“You put peace out in the world, you get peace back.”
A high-speed, creative force of anime energy with chill shades of Carpenter’s Big Trouble in Little China. A bottle actioner of memorable characters, Chekov’s Guns and a welcome reverence for Thomas the Tank Engine.
My VHS cover pull-quote:“The Lost City / Bullet Train Cinematic Universe begins here.”
An effective, inventive, sci-fi horror with satirical Hollywood elements that, above all, made me think about the natural universe and the grand morality of humanity’s relationship with its denizens, from the horse actors to primates to people, aliens and beyond.
My VHS cover pull-quote: “The characters probably make some of the most intelligent and genuine in-the-moment decisions in film history.”
Thor: Love & Thunder is lovable and… thunderable? It rides those good time Ragnarok vibes and adds some emotional tonal shifts to tell a story about reconnection and the care we demand of and give to others. Above all else, Natalie Portman (and Jane Foster) gets the superhero story she deserves as The Mighty Thor and the villain is a sympathetic, creepifying Christian Bale. I just wanted more of him.
My VHS cover pull-quote: “I liked it when the giant goats screamed.”
Skeleton count: 0 human skeletons, but one big alien skeleton that probably counts as like 7 human skeletons
“It doesn’t work. Not since I was a kid. Hang it up.”
The darkest rumors of our childhoods made manifest. A simple, engaging horror story crafted into a tight, capable film with, unsurprisingly, vibes of Sinister throughout. Set in a utopian 1970s in which the authorities actually believe children when they tell them about their prophetic dreams.
My VHS cover pull-quote: “I would still accept Ethan Hawke’s offer to show me a magic trick. No questions asked.”
Skeleton count: 0, but there are multiple ghost children which count as allusions to skeletons.
A Force Awakens style adventure to cap off a series rather than begin it. A blatant and unashamed appeal to our nostalgia, our thoughts and concerns made meta through Ian Malcolm’s golden voice. Dinosaurs dinosaur.
My VHS cover pull-quote: “All we needed was Dennis Nedry’s howling ghost exacting revenge on Dodgson to make this thing perfect. Was Wayne Knight busy?”
Surgery is the new sex in Cronenberg’s fleshy, analog future. Viggo Mortensen dresses as a ninja and Gollums his way through a noir setting while getting his organs removed for art. The true answer to our species’ waste problems are laid bare and autopsied.
My VHS cover pull-quote: “Cronenberg should have popped up during one of the jaw dropping surgery scenes and quoted John Wick, saying ‘People keep asking me if I’m back. Oh yeah, I’m thinking I’m back.'”
“No wife. No kids. No one to mourn you when you burn in.”
A film about my dad made for my dad and yours. For the Robert Perilli Sr. in all of us. Tom Cruise’s recognition of the passage of time. A perfect legacyquel that retains the spirit and sexy Tony Scott style shots of people giving thumbs ups and signals while planes go whirrr of the original and adds a counterpoint to the macho, dated bravado of the 1980s.
And planes go zoom!
My VHS cover pull-quote: “What would your call sign be? Rooster? Hangman? Maverick? Mine would be Rubberneck cause I’d always be looking around screaming ‘I don’t know how to fly a plane!’ I just want to design a neat helmet.”
A haunting, modern parable that begins in wtf territory and only journeys deeper into it from there. The worst behaviors of people of my gender are all shown through the lens of horror and rendered with the same face, but that doesn’t dampen the impact of what’s being said.
I was chiefly reminded of Darren Aronofsky’s Mother while watching this, in part because of the mounting wtfery but also because it’s a male director and writer telling a story that almost demands the perspective of a woman to reach its full potential. There’s definitely a conversation to be had about that.
My VHS cover pull-quote: “It’s also a bit Twilight Zone-esque, with some bits of cosmic horror seeping in. I was reminded of the TZ episode “The Invaders,” where Agnes Morehead is terrorized by little invaders that turn out to be men from Earth!”
A grounded, gorgeous contemporary fantasy about the connections between parent and child, of inner child and outer adult, of mother and daughter. I won’t pretend to be the best person to speak with any authority on the themes of motherhood at play here, but what I will say is that Céline Sciamma once again elevates a simple premise with substantial emotion and tight storytelling.
My VHS cover pull-quote: “If I met my mother’s younger self, I would probably have just talked to her about my Pokemon cards.”