• Man of Tai Chi

    Man of Tai Chi

    ★★★★

    I hadn't seen this in quite a while, and kind of forgot how it works. The first half of the movie has a pretty standard "fighting tournament" plot and fantastic fight scenes, but Keanu's acting is a little wonky and you're not quite sure where it's all going. By the end, though, it is clear that this is a love letter TO martial arts, and the spiritual connection that goes beyond beating people up. It's a pretty clear condemnation of…

  • The Sentinel

    The Sentinel

    ★★★½

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

    A lot of people compare this to ROSEMARY'S BABY, but I haven't seen that yet, so I will say this feels like "Americanized Fulci."

    THE SENTINEL definitely has moments that reflect something like HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY, with pretty professionals moving into creepy places, scary figures in windows, and gates to evil dimensions.

    It is kind of a slow burn, but wacky stuff does enter fairly early, and in the meantime you will enjoy recognizing actor after actor after actor in their first/early roles! Jerry Orbach was once KIND OF YOUNG! And Burgess Meredith was NEVER YOUNG!

  • Cabin Boy

    Cabin Boy

    ★★★★

    I hadn't seen CABIN BOY in a while, so while I knew it was weird and great, I had forgotten in which ways it was weird. For example: I had completely forgotten that this is a contemporary setting! That is wild considering the "tall tale about the sea" feel.

    Anyways, Chris Elliott is so funny here, and juuuuust when Nathaniel starts to feel annoying, they change it up. The change isn't as funny, but by then it's okay since we're rolling to a very sweet conclusion.

    And my goodness, will there ever be as spot-on a casting as the four fishermen? Those guys are incredible here.

  • Mad Max: Fury Road

    Mad Max: Fury Road

    ★★★★★

    I watch MAD MAX: FURY ROAD a lot.

    Also: I love MAD MAX: FURY ROAD a lot.

    I feel like every viewing reveals more messages about surviving trauma, leaving a shitty gaslighting and/or abusive relationship, and figuring out your own worth. Even in the worst situation, you can still make good choices.

  • Babe: Pig in the City

    Babe: Pig in the City

    ★★★★★

    I like this movie more each time. It really slapped me upside the head this time with the humor, heart, and that certain weirdness that is so specifically "George Miller."

    And now, thanks to BABE: PIG IN THE CITY and my copy of "I Have A Pony" on vinyl, my daughter is probably the only 9-year-old in town who has heard of Steven Wright .

  • Batman

    Batman

    ★★★★

    All right so it is a little slow in the middle, and some of the music choices are weird, but this movie is great! The bomb thing, the multiple poorly-disguised characters (including, as always, a Bruce Wayne who doesn't change his voice), and the self-awareness make this so fun.

    And whenever I mention 66-style Batman, I gotta talk fights. Sure they are silly and performed by pudgy actors who would probably think pencak silat is a fancy drink, but the Adam West stuff still to this day has the best-choreographed fighting out of any live-action Batman. Yeah I said it.

  • Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy

    Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy

    ★★★

    I don't know if 9-year-olds really care about George Lucas' daddy issues, but my daughter certainly seemed interested in the rest of this!

    For me, there were a few things I didn't already know, and it's always entertaining to watch Harrison Ford try to care about things. The visual style is "here is another documentary," but when the subject is just a fun pop culture thing, that's not necessarily a bad thing.

  • Wheels on Meals

    Wheels on Meals

    ★★★★½

    I highly prefer this to MEALS ON WHEELS, which is a nice service that feeds the homebound elderly but is woefully lacking in fight scenes.

    WHEELS ON MEALS is a blast!  The comedy is funny, the stunts are great, and the fights are well done.  People talk about Jackie’s final fight against Benny The Jet a lot, but what about Yuen Biao flipping around on couches to get away from that Fantasy Island-looking guy?

    And it was a great idea to set a Chinese martial arts production in Barcelona.  It really gave the movie a unique feel.

    Just a wealth of charming Hong Kong fun.

  • The Big Gundown

    The Big Gundown

    ★★★★

    I watched the 95-minute English version, just to hear Lan Van Cleef’s velvet tone, but I think the longer Italian version will feel even better!

    The suspense is fun and the chemistry between the two leads is fantastic.  At one point a guy brings a knife to a gun fight and does pretty well, much to the surprise of Sean Connery’s character from THE UNTOUCHABLES.

  • Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

    Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

    ★½

    I don't know what the fuck this story was about, but I do know that there are not NEARLY enough swordfights for a movie that is both three hours long and wastes Chow-Yun Fat.

  • The Night Comes for Us

    The Night Comes for Us

    ★★★★★

    After watching MORTAL KOMBAT waste Joe Taslim, I wanted to see Joe Taslim waste everyone else. With his bare hands. And a pool ball. And a meathook in their taint.

    Don't be fooled by the slasher-movie levels of blood here: THE NIGHT COMES FOR US is a martial arts movie. There are tons of great fights, all shot well, and every fight has at least one "oh shit!" moment. Also, the obligatory "lady fight scene" doesn't really feel obligatory at all, and deals some of the craziest damage in the whole film! When Julie Estelle casually _____ off her own ______ I scream every time.

  • Mortal Kombat

    Mortal Kombat

    ★★½

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

    It is 2021. No one is dumb enough to need an origin story to accept Sub-Zero. He's a ninja with ice powers who wears blue because ice is blue. Got it. We didn't need to see Chewbacca choose his bandolier and we don't need to see Scorpion choose his knife-hook deal.

    Also, it is 2021. There has been enough of a resurgence in well-filmed action and martial arts that your movie ABOUT MARTIAL ARTISTS should have clear long takes with…