• Crossfire

    Crossfire

    Pretty great noir starring three Roberts: Mitchum, Ryan, and Young. A man is killed and suspicion falls on the soldiers recently returned from the war, and while it quickly becomes clear who is actually responsible, the film tautly weaves together everyone’s suspicions before they come up with a plan to nail the culprit. What’s most interesting is how the motive for the murder is linked to anti-Semitism, and that despite these soldiers all being at war fighting literal Nazis, at…

  • Saw

    Saw

    Complete garbage. Leigh Whannell is a terrible actor, the script is dumb as hell but thinks it’s genius, the dialogue is moronic, and James Wan directs like he knows it’s all bullshit and has to cover it up with as much flashy nonsense as possible. I used to think this was good? How were we all fooled into thinking this deserved any sequels, let alone eight?

  • Poetic Justice

    Poetic Justice

    It’s possible a lot of love for this film stems from people liking Tupac and Janet Jackson - perfectly understandable reasoning - but I felt it failed pretty substantially on a narrative + character level. I kept asking myself who Pac + Jackson’s characters were. They never felt well defined. What did they want? The film tells us Jackson is lonely, but we never really see it. Do only lonely people write poetry? Is that the implication? Also the film…

  • Devil's Knot

    Devil's Knot

    Watched with my dad, who wasn’t too familiar with the West Memphis Three case, so this viewing was bookended by me explaining (annoyingly, I’m sure) how this was incredibly inferior to the Paradise Lost documentaries. I probably would never have watched this other than for the fact that this was the last Atom Egoyan feature film I was yet to see. Having seen the docs, I didn’t really feel there was a need to see this true story told in…

  • The Hit

    The Hit

    ★★★★½

    The Hit is almost designed to surprise you. Its set-up reads like your typical predictable crime film, and the title is almost like it’s trying to hide from your attention by only utilising six letters and escaping your lips in a flash when you say it. This is nothing to write home about, right? Wrong! Somehow morphs from a rote crime plot into a black comedy of sorts, before coming back around and turning into an existentialist musing on death.…

  • Body Heat

    Body Heat

    ★★★★½

    I think I assumed this was merely a throwaway erotic sleazefest for the longest time, but finally watching it reveals to me that it’s essentially a perfect thriller, truly feeling like a classic noir transported to the 80s and able to do things its 40s + 50s precursors were unable to get away with. I love films where a plan keeps threatening to go wrong and characters have to think on their feet to reset everything and keep the train…

  • Death of a Cyclist

    Death of a Cyclist

    Hitchcockian set-up where a man and a woman who are having an affair run down a cyclist and drive off without reporting it in order to keep their romance a secret, but interestingly, the film is less interested in the criminal pursuit of the perpetrators and more in the moral quandaries of the couple themselves and the upper class world they’re surrounded by. The film is said to be a rebuke of Franco’s fascist regime in Spain at the time,…

  • Welcome Home, Soldier Boys

    Welcome Home, Soldier Boys

    ★★★★½

    Four young men return home from Vietnam and realise they only know how to do one thing: kill. Their reintegration back into society is littered with clear indicators that they no longer know how to treat people as anything other than an enemy. They’ve been taught in combat to see others as a threat and simply survive, and thus any feeling of empathy has been eroded. For example, they quickly pick up a woman, have sex with her, and then…

  • Fences

    Fences

    One of those films where everything is competent and the acting is so good that it’s easy to see why it gets a bunch of awards, and yet just a few years later nobody remembers it, maybe because it’s so obviously linked to its theatre origins that it almost can’t stand on its own. I don’t know why it often bothers me when a film feels like the play it came from. Maybe it’s because it feels like less effort…

  • In the Earth

    In the Earth

    ★★★★½

    Back-to-back films where I could barely tell you what they were trying to say, yet I loved them both. This one was especially surprising as it’s from Ben Wheatley, a director whose work I haven’t liked much. But this is some deeply weird shit delivered in a really effective manner. The Gary Numan-esque synths and hallucinogenic craziness make the forest setting fresh and interesting. Loved the two lead performances too. No surprise that Wheatley said he wrote and directed this over 15 days last August, as its themes of going insane when stuck in isolation ring very true during a pandemic.

  • Slow Machine

    Slow Machine

    ★★★★½

    “Everybody’s afraid of kicking it alone, but I for one can’t think of anything worse than a deliberately paced, collective perishing. It would be like you’re all dying in front of a mirror.”

    Couldn’t tell you what it was exactly about, but I felt it deeply. Love this line from this Film Stage review: “an eccentric celluloid shape-shifter.” Weird + fascinating. Crazy what you can do on a small budget in 72 minutes with an extended Chloe Sevigny cameo.

  • Materna

    Materna

    Four stories revolving around four different women on the subway, and all that led up to them stepping off the platform. It covers a lot of different topics but the running theme is the struggle with living in a world where everything feels temporary, everything is contentious, everything is a performance, and everything feels on the precipice of ending. That’s especially relevant in a film where four women’s stories are framed around the actions of one man. No doubt a…