James Cameron pulls Moby Dick, Free Willy, and Chrono Cross philosophy into his sci-fantasy Fern Gully sandbox spectacle, descending back into the depths of the ocean where he belongs to tell an effective, safe story about family that looks fantastic.
Avatar: The Way of Water has only ONE skeleton, but it’s the best looking computer generated, high frame rate skeleton you’ll ever see.
My VHS cover pull-quote: “The indelible cultural footprint left by the first Avatar is people saying the first Avatar hasn’t left any indelible cultural footprint.”
There IS a classic, old Hollywood style skeleton in The Fabelmans.
Also, it’s an accomplished and autobiographical recounting of events in Steven Spielberg’s life through his assured Amblin lens. An unflinching yet oddly wholesome family drama about the recipe for an artist. A “one for them, one for me” parable with an unforgettable, brilliant finale cameo.
My VHS cover pull-quote: “Seth Rogen: Homewrecker.”
Hey that’s the name of the movie! A well journeyed road trip romance between two young people who just happen to need to eat human flesh. That added horror wrinkle enhances the proceedings considerably, as does the fascinating work done by all involved. Could it be a metaphor for drug use? Sure, but that cheapens the thing a bit. It cheapens Michael Stuhlbarg’s quick, uncomfortable turn as an overalls wearing cannibal creep! Instead, I’ll say it’s about desire in all ita forms.
My VHS cover pull-quote: “The central couple aren’t quite Hannibal and Will Graham, but the chemistry is almost there.”
There are enough bones and mention of bones in the movie to say that yes, there are skeletons in Bones and All.
There are no skeletons in Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.
A bigger, slightly broader yet still clever variation of the original, itself a variation of the Agatha Christie form, which is itself a variation of a variation on a variation, etc. etc. layers and onions. Daniel Craig is once again a fountain of put-on southern hokum.
My VHS cover pull-quote: “The setting and some of the shots of it are so James Bond it just had to be on purpose. Also, Angela Lansbury (spoiler) plays Among Us. It may have been the last thing she did before passing.”
A considerate, political potboiler honoring the brilliant shadow that stands over it. A refreshing pivoted superhero origin story. The Furious 7 of the MCU.
My VHS cover pull-quote: “The opening sequence is some of the most emotional and sneakily meta filmmaking that I’ve seen in a long while. I can’t imagine we’ll ever achieve the heights of emotion present in the first ten minutes in the MCU ever again. It is powerful, for it is born from the connections we make between fiction and reality.”
“No one has lived in the past and no one will live in the future.”
An oh-so French, oh-so 1960s work of dystopic Westworldish science fiction that is strikingly minimalist and abstract in the depiction of its world, using modernist architecture to effectively insinuate the future instead of build it outright.
My VHS Cover Pull-quote: Even old dystopian French movies make me feel better, more cultured than everyone else.”
“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.”
A visually arresting story about the stories we tell. A film that aptly feels like a short piece of fiction perpetually on submission at my favorite lit mags. George Miller’s romantic love letter to Idris Elba.
My VHS cover pull-quote: “My three wishes that go horribly wrong would be 1.) Immortality, 2.) Mortality when I have to watch all my loved ones die, and 3.) Free popcorn for life.”
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.”
“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.”