Film Review: “Infinity Pool” (2023)

“A shitty book, six years ago, that no one read”

Little Shop of Horrors (1986)

A malevolent, analog nightmare that continues last year’s horror pattern of casting our gaze on the rich. Above all, though, it illustrates the importance of supporting small writers like the main character (and me) lest they end up in a wretched crucible of events orchestrated by a member of the Cronenberg clan.

Indeed, Alexander Skarsgard is a small writer with a “shitty book, six years ago, that no one read” playing wealthy with his wife’s money, and because of this, a synthwave mix of gore, sex and The White Lotus befalls him. Read the books of the local writers in your life. You will be saving us from such a fate.

Someone has a skull tattoo and someone else gets their head bashed in, so you can see their skull. No full skeletons.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “Or perhaps we deserve such a fate. Either way:
https://nickperilli.com/cul-de-sac/.”

Film Review: “SKINAMARINK” (2023)

“Why is mommy crying?”

The Matrix (1999)

A distant, unknowable lo-fi horror about the corners, angles, and childhood shadows of our homes. An effectively terrifying detour somewhere on the path from The Blair Witch Project to Paranormal Activity. An aesthetic in which something lurks in the fuzz.

There are no skeletons.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “Someone brought a child to the showing I was in, so I wasn’t sure when the child making noise and screaming was real or onscreen. It honestly added to the experience.”

Film Review: “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” (2022)

“Don’t you know that I’m dead inside?”

Brave Fencer Musashi (1998)

There are various instances skeleton imagery and one character who becomes a skeleton in Puss in Boots: The Last Wish. Also, it’s a kinetic quest western that recaptures some of that Shrek 2 magic in the franchise and provides yet another gorgeous showcase for DreamWorks’ new, superior, and anime-inspired 2D/3D animation style.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “The connections to Shrek are more concrete than in the last one, to say the least, so perhaps Shrek 5 is looming on the horizon. Sorry, I mean 5hrek

Film Review: “Avatar: The Way of Water” (2022)

Hamlet (1599)

James Cameron pulls Moby Dick, Free Willy, and Chrono Cross philosophy into his sci-fantasy Fern Gully sandbox spectacle, descending back into the depths of the ocean where he belongs to tell an effective, safe story about family that looks fantastic.

Avatar: The Way of Water has only ONE skeleton, but it’s the best looking computer generated, high frame rate skeleton you’ll ever see.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “The indelible cultural footprint left by the first Avatar is people saying the first Avatar hasn’t left any indelible cultural footprint.”

Film Review: “The Fabelmans” (2022)

There IS a classic, old Hollywood style skeleton in The Fabelmans.

Also, it’s an accomplished and autobiographical recounting of events in Steven Spielberg’s life through his assured Amblin lens. An unflinching yet oddly wholesome family drama about the recipe for an artist. A “one for them, one for me” parable with an unforgettable, brilliant finale cameo.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “Seth Rogen: Homewrecker.”

Film Review: “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” (2022)

“This is your last chance to back out.”

Succession (2021)

There are no skeletons in Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.

A bigger, slightly broader yet still clever variation of the original, itself a variation of the Agatha Christie form, which is itself a variation of a variation on a variation, etc. etc. layers and onions. Daniel Craig is once again a fountain of put-on southern hokum.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “The setting and some of the shots of it are so James Bond it just had to be on purpose. Also, Angela Lansbury (spoiler) plays Among Us. It may have been the last thing she did before passing.”

Film Review: “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” (2023)

“Your brother is dead, but he isn’t gone.”

A considerate, political potboiler honoring the brilliant shadow that stands over it. A refreshing pivoted superhero origin story. The Furious 7 of the MCU.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “The opening sequence is some of the most emotional and sneakily meta filmmaking that I’ve seen in a long while. I can’t imagine we’ll ever achieve the heights of emotion present in the first ten minutes in the MCU ever again. It is powerful, for it is born from the connections we make between fiction and reality.”

Are there skeletons? No 😦

Film Review: “Vengeance” (2022)

“We don’t write anything. All we do is translate.”

A confident, profound and dark modern comedy with slick, sometimes uncomfortable ideas and an absolutely stellar performance from Ashton Kutcher.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “Novak doesn’t try to both sides too many glaring issues along political lines, instead focusing on stuff like how good chili in a bag of Fritos is, which is objectively true.”

Skeleton count: 0

Film Review: “3000 Years of Longing” (2022)

“I’m a literary scholar. We don’t know much.”

A visually arresting story about the stories we tell. A film that aptly feels like a short piece of fiction perpetually on submission at my favorite lit mags. George Miller’s romantic love letter to Idris Elba.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “My three wishes that go horribly wrong would be 1.) Immortality, 2.) Mortality when I have to watch all my loved ones die, and 3.) Free popcorn for life.”

Skeleton count: 1 juicy skeleton

Film Review: “Bodies Bodies Bodies” (2022)

“He’s a Libra moon, which says a lot!”

A fun, hyper modern Agatha Christie-esque murder mystery party in which the clever whodunit aspect is ancillary to the toxic relationships of the 20-something characters and the chiseled 40-something physique of Lee Pace.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “Pete Davidson represents my millennial generation here, finally bridging the gap between the Amandla Stenberg and Lee Pace generations.”

Skeleton count: 0