

    [On the big screen at Crest Cinemas Center.]

    My thought as the movie concluded: I know where the Ark of the Covenant is. Spielberg was trying to tell us ... way back in 1981!

    A great gallery of interviews and some impressive editing make this a compelling big-screen experience.

    But — unlike My Kid Could Paint That and The Painter and the Thief — this documentary doesn't seem particularly interested in art beyond its ability to inspire people to spend money.…