Film Review: “Promising Young Woman” (2020)

“Your novel sounds terrible, by the way.”

A revenge comedy(ish) using the style and the idea of revenge as a bleak and inevitable, all-consuming force from those 70s revenge movies like Death Wish to make a clear and necessary modern statement. It sure goes places and an incredible Carey Mulligan leads us there.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “Using ‘nice guy’ actors like McLovin, Schmidt, Seth Cohen, and Piz to play these wurst guys is excellent typecasting that’s also, like, casting against type.” 

Film Review: “The Rental” (2020)

“I’m not saying we’re not going to get away with it, I’m saying I don’t want to get away with it.”

A matter-of-fact unraveling of multiple relationships that takes the long, chill road towards becoming the entry in a hallowed horror genre it ultimately wants to be.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “The main characters are like the high school kids who somehow all successfully escaped one horror movie, grew into their late 20s and 30s, then found themselves caught unawares in another horror movie.”

Film Review “She Dies Tomorrow” (2020)

“It was a nice time. That period of time we spent together.”

A midnight meditation on death that will take me some time to parse. As of right now, mere hours from having watched this in a dark, dirt lot drive-in in New Jersey with Dolittle playing on the second screen just out of sight, part of me feels like I dreamed it.

And that’s perfect.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “I know I’m probably not going to die tomorrow, but, like, well, I feel like I might now.”

Film Review: “The Climb” (2019)

“Do you remember the Blizzard of ’96?”

A buddy comedy exploring a common, toxic relationship between two guys that pulls in some Apatovian and mumblecore elements, adds a bit of genuine cinematic craft, and produces something that feels like an evolution of the genre.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “We saw this at a special Sundance premiere event in Philly, but they gave us a legit Sundance poster so in a few years I’m just going to go ahead and say we went to Sundance in 2020 and watch the jealousy roll in.”

Film Review: “A Wrinkle in Time” (2018)

“I missed you every second of every day.”

As with Disney’s last big, originalish non-remake live action movie Tomorrowland, the intention, message, and overall sentiment of A Wrinkle in Time helps to compensate for some structural problems and narrative messiness in some parts. As with all things, it succeeds most when things start getting dark and trippy. Overall, it’s an excellent adaptation of a book long thought to be unfilmable with an inspiring message of self-worth that everyone could stand to hear once in a while.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “I said it’s like Tomorrowland, but I really enjoyed Tomorrowland.”

Film Review: “Annihilation” (2018)

“Is that what you think we’re doing out here? Committing suicide?”

It plays fast and loose with the source material, but Alex Garland and company have still crafted a challenging, remarkable piece of science fiction that digs into humanity’s sense of self and asks substantial questions.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “Replicates your cells and doesn’t stop until you are something new! -Nick Perilli? Natalie Portman? Who are we? Who are any of us? What is next?”

Film Review: “Early Man” (2018)

“You haven’t eaten your primordial soup.”

Despite the American marketing team’s attempts to convince everyone otherwise, this is 100% a football/soccer sports movie about a primitive Manchester United. Even so, Early Man still has all the heart, stop motion artistry, absurdity, British tomfoolery, and general lovability of any of Aardman’s other films.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “*Various British noises*!”

Film Review: “Black Panther” (2018)

“Is this your King?”

A superhero movie with heavy 007 vibes and both narrative and emotional complexity as important in the evolution of the modern genre as last year’s Wonder Woman. The celebration and incorporation of African culture in all aspects of the film, from the setting to the memorable score, offers a more than welcome new perspective to the MCU.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “Lest we forget the trailblazer Luke Cage, though, who took the MCU to aid Harlem and later beat up many ninjas for the good of the world. With how separate the Netflix shows seem to be from the Iron Mans of it all, I doubt these two worlds will ever meet, which is a damn shame.”

Film Review: “The Post” (2018)

“No shit.”

One of Spielberg’s stirring serious swells of strings pictures, but still an important story to be told, especially right now. It often plays like an episode of The Newsroom, wearing its message on its really long sleeve that it keeps slapping you with the way kids used to do because they had small arms and their shirt used to be their big brother’s, but the film still hits the right spots at the right moments.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “Halfway through the movie, Meryl Streep broke character and addressed me personally, saying ‘Nick, literally everyone else at this theater is seeing Black Panther tonight. What are you doing here seeing this milquetoast country club shit?’ Only when I assured her and, later, Bob Odenkirk that I’d be seeing Black Panther this weekend did the picture continue. I’ve contacted Mr. Spielberg about this event during the 10:15pm showing of The Post at the United Artists’ King of Prussia, but received only a recorded message from him about how incredible Kendrick Lamar’s work on the Black Panther soundtrack is. Needless to say, I’m excited to see Black Panther in a couple days.”

Film Review: “My Friend Dahmer” (2017)

“I think we should form a Dahmer fan club.”

There is no sympathy here for (or glorification of) the cannibal serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, but there is a bit spared for Jeff Dahmer, who was a weird high school kid in need of a best friend and some hefty psychiatric care. Ultimately, this is a tragicomic coming-of-age film that’s, at times, hilarious and harrowing in equal measure.

Jeffrey Dahmer tried really hard to not become Jeffrey Dahmer.

My VHS cover pull quote: “In the context of watching this movie, I was worried that my fashionable hipster glasses might be too Dahmeresque.”