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"Could've been worse, could've been better."
3 stars
Rob Gonsalves says... "Why did "Aquaman" — whose hero was once a laughing stock among nerds and mundanes alike — become an ATM to the tune of $1.15 billion last Christmas? I have a theory." (more)
"The Windmills Of His Mind"
5 stars
Peter Sobczynski says... "Whatever else one might have to say about the current state of contemporary cinema, one has to feel some small degree of excitement at the recent appearance of legendary titles that many observers figured that they would never actually see in their lifetime. Last fall saw the release of Orson Welles’s infamous “The Other Side of the Wind,” a work that had gone unseen for decades for numerous complicated reasons. Last week saw the kickoff of the release of “Amazing Grace,” a stunning concert film featuring Aretha Franklin that was shot in 1972 and shelved, first for technical reasons and then, once those were finally deal with, because Franklin inexplicably refused to sign off on its release. At this point, if the announcement of this year’s Cannes lineup included the world premiere of “The Day the Clown Cried,” I wouldn’t be half-surprised. The latest infamous title to finally arrive in theaters (however briefly, as we shall see) is “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote,” a passion project that Terry Gilliam, whose difficulties in getting his films made over the years have been so pronounced that even those who don’t believe in curses may find themselves wondering if there is a voodoo doll out there with his name on it." (more)
"Basic but enjoyable cop-and-corruption action."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "Just as some television shows don't hit their stride until their second season, film series may take a while to properly settle in, and that's what seems to have happened here - the lackluster "Z Storm" had a decent follow-up, but things clicked into place for the third entry in the series last year ago, with "P Storm" roughly on that level. It's a solidly entertaining bit of cops-and-corruption action that may not be terribly ambitious but runs like a well-oiled machine, giving the audience what it wants with a little bit of style." (more)
"Of course, that's not all that matters."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT THE 2018 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: Somewhere in "What a Man Wants" is a really delightful farce that knows what to do with its female characters and plays with the dissatisfaction that everybody feels in a way that heightens both its screwball nature and possibilities. Instead, it bogs down for a while before getting to the really fun parts, and reduces interesting women to a way for the male characters to come around to something conventional." (more)
"Captain Marvel-Less"
2 stars
Peter Sobczynski says... "“Shazam!,” the latest superhero epic to spring forth from the pages of DC Comics in the hopes of challenging the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe for supremacy at the box-office, is trying to do two things at once—it is trying to be a cheerfully goofball entertainment that will stand in blessed relief to such dour recent DC efforts as “Batman vs. Superman,” “Justice League” and the abysmal “Suicide Squad” and it is trying to be an action spectacular for those who are either unfamiliar with the central character or know just enough of his backstory to look upon him as some kind of joke in comparison to the more well-established superhero characters out there. This is roughly the same position that they found themselves in a few months ago with the undersea epic “Aquaman” and while I did not care for the end result very much, I will grudgingly accept the fact that it did work for a lot of people and the sheer weirdness of the entire enterprise perhaps warrants a second look at some point down the road. In the case of “Shazam!,” however, I suspect that additional viewings will not be necessary because while “Aquaman” was strange enough to stick in the mind, there is precious little to this one that will do the same. For a film like this to work, it needs to find the right tone and stick with it throughout and while there are sporadic moments when it does just that, there are far too many other moments when it just flits about aimlessly without demonstrating any particular reason for its existence." (more)
HIGH LIFE (2019)
"An intriguing combination winds up a bit of a mismatch."
3 stars
Jay Seaver says... ""High Life" plays like the sort of science fiction movie made by people who think they're above the genre - striking to look at and packed with interesting performances and coming at certain tropes sideways with enough confidence that one doesn't want to question the logic of it too much. It's a bit better than that, certainly good enough not to be dismissed, but it's certainly the sort of art-house sf whose appearance of profundity comes as much from being aloof as from being sharp or insightful." (more)
"Solid work from the direct-to-video all-stars."
3 stars
Jay Seaver says... "A direct-to-video all-star cast doesn't sound like a huge reason to go see a movie, but there's two kinds of direct-to-video people who: Actors who have lost their box-office draw but keep working in whatever job they can get (your Eric Roberts or Bruce Willis types), and action professionals like the stars of this movie. These guys can fight on screen and are hopefully just good enough where the scenes in between are not entirely laughable, or at least the producers can afford enough action to minimize that. "Triple Threat" has the action, and thankfully it's good and frequent enough to do the job." (more)
"Gaspar Noe can't help but overindulge."
3 stars
Jay Seaver says... "Gaspar Noé just can't resist pushing it too far, can he? He's just got to looking for the edge of a movie being sexy and thrilling and dangerous and horrific to the point where some failsafe in the brain kicks in and the viewer disengages, so the thing that should have been seared into the viewer's brain is set aside as bad-boy posturing. Ah, well, "Climax" is a heck of a thing until that happens." (more)
"Last Night A Mixtape Destroyed The World"
5 stars
Peter Sobczynski says... "One of the best things about the movie reviewing gig—other than the high pay and the astonishing personal and professional respect one earns from it—is when you encounter a film about which you know nothing and made by people you have never heard of before and discover that you are in the presence of a truly original work—the kind that you could easily see future generations obsessing over one day as we do with our favorites.”Starfish” is just that kind of film, a low-budget and decidedly low-fi work from writer-director A.T. White, perhaps better known to some of you as the lead singer of the U.K band Ghostlight that is smarter, trippier and more consistently ingenious and thought-provoking than any dozen studio genre behemoths that you or I could name." (more)
"Pure cinema."
5 stars
Jay Seaver says... "Someone in my screening of "Ash Is Purest White" was repeating "oh my gawwwwwd" through the end credits and beyond, and while it was probably from the exact note the filmmaker opted to end on, it's not entirely unreasonable to presume that he was just that taken with the film as a whole. It is kind of terrific, the sort of prestige import that may wind up surprising people with just how playful it can sometimes be." (more)

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