Film Review: “Rififi” (1955)

Rafifi (1955)

“We don’t bet promises here.”

A critical and influential entry in the heist film genre that I only saw 65 years too late (as my father always said, not being born yet is no excuse). Were it not for the sour taste of aggressive misogyny in one or two scenes, I’d say this is a timeless classic heist expertly crafted in that heavy French style. But I can’t say it’s timeless because the 50s were kinda garbage. Way to go, 50s. You blew it.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “The heist scene is truly something to behold and had me reevaluating all the other heist movies I’ve seen in my life. If you haven’t seen it, go look it up on YouTube and watch it alone. I unexpectedly blurted out ‘Fuck you, George Clooney!’ right after it finished. It was like a sudden reflex. I’m wondering if you will do the same.”

Film Review: “The Trip to Greece” (2020)

“Do you want to continue?”

A fitting ending to a series of consistent comedy returns that finally nails the tonal dance routine they’ve been doing since The Trip.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “My partner says our relationship is exactly like Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon’s in these movies, but I say that’s absurd. We don’t have nearly the amount of sexual chemistry that they do.”

Film Review: “Scoob” (2020)

“It gets weirder.”

Less of a Scooby-Doo feature than it is an unabashedly out there and weird all-star Avengers-style Hanna-Barbera extravaganza that’s just centered around Scoob and Shag. It mostly works, though, despite too many pop culture references and modern music cues. Yes, there’s a Hex Girls easter egg. And don’t worry, Hanna-Barbera superfans, Magilla Gorrila makes a small appearance.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island is still the best Scooby-Doo movie because that’s when shit got real for the gang and for me. Scooby Doo, Mystery Inc. is the best Scooby-Doo TV show because that’s just some damn fine cartoon storytelling. Scoob! is probably the best Wacky Races episode of all time.”

Film Review: “Extra Ordinary” (2019)

“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!”

Film Review – “Ash is Purest White” (2019)

“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.”

Film Review: “Onward” (2020)


“Long ago, there was wonder…”

A fantastic enough questy comedy about brothers, a van, father legs, sons, overcoming loss, and family, featuring some pretty solid D&D references throughout.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “Disney and Pixar put out Cars 2 for money, certainly, but also so that when something like Onward or The Good Dinosaur comes out, which are high quality but not UP or Coco or Wall-E levels of high quality, people will say, “well, it’s not Cars 2 so that’s nice.”

Film Review: “Emma” (2020)

“[scoff]”

A most agreeable adaptation of one of Austen’s more complex protagonists. As lavish and capable of a production as is due, with prim and eccentric performances in equal measure. Quite!

My VHS cover pull-quote: “We had to watch this at home due to the virus sweeping the world and shuttering all the theatres, which sounds like something used to set the tone in a story set in the 1800s but it’s actually happening right now so it’s setting the tone for OUR story and is legit frightening. Quite!”

Film Review: “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” (2020)

“How do we know when it’s finished? | At one point, we stop.”

A romance at once somber, dreamlike, and mythic that uses the social restrictions of the period to tell a beautiful (if bittersweet) forward-thinking story. Yeah, my fave of the year so far.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “I’m just going to talk about the sound and use of music now. Prominent sound and, especially, music (all non-diegetic) only features in a few curated moments. Otherwise, we only hear the loud cracks of a fireplace or waves under the cliffs to illustrate one character’s separation from community and intimacy. When we hear music, we savor it like she does and look forward to our next opportunity to hear it. This is a mere sampling of the sensory experience Celine Sciamma and company create with this piece. Dope!”

Film Review: “Sonic the Hedgehog” (2020)

“Look what came out of my egg sac!”
 

The spirit of Sonic the Hedgehog is that of a sugar-addled me in 199x who loves Jim Carrey and this movie caters right to that loud child with Genesis blisters who is drunk on pixy stix. So, it’s another recent genuine success story in the video game movie genre.

 

My VHS cover pull-quote: “Release the freaky-ass weird looking nightmare humanoid Sonic cut!!”

Film Review: “Birds of Prey” (2020)

“And that is why you should never partake in paying federal income taxes.”

An anarchic, fringe, Gotham Grungy team-up feature that has some of the finest practical (and practical-looking) fight choreography I’ve seen since whatever John Wick we’re on now and can just have fun and say “fuck” whenever it wants.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “I just wanted more of absolutely everything—especially the teaming up. Everyone is a kick-ass, leg breaking delight with great chemistry. I also want an egg sandwich.”