• In a Valley of Violence

    In a Valley of Violence

    ★★★★

    I'm pretty upfront about my favorable bias regarding Ti West, so I knew I was going to like when he first announced the project years ago. But now that I finally watched it, the film is a bit different than I imagined. The plot really is just an all-efficient distillation of the classic revenge story. But there's some real goofiness thrown in—this is an element I've really appreciated in (most of) West's films over the years, and it really works…

  • Aquaman

    Aquaman

    ★★½

    Some sequences are beautiful and almost hallucinatory. Other scenes are amazingly stupid (like, any time someone talks). The movie suffers from serious superhero movie bloat—I got close to permanently turning the thing off, but thankfully the final act came along and woke me up.

    Dumb dumb dumb with some beautiful stuff mixed in.

  • Little Women

    Little Women

    ★★★★

    Love it.

  • Children of the Corn

    Children of the Corn

    I heard this was really bad, though I couldn't believe it for the first half hour. Something about the goofy set-up had enough '80s matinee chills that I dug it. But once the second act started...yikes. This is a rough, rough movie.

  • Russian Ark

    Russian Ark

    ★★★

    The technical achievements on this are certainly impressive, though it's hard for me to enjoy the movie much more beyond that. There are spots in the rambling tale that made me laugh or stare with awe, but maybe a handful. This isn't a bad movie by any means, just one dense enough that I couldn't dig into Russian history well enough (and I know a bit) to really enjoy it.

    Also, the camera panning and rolling in many of the scenes made me feel like I was underwater. Ugh.

  • The King and I

    The King and I

    ★★★★

    I can't believe I missed this over the past three decades! The movie has a lot going for it; it's genuinely charming, it's well-written, and Yul Brynner is the best. I was surprised at how flat some of the songs fall, however.

  • Balto

    Balto

    ★★★★½

    A no-frills story told simply, and it's an excellent one at that. I was surprised to see the movie shift from live-action bookends to the meat in the middle. The humor is light and mostly enjoyable, and I really dug the story. I realize these low-stakes sort of animated movies have become rare, so I'm glad to find treasures like this from time to time.

  • Event Horizon

    Event Horizon

    ★★★

    I hated this the first time I saw it as a teen. I wasn't sure what I was expecting, I guess.

    It's still not a great movie, but it does get *something* right. To paraphrase Ebert, there's a lot of foreboding but no actual boding. Even with that in mind, the foreboding is really well done. The first 45 minutes or so are wonderfully eerie, and the art design is just great. The wind goes out of the movie like a punctured balloon once things start going crazy, but what's there up until that point is pretty magnificent.

  • Edge of Tomorrow

    Edge of Tomorrow

    ★★★★½

    This was the perfect blend of creative action and self-aware humor that movies of this kind need to really click. The final third is a little goofy; I didn't hate the actual ending as much as some others, but the lead-up is really boring compared to the rest of the film.

    But the rest is just so enjoyable, especially when it plays with genre tropes. Really dug this one, especially some of the creative casting choices.

    As was it just me, or did Cruise (for once) actually look *short* on screen?

  • Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith

    Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith

    ★½

    While Episode Three has a much more engaging narrative than the first two prequels, the rest is so unwatchable that it makes me cry. The two MCs (McGregor and McDiarmid) come out of this relatively unscathed (and Jimmy Smits too, I guess), but everyone else seems like they're reading cue cards. The weird, awkward pauses between every. line. of. dialogue. are painful. The CGI, which engulfs about 90% of the movie, looks like a damn video game from 2005.

    When…

  • Moonrise Kingdom

    Moonrise Kingdom

    ★★★

    As others have pointed out, Moonrise Kingdom seems like a distillation of the themes and topics that matter most to Wes Anderson. In that regard, Moonrise Kingdom is lovely, maybe a bit bittersweet. But I just didn't really enjoy it.

    I go out of my way not to be that guy who sneers and says, "Huh, this artist was *better* before he went maaaaainstream." I hate that guy, especially when that guy is me (it happens). So while I recognize…

  • As the Light Goes Out

    As the Light Goes Out

    ★★★

    By-the-numbers firefighting drama that is still pretty watchable, mainly because of the nice cast and *really* cool smoke effects. The attempts at melodrama land with a big thud, which is the most disappointing thing about the movie; there's lots of potential that goes nowhere. The movie also sags under the overwhelming CGI weight in the second half. I'll reiterate how sweet the smoke effects are, but the rest of the firefighting stuff is so busy and saturated that it's unwatchable.

    Still, this is a fairly fun movie, and I'd rather watch this again than a Michael Bay movie.