Tag: Thriller

2018, Movies

A Simple Favor (2018, Paul Feig)

This is a noirish murdery mystery/thriller with a heavy dose of comedy that feels relatively unique for these types of films. I was mostly with it until the very end and I do wonder how much of the fault for the ridiculous climax is on the novel versus on the screenplay. SPOILERS

2019, Movies

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (2019, Vince Gilligan)

Two disclaimers: First, I watched the final season of Breaking Bad quite some time ago. Not the season it premiered but whenever it found its way to Netflix, so within a year or so of its premiere. Call it 2014 ish. It’s been a while. Second, I hated the ending of Breaking Bad. But my …

2021, Movies

Saloum (2021, Jean Luc Herbulot)

My first Senegalese film (as far as I know), this is a tonally inconsistent horror movie which tries to trick you into thinking it’s something else more than once. It’s super stylized and some of my confusion with it likely stems from having never been to Africa and knowing literally nothing about this part of …

2021, Movies

Huda’s Salon (2021, Hany Abu-Assad)

This is an excellent, taut thriller about blackmail and hard choices in Palestine. It is mostly extremely well done and really worth checking out both for how it works as a movie and for its message of how hard it is to be moral in a place where you feel like you have no allies. …

1964, Movies

Woman in the Dunes [砂の女 or Suna no onna] (1964)

This is a really distinct and kind of crazy film that pairs a plot that could be in a horror film with a bit of a retelling of the story of Sisyphus. It is also, perhaps, the most incredible use of sand in a movie in film history. Very mild spoilers

2020, Movies

2020 Toronto International Film Festival

For what may be the third year in a row, I only saw 5 movies at TIFF. Every year I resolve to see more the next year but it never seems to happen. Now, this year is different, obviously. This year I watched TIFF films on my couch. And this year I only watched 5 …

2020, Movies

Nuevo orden aka New Order (2020, Michel Franco)

This is a very promising film about class conflict in Mexico that gets really confused and, for me, goes off the rails to the point where I am kind of astounded it won a Grand Jury Prize at a film festival. SPOILERS later in the review.

2018, Movies

I Still See You (2018, Scott Speer)

This is a PG-13 thriller with horror/science fiction elements which steals ideas from other movies and books, and which cannot even come up with its own vocabulary for its internal world. Had I been less tired when I watched it, I no doubt would have figured out who the main bad guy was immediately, simply …

2019, Movies

The 2019 Toronto International Film Festival

Once again I only saw 5 movies this year. As with previous years, the reason for that will become apparent in a month or so. But, as usual, we managed to do a pretty good job picking movies and only saw movie I wouldn’t recommend seeing, which is a pretty good ratio.

2019, Movies

Incitement (2019, Yaron Zilberman)

This is a nearly flawless dramatization of the radicalization of the man who assassinated Yitzhak Rabin in 1995. It is apparently the film time a film has been made about the assassination, likely because of how raw the wound still is 25 years later. But I would say that this is absolutely the film to …

2016, Movies

Deepwater Horizon (2016, Peter Berg)

Peter Berg excels at a kind of hyper competence, where his films are technically extremely well made and impressive but which lack subtext or critical thinking. I often hate his films even though I have to grant that they always have exceptional production values. But this one is (a little) different. I think this is …

2019, Movies

Mano de obra [aka Workforce] (2019, David Zonana)

This a very well-made, fascinating drama about manual labourers in Mexico City which threatens to become a thriller but consistently subverts your expectations and ends up having more in common with classical tragedy. It’s a debut, so I was very wary of choosing to see it, but this is a remarkably self-assured film. I strongly …

2009, Movies

Cellule 211 (2009, Daniel Monzon)

The “good guy in a bad place” (i.e. a hero stuck in a prison) is a tired story for many reasons, but perhaps the most annoying aspect is that, usually, Our Hero is recently arrived (in this case, in the prison) and yet, somehow, manages to befriend the/a leader immediately. It’s so dumb and such …

2018, Movies

The Standoff at Sparrow Creek (2018, Henry Dunham)

This is a very stagey film – so stagey you’d think it was a play – that overcomes that limitation by being expertly made, even though it is Dunham’s first time directing a feature. (It’s a miraculous debut, in terms of Dunham’s ability to film and edit – I would sworn this was not a …

2018, Movies

Hold the Dark (2018, Jeremy Saulnier)

Expectations are an awful thing. I have seen and enjoyed every previous feature film Jeremy Saulnier has made. At some point I was going to see one I didn’t like. I’m not saying I didn’t like this, exactly, but I’m definitely struggling with it in ways I didn’t struggle with his previous two movies, and …

2018, Movies

The Realm aka El reino (2018, Rodrigo Sorogoyen)

This is a deeply flawed but otherwise pretty incredible thriller about white collar political corruption in Spain. The good aspects of it are so good that I really want to overlook the massive problems – such as the run-time – but I don’t think I can. Let’s put it this way: for 2/3rds of this …

Uncategorized

The Accountant (2016, Gavin O’Connor)

This is a kind of bizarre hybrid of an action movie with a serial killer-style crime investigation combined with forensic accounting – yes, I know how that sounds – that is surprisingly effective much of the time, but has some massive flaws that keep it from really working. Mild Spoilers

2015, Movies

Sicario (2015, Denis Villeneuve)

This is an extraordinarily tense and well-directed thriller about the escalation and increased militarization of the Ward on Drugs. For the most part, I really, really liked Sicario, but I struggled with something and I’m not sure whether or not it could have ended better. SPOILERS