M.D.D. has written 4 reviews for films rated ★★½ during 2021.

  • Screamers

    Screamers

    I wanted to like this but despite a strong atmosphere, a handful of effective scenes and generally reliable source material (Philip K. Dick), the entire thing didn't come together very well. The narrative and exposition was clunkily handled in particular, leading to a sense of not really giving a shit what is happening on screen even when it looks kind of cool. There was also some horrendously placed musical choices to the point where it was distracting, and I stand by a lot of this mid-level budget fare of the period not benefitting at all from hi-def.

  • The Presidio

    The Presidio

    Decent thriller somewhere between an above average 80s buddy cop yarn and a more subdued procedural. The requisite love story, predictable squabbling between law enforcement egos and a couple of brief dull stretches weren't great, but the acting and a couple of strong chase scenes elevated it. I think I just really enjoy Hollywood thrillers from this era in spite of their weaknesses unless they are truly unwatchable.

  • Leviathan

    Leviathan

    Slightly above average Alien knock-off that benefits greatly from Stan Winston's creature designs and less embarrassing performances than usual for this sort of thing. Aspects of the plot remind me of the Abyss which actually came out after it, but Cameron's treatment had been kicking around in Hollywood for a few years at that point and I wouldn't be surprised if some exec decided to throw this together as competition. All that aside, if you're in the mood you could do a lot worse (Deep Star Six, Xtro, etc.)

  • Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

    Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

    Great opening and expertly photographed throughout, but the plot loses steam in the second act and the potential chemistry of the leads never fully gels. The seething sleaziness of the original was the spark that kept the material from getting too dull, and this proves that Oliver Stone doesn't flourish in the PG-13 demographic. Not terrible but could have been a lot better.