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: “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

Film Review: “ELVIS” (2022)

“I’m no trickster.”

Rock-A-Doodle (1991)

Tom Hanks is a slimy, Thanos-level threat to the godlike Elvis in a superheroic, energetic, and overly glossy take on the musical biopic genre. Baz Luhrmann Baz Luhrmanns this thing to the moon.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “Somehow, Nightmare Alley is the critical companion piece to Elvis, lending dark background to the carnie villain’s play on our dear King.”

Film Review: “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” (2022)

“Yeah, Nic Cage smooches good!”

A wild, fittingly over the top and touching entry into the same self-aware genre that Being John Malkovich and JCVD exist in, with the added benefit of Nicolas Cage’s branded energy and a beautiful chemistry between him and Pedro Pascal.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “I pretty much said it in 2017 and I’ll say it now: Paddington 2 is a perfect film. Croods 2 is also pretty good.”

Film Review: “Ambulance” (2022)

“People still rob banks?”

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)

A sweat-drenched old school action movie that doubles as a delicious self-parody by auteur Michael Bay. I really just want to talk about the sweat, though. Starting in the second third of the film, buckets of sweat pour out of the screen onto the audience. From Gyllenhaal, from Abdul-Mateen II, from the city of Los Angeles itself. There is no stopping it, there is no escaping it. If you see this movie, you will be sweated upon. I asked a theater employee and they told me it’s a fundamental part of the glistening experience. Five stars.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “Who gave Michael Bay drones and why didn’t they give them to him sooner?”

Film Review: “Morbius” (2022)

“Not that kind of vampire.”

The Little Things (2021)

There’s a bit of welcome schlocky Hammer Horror in this new entry into the Spider-Man adjacent genetic anti-hero Sony Playstation Universe (SAGASPU), but not nearly enough. It’s all so suitably hammy and self-serious, but more blood, more horror, and choosing Buffy the Vampire Slayer style prosthetics over CGI would have really sold it. Still, if you dig the weird, messy vibes of Venom and like Matt Smith stealing the spotlight from people, you will find something to enjoy.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “I still stand by my Venom 2 review where I said there is plenty of room for these janky 90s/early 00s style comic book movies amidst the cinematic universes, destined to be played on FX until the end of time. For the bored children. For the drunk bar patrons. For the tired vacationers. For the people, damn it.”

Film Review: “Jujutsu Kaisen 0” (2021)

“That’s dark.”

Escape From New York (1981)

Mostly avoids the anime show-to-movie trope of feeling like a few episodes of the series strung together and introduces a fascinating new character with a crushing story to that whole Jujutsu Kaisen anime thing that’s going on. More importantly, did you see how Gojo’s eyes shimmered?? Most of the extra budget went into enhancing Gojo’s incredible eyes. He was looking right at me, I swear.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “My favorite character is Panda because Panda.”

Film Review: “Turning Red” (2022)

Psycho (1960)

The toxic, generational trauma cycle is once again broken by an overburdened child in this wonderful, high-energy, anime referencing coming of age Pixar movie. It will make a fine double feature with Encanto, for when you really want to dig into some older folks beginning to understand they’re not the main character and should just chillax.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “The Ranma 1/2, Sailor Moon, and general anime references and aesthetic are out of control in the best way possible. It is a peak 2002 anime kid childhood right there on screen.”

Film Review: “The Batman” (2022)

“Me? I’m vengeance.”

A wet, stylish film noir that gives the Batman character a long overdue big screen, slow burn detective story. Flashlights are held. Mood is thick. It begins on Halloween, it never stops raining and, yes, they slapped some voiceovers on the thing.

I wouldn’t call it any darker or grittier than Nolan or Snyder’s takes, just more… Chinatown. If anything, that gives it a quirkier tone than our previous modern takes because it’s really hamming it up with the genre at points. It’s also concerned with the sheer privilege of Batman and Bruce Wayne in a refreshing way, juxtaposing him against those who didn’t have the luxuries of money (even being Batman is a luxury) in the aftermath of loss.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “Not to make anyone jealous, but I have more followers on Twitter than The Paul Dano Riddler.”

Film Review: “Marry Me” (2022)

“We met at a concert.”

Cars 4 (2028)

The grand resurrection of the studio rom-com for theaters that’s also streaming on Peacock. A charming Notting Hill redux with leads just as magnetic (surprisingly so) that feels like a John Carney movie. A winning, self aware love story for that hot 50 year old in all of us.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “Jimmy Fallon shines as Jimmy Fallon, a fucking scoundrel and secondary villain accurately portraying the culpability of media in the diminishing of humanity as the cost of celebrity.”