• American Psycho

    American Psycho

    ★★★★½

    It's hard to imagine such a time now, but when Mary Harron fought to have Christian Bale play the lead in her adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis' novel American Psycho, he was a fairly unknown quantity - a young British actor unfamiliar to US audiences. It's for that reason the rest of the film is populated with recognizable names even in small parts like Chloë Sevigny, Willem Defoe, and Reese Witherspoon. Obviously the studio wanted to protect its investment by…

  • Three Colors: Blue

    Three Colors: Blue

    ★★★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    Blue is as much a mood as a color. In an emotional context the word conveys a sense of sadness and depression - a weight that's fallen upon you and robs some of the warmth from the world.

    In the first scene of Krzysztof Kieslowski's Blue, Julie (Juliette Binoche) and her family get in a car accident, leaving her the only survivor.

    Everyone mourns in their own way, and Julie decides that she needs to cut herself off from her…

  • Another Round

    Another Round

    ★★★★

    “Here's to alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems.” - Homer Simpson

    At a gathering for a birthday celebration, a group of four Danish teachers start chatting about a philosophical idea that we are inherently deficient in alcohol, and that people would operate best with a BAC of 0.05. It's the kind of conversation you have with your friends all the time and never do anything about - except when someone does. In this group, Martin…

  • Sideways

    Sideways

    ★★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    Alexander Payne's 2004 film Sideways was a popular success and a critical darling; a film with an outsized cultural impact to the point that it significantly affected the wine market. It's a story of midlife crisis, about two men trying to find some measure of a life they remember on a trip through California's wine country. Perhaps that helped it to resonate with a Baby Boom generation that was most of the way through middle age, and a Gen-X that…

  • eXistenZ

    eXistenZ

    ★★★½

    Cronenberg has always excelled at body horror. Whether the famous exploding head shot from Scanners or the grotesque transformation of The Fly, he has an uncanny knack for digging into our brains and finding that exact spot that fills us with revulsion even as we're unable to look away. His prosthetics always look distinctly biological and fleshy, but somehowwrong - cancerous or unnatural.

    In most of Cronenberg's films his squirmy body horror is about the body - an effort to…

  • A Matter of Life and Death

    A Matter of Life and Death

    ★★★★

    In Powell & Pressburger's A Matter of Life and Death, a WWII pilot jumps out of an aircraft without a parachute and is missed by Heaven's collection agent in the British fog. By the time Heaven catches up to him he has fallen in love, and he demands the right to argue for his life. And from this premise, Powell & Pressburger craft an effects extravaganza using every trick in the book.

    Not that this is unusual for Powell & Pressburger. Their films…

  • Hunt for the Wilderpeople

    Hunt for the Wilderpeople

    ★★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    "I get knocked down, but I get up again. You are never gonna keep me down." - Chumbawumba

    Life never stops throwing obstacles in your way. Some people have it much easier (even unfairly so) than others, but no one has everything go their way all of the time. A big part of who you are as a person has to do with how you respond to those obstacles and what you prioritize.

    Ricky Baker's (Julian Dennison) life has been…

  • Suspiria

    Suspiria

    ★★★★½

    Dario Argento's original Suspiria from 1977 was largely an exercise in color and mood. Its narrative was light and served primarily as a framing device for the horror set pieces. It's a vibrant display; Italian giallo at its finest.

    Luca Guadagnino's 2018 remake, by contrast, focuses more on plot and theme. He moves the film from Freiburg to Berlin, at the height of the German Autumn - a period of political unrest which saw a number of kidnappings, bombings, assassinations,…

  • Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

    Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

    ★★★★

    Davis and Boseman are absolutely incredible than this. It's unfathomable how much we've lost with Boseman's untimely passing. In the decades to come we'll be repeatedly thinking "You know what? Chadwick Boseman would have been perfect for this." and feeling sad.

  • The Warriors

    The Warriors

    ★★★½

    There's a concept deeply ingrained in our psyches that life at night time is just different from life during the day. It's a wilder, stranger time than the day - people who are active between sundown and sunup are somehow fundamentally separate from daytime society, unable to truly be a part of it.

    This is the world we see in Walter Hill's 1979 film The Warriors. Set overnight in New York City, Hill's world is populated with gangs in every…

  • The Twentieth Century

    The Twentieth Century

    ★★★★½

    I only want to learn about Canada through surrealist perversions of the truth.

  • The Secret of Roan Inish

    The Secret of Roan Inish

    ★★★½

    There's a distinct melancholy air to John Sayles' The Secret of Roan Inish. Set in Ireland some few years after World War II, it seems suffused with a certain sadness of times lost - a culture dying out. Young Fiona (Jeni Courtney) and her father have moved from the sea to the city after her mother's passing, but Fiona is being sent back to live with her grandparents (Mick Lally and Eileen Coogan) for the sake of her health. There's…