Friday, February 23, 2024

'578 Magnum' (2023) Movie Review

Alexandre Nguyen looking dour.
There’s nothing quite like watching a movie missing much of the connective tissue between scenes to make you appreciate that facet that so often goes unnoticed and underappreciated. You may not always recognize the work it does, but holy hell, do you miss it when it’s gone. And that is a big, big problem with Vietnamese writer/director Luong Dinh Dung’s 578 Magnum. The film is, however, Vietnam’s official Oscar entry for 2023, and though there are definite highpoints, there are also gargantuan problems to skirt.

Friday, February 16, 2024

'Lights Out' (2024) Movie Review

Mekhi Phifer hugging Frank Grillo
Lights Out knows what you came to see. (And it's not the horror Lights Out.)You came to see Frank Grillo throw down. And throw down he does. Constantly. It’s also precisely the movie it advertises itself as, and while your mileage may vary, if this is your thing, this is very much your thing. It begins with a tactical running battle and moments later there’s a bar brawl. If that sounds like a good time, you’re in luck.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

'Land Of Bad' (2024) Movie Review

Hems-pocalypse Now!
In Land of Bad, Liam Hemsworth plays Kinney, an inexperienced communications officer embedded on an op with a hardened Delta Force team. Unqualified and in far over his head, he’s only there because he was the only one around for an urgent, last minute rescue mission. The reason Kinney was around when duty called? Because he missed a flight. He missed a flight because he had diarrhea. 

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

'Restore Point' (2023) Movie Review

a detective and a corpse
What if you could save your life at a certain point and, if you die unexpectedly, can then reset to that moment, like a video game? That’s the general idea of director Robert Hloz’s Restore Point, a slice of dystopian sci-fi. A solid, sturdy neo-noir, the film combines a twisting mystery and cool world building with an intriguing idea that plays something like Chinatown by way of Minority Report, both thematically and aesthetically. 

Friday, February 2, 2024

'She Is Conann' (2023) Movie Review

“Let me tell you about the days of high adventure.” If your first impulse upon hearing this line from Conan the Barbarian was to giggle and go, “heh, high,” then have we got something for you. While you don’t necessarily need to be high to watch Bertrand Mandico’s She is Conann—and to suggest it can only be enjoyed or appreciated while on drugs denigrates a rowdy, curious slice of experimental cinema—it certainly won’t damage the experience should the viewer be a slight bit elevated. This seriously has future cult-fave midnight movie stamped all over it.

Friday, January 26, 2024

'Miller's Girl' (2024) Movie Review

Martin Freeman flirting with Jenna Ortega

Say what you will about writer/director Jade Halley Bartlett’s debut feature, Miller’s Girl, and we’ll get to that in a moment, this movie truly understands the cinematic power of cigarettes. Smoking looks cool and dammit, people look hot smoking—even if I don’t want to be around them afterward. Something as seemingly innocuous as offering a light becomes encoded with erotic subtext, they’re an excuse for characters to isolate themselves and break apart from the prying eyes of the crowd and exchange secrets, or hell, they offer an excuse for the camera to linger on a character’s mouth. 

Thursday, January 18, 2024

'I.S.S.' (2024) Movie Review

Ariana DeBose is an astronaut.
The hardest movies to write about are the ones that are fine, the ones that are just kind of okay. Where there’s nothing specifically wrong with them, where there aren’t glaring, slap-you-in-the-face flaws or problems, but also where there’s nothing particularly engaging, memorable, or otherwise noteworthy. And that is the exact place where director Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s extraplanetary thriller I.S.S. lives. It has a strong cast doing solid work, seamless special effects, and a decent amount going for it. But the finished product is little more than a shrug and there’s not much to say beyond, “It’s fine.”