Monday, January 31, 2022
On its own, a documentary about Poly Styrene, legendary vocalist of X-Ray Spex, would be a good watch. A punk pioneer and one of the few women, and even fewer women of color, in the early days of punk, her story is one of grappling with fame and influence, carving out your own place in the world, racism, misogyny, mental illness, and much more. While the new documentary, Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché, has all of that, it also presents the story different, more personal light than most music docs.
Friday, January 28, 2022
I’m not a surfer. It’s one of many, many things I’ve always wanted to try but have never actually got around to. (It doesn’t hurt I’m from a not-particularly-surfy place.) But on film, the sport shows as beautiful and serene, a perfect love letter to the majesty of nature. It’s also often harrowing and reminds us of the true power of that natural force. Bentley Dean’s new documentary, Facing Monsters, captures all this splendor, all this peril, as well as one man’s connection to the waves that runs as deep as any ocean.
Thursday, January 27, 2022
When coffee shop owner/aspiring musician Kato (Kazunari Tosa) heads to his upstairs apartment after close, he’s shocked to get a message on the TV. From himself. From two minutes in the future. This kicks off director Junta Yamaguchi’s Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes, a cascading series of sci-fi time travel antics with a crew of oddballs, like Megumi (Aki Asakura) and Ozawa (Yoshifumi Sakai), among others. They try to decipher the mystery, maybe get Kato a date, and quickly find themselves in way over their heads.
Wednesday, January 26, 2022
Meet Clean (Oscar-winner Adrien Brody). He’s a garbage man. With a past. That haunts him. And he can’t escape. It was violent. But now he just chills and keeps it low-key and looks out for local moppet Dianda (Chandler DuPont). Until bad guys happen. Then he gets all ass-kick-y and face-wrench-y. (His weapon of choice definitely appears to be a heavy pipe wrench. It even has a special padded case like a sniper rifle.)
Wednesday, January 19, 2022
War, dead Nazis, blood-drinking witches, cursed woods, spooky magic shit, mystery, just a smidge of cannibalism, Micky Rourke in a shiny eyepatch; Warhunt has a little bit of everything. And while certainly not for everyone, damn if it doesn’t kind of rule.
Monday, January 17, 2022
Awards season seriously feels like it runs half the year. It’s not quite that long, but beginning in early (and earlier every year) December and, at least the last couple years, wrapping up with the Oscars in March, it’s not short.
Thursday, January 13, 2022
When reclusive tech millionaire Chris Decker (Cameron Monaghan, Gotham) goes shopping late one night he has a chance encounter with former model Sky (Lilly Krug) at the supermarket. At least he thinks it’s chance encounter. Chris and Sky fall into a hot, passionate love affair, and you know what they say about things that look too good to be true. So begins Shattered, the latest film from director Luis Prieto (Kidnap) and writer David Loughery (Lakeview Terrace, Passenger 57).
Monday, January 10, 2022
2021 was, as usual, a great year for movies. They always are, even if the moviegoing and movie watching experience looks different for most people these days. (I watched 300+ movies for the first time this year, 11 in theaters.) But now that the calendar has turned, it’s time to look forward to our most anticipated movies of 2022.
Thursday, January 6, 2022
The big hook for The 355 is the insane cast. Director Simon Kinberg assembled an epic level of talent that includes Jessica Chastain, Lupita Nyong’o, Diane Kruger, Penelope Cruz, Bingbing Fan, Sebastian Stan, Edgar Ramirez, and Jason Flemyng, all chasing after a MacGuffin box in a globetrotting spy caper. And the result it wildly just okay.
Tuesday, January 4, 2022
Home invasion stories are a staple of the horror and thriller genres. It’s well-worn, oft-trod territory, but when handled well, still offers an effective avenue for tension, pressure, and terror. Randall Okita’s See for Memay not lay any fresh tracks, but it does deliver a tight, impactful, efficient thriller, one with enough unique hooks and unexpected turns to set it well apart from the pack.
Monday, January 3, 2022
It’s that time of year again, where I hem and haw about making a best-of 2021 (or whatever year it happens to be) list only to ultimately relent and do the thing. So here, as per usual, are my favorite films of the past 12 months.