A bloody, creative cosmic horror festival that’s fit for the archduke of nightmares. The utterly inspired Power Rangers style practical creations, characters, and deaths they’ve come up with is reason enough to watch it, the fact that it’s hilarious is a glorious bonus.
My VHS cover pull-quote: “Spirits of the Electroverse, I’m going to be saying ‘Spirits of the Electroverse’ any time I talk to my TV which is quite a lot, actually. It’s one of my best friends.”
“Even the weakest ghost can possess cheese easily, due to the living bacteria in the cheese.”
A sweet, fresh gem of a supernatural Irish comedy that you should watch over and over again until you vomit ectoplasm.
My VHS cover pull-quote: “This is one of those movies where a VHS cover pull-quote fits right in with the aesthetic of the film, putting a lot of weight on these VHS cover pull-quotes — elevating them, even. Like Be Kind, Rewind or V/H/S. Well, I can’t handle that weight at all. I’m buckling under it! Just see the movie! It’s one of the most charming films I’ve seen in a long time, grabbing your attention with a fine mix of Ghostbusters style antics and small bursts of bloody fun, but keeping it with the well-drawn characters and lo-fi aesthetic. Oh, shit. I did it!”
“The bottom line is, we’re all prisoners of the universe.”
An endearing, gorgeous, at times hilarious and weird epic that’s as concerned with the journeys of its central characters as it is with the hyper development and modernization of a country.
My VHS cover pull-quote: “Being a low-tier member in a group of gangsters seems pretty chill, for the most part, and it may lead to a cinematic journey of soul searching for me and my destined counterpart so I fully support it as a career path.”
“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?”
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.”
And with that line that has appeared in a myriad of other films like it, the ball begins to roll in Jeff Nichols’s straight sci-fi effort. In many ways, Midnight Special feels like Spielberg making Cameron’s The Abyss, and I can’t imagine anyone would (nor should) take that as a criticism. But Nichols has obviously taken many cues from directors before him here, even if his rural Americana vibe and affection present in Take Shelter and Mud (both “better” films) remains intact. Most everything works, though. The kid has an apt young-Culkin quality to him, the plot is indeed soulful, and the effects are just understated enough. Plus, the actors — Michael Shannon in particular (as always) — really help sell everything that’s happening.
My VHS cover quote: “Not since Star Wars VII has there been a science fiction film featuring Adam Driver.”
“Whatif all those things I did were the things that led me here?”
A journey of self-discovery as successful as the memoir on which it’s based thanks to the hyper-focused, personal narrative and a grounded performance by Reese Witherspoon, who is completely game for everything from selling the laborious journey of self-discovery to making everyone cringe when she rips off her prop toenail.
My VHS cover pull-quote: “Simon and Garfunkel’s El Condor Pasa features as a sort of theme of the film, reflecting Cheryl’s journey and feelings throughout, which would very much be an intelligent observation I made if I hadn’t read it in an article before seeing the movie so that I could sound smart to you and all my friends. In short, I’m a fraud.”
“…but you are only quite a little fellow in a wide world after all.”
As good an ending as one could expect from the overlong, flawed, but — you know what? — still endearing trilogy of films. While it should have been a duology, what happened happened and this is what we have. So let’s all just chill out and hang with Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, an aggressively digital Billy Connolly and company.
My VHS cover pull-quote: “Lord of the what? Return of the who? Oh, right. Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, the crowning achievement in a trilogy of crowning achievements. Yeah, this isn’t as good as that, but it isn’t terrible and Middle Earth is always a fun place to visit.”