Category: Movies

1998, Movies

Dead Man on Campus (1998, Alan Cohn)

This is a very dumb movie with a very dumb plot which I was apparently very much in the mood for – I was drinking… – but which succeeds as much as it does due to its heavy reliance on jokes and also a very good sense of “Wasn’t college the best?” nostalgia which, having …

1968, Movies

Chronik der Anna Magdalena Bach (1968, Danièle Huillet, Jean-Marie Straub)

I’ve spent much of my adult life cultivating an interest in movies made before I was born and so I have a high tolerance, for someone my age, for the slower rhythms of past films. (I have watched so many old movies in part because i really want to know where things come from, but …

2019, Movies

Captain Marvel (2019, Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck)

As I have noted with Marvel movies, I only ever read X Men and related comics, so I have no skin in the game of whether or not Captain Marvel should be a man. But a quick Wikipedia search reveals that it’s not so controversial as some made it seem. But make no mistake, this …

2017, Movies

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017, Jon Watts)

I hate reboots. There are perhaps few things I hate more than reboots than reboots of reboots. And yet, I must admit, this one works. And it works way better than expected. This film is, for me, one of the top 3 MCU movies. It might be the best, actually. Very minor spoilers if you …

2008, Movies

A Christmas Tale (2008, Arnaud Desplechin)

The way I watch older movies is I go through my ridiculously long 90-page list and see what I can watch on Netflix or borrow from the library. I rarely remember why I added them. That can lead to some pretty hilarious misunderstandings when I added something I really didn’t mean to. Or, as in …

2012, Movies

Chronicle (2012, Josh Trank)

This is a pretty great idea, though hardly a new one, which is marred a great deal by the found footage conceit, which feels stupid and completely of its time. One wonders if they could only get the film made because of how trendy found footage was in the aughts. SPOILERS

1985, Movies

A Chorus Line (1985, directed by Richard Attenborough)

I don’t really know what to do here: I’ve never seen the stage show, as musicals aren’t really my thing, and there are lots of people who will tell you the movie is inferior to the show. On the other hand, I understand why the show was a big deal, because I watched this movie.

2015, Movies

A Christmas Horror Story (2015, Grant Harvey, Steven Hoban, Brett Sullivan)

This should really be called Christmas Horror Stories as it’s sort of an omnibus film, featuring four different stories, which take place in the same town but not in the same universe. That sounds confusing, doesn’t, it? SPOILERS

2019, Movies

The Laundromat (2019, Steven Soderbergh)

This is a bizarre, episodic and extremely stagey attempt to make the Panama Papers scandal more accessible and therefore of greater concern to the average American. It is a giant mess and only sporadic laughs and an excellent cast keep – and the film’s noble intentions – keep me from panning it. SPOILERS

2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, Movies

Riley’s Best Films of the 2010s

I am an avid movie watcher. I have seen something like 5,000 movies in my life as well as countless hours of movie-quality TV. But my pace has slowed somewhat in the last decade, as life has gotten in the way. Moreover, because I see so few movies in theatres outside of my annual TIFF …

2016, Movies

Christine (2016, Antonio Campos)

This is an excellent film about the person behind an infamous moment in US television history. It’s a drama with a great sense of place, an excellent cast and a really strong lead performance. I recommend you watch it but I also recommend that if you are interested in watching this film and don’t know …

2019, Movies

Knives Out (2019, Rian Johnson)

For someone like me, there are few things more pleasing than a really well-done genre film. But genre conventions can be pretty tired, so that one thing that is more pleasing than that, is a genre crossover that really works. For me, comedy is often the most reliable genre to mashup. (I am a big …

2012, Movies

China Heavyweight (2012, Yung Chang)

Basically the Chinese boxing equivalent of Hoop Dreams, this film follows two boxing coaches and two boxers over a couple of years or so as they attempt to use boxing to get out of rural life in China and as one coach decides to come out of retirement.

2017, Movies

Logan Lucky (2017, Steven Soderbergh)

This is a very enjoyable heist comedy full of quirky performances and fun cameos. It’s a pretty silly film – some have called it a “hill billy” or “red neck” Ocean’s Eleven and the film itself calls it “Ocean’s 7-11” – but it’s pretty funny and manages to also be enjoyable as a heist movie, …

1965, Movies

Chimes at Midnight aka Falstaff (1965, Orson Welles)

Like many of Welles’ later films, the strange history of this film is almost as interesting as the movie itself. It’s the kind of saga that makes me want to read a biography of Welles though I think there’s a documentary that just came out, isn’t there? Anyway…

2017, Movies

Blade Runner 20149 (2017, Denis Villeneuve)

I’ve seen the original Blade Runner 2 or 3 times over 10 years ago but I’ve yet to be completely sold on it. Before I watched, multiple people (critics, friends) told me it was one of the best movies ever made. I liked it more the second or third viewing, but I’ve never come around …

2018, Movies

Vice (2018, Adam McKay)

With some slight reservations, I called The Big Short the most important film of its year. So, when this trailer came out, I literally said “YES!” out loud. It felt like my catnip. I normally don’t like reading much about a movie I really want to see, because I worry about how expectations affect my …

2014, Movies

Inherent Vice (2014, Paul Thomas Anderson)

I have never read this book, but I have three of his other novels, and one thing I can say about Thomas Pynchon, is that his novels strike me as unfilmable. There’s so much going on and so much of it isn’t the kind of thing that would work on the screen. I like to …