Category Archives: Action/Thriller

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Bodies Bodies Bodies (2022) Movie Review

Bodies Bodies Bodies, on its surface, is a movie I should instantly fall in love with. It is a light horror comedy riff on the whodunit with a cast so stacked with great young talent that I almost couldn’t believe it when it was announced. Drop the cherry on top that it is an A24 picture, and my fears that this was a half-thought-out satire churned out as a genre programmer went out the window.

Churned out genre programmer Bodies Bodies Bodies is not. As for the satire, I must admit I was unimpressed. Early buzz from critics and audiences alike is Continue reading Bodies Bodies Bodies (2022) Movie Review

Review: Punta Sinistra — Fantasia Festival 2022

Director Renaud Gauthier came into my radar with the 2019 film Aquaslash, a bare-bones slasher film taking place in a water park where a serial killer has inserted large blades inside of a water slide. It appeared to me that Aquaslash was the sort of movie that hearkened back lovingly to the B-movie slashers of the day. The problem was that the film was not well-made in its own right, so instead of coming off as a B-movie homage it came off as a purposeful attempt at the “so bad it’s good” variety (emphasis on the bad). At the very least, Aquaslash was good for a few cheap laughs.

Gauthier’s newest feature, Punta Sinistra, is an ultra low-budget crime film set in Mexico. From its protagonist’s half-baked voiceover, it feels like Gauthier is going for a neo-noir vibe. This hero, a journalist from Canada, travels to the island of “Punta Sinistra” to investigate a Continue reading Review: Punta Sinistra — Fantasia Festival 2022

2022 Fantasia Festival Movie Reviews — Shin Ultraman, Country Gold, Give Me Pity!

Shin Ultraman, Country Gold, and Give Me Pity! are screening as part of the 2022 Fantasia International Film Festival, which runs from July 14 – August 3.

Shin Ultraman

Shin Ultraman is the second Toho Pictures reboot of classic characters to be written by Neon Genesis Evangelion creator Hideaki Anno, with a third film planned. And Shin Ultraman immediately comes across as a sibling to the 2016 Shin Godzilla, with its Continue reading 2022 Fantasia Festival Movie Reviews — Shin Ultraman, Country Gold, Give Me Pity!

2022 Fantasia Festival Movie Reviews — Popran, The Roundup

The Roundup and Popran are screening as part of the 2022 Fantasia International Film Festival, which runs from July 14 – August 3.

The Roundup

The Roundup is the sequel to the fan favorite The Outlaws from 2017. Admittedly, I have not seen this first film, but one hardly needs to to get invested in Continue reading 2022 Fantasia Festival Movie Reviews — Popran, The Roundup

2022 Fantasia Festival Movie Reviews — Swallowed, Special Delivery, Employee of the Month

Swallowed, Special Delivery, and Employee of the Month are screening as part of the 2022 Fantasia International Film Festival, which runs July 14 – August 3.

Swallowed

Benjamin (Cooper Koch) is moving away to Los Angeles to pursue a career in the adult entertainment industry. During their final night together, he and his best friend Dom (Jose Colon) tie one on, culminating in a surprise Continue reading 2022 Fantasia Festival Movie Reviews — Swallowed, Special Delivery, Employee of the Month

The Witch: Part 2. The Other One (2022) Movie Review

Park Hoon-jun’s The Witch: Part 1. The Subversion was a financial success upon its release in 2018, and it garnered some accolades in South Korea and beyond, particularly for its lead performer Kim Da-mi. It is altogether an exciting film, blending gritty action with more fantastical, comic book adjacent tropes (the medical experiments central to the premise are similar to the Weapon X program of X-Men lore). For its reported budget of US $5.5 million, the film looks slick. It’s a fun time.

The Witch: Part 2. The Other One does some typical sequel things. Namely, it expands the world of this story. The Subversion is predominantly concerned with the narrative of Ja-yoon (Kim), an adopted young woman whose past catches up to her. Her unique abilities and ailments point backwards to her origin as the victim of a medical experiment. We follow her Continue reading The Witch: Part 2. The Other One (2022) Movie Review

Top Gun: Maverick (2022) Movie Review

When I went to see Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, I was more excited by the “extended look” at Top Gun: Maverick than I was by the movie I had come to the theater to see. The ad was the dogfight training montage sequence that occurs early in the film, in which Tom Cruise’s Maverick hunts the helpless young Top Gun graduates with an all-out aerial assault, all set to the tune of The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again.”

It is a cracker jack sequence, very exciting and well-edited. Within the context of the film, you realize that the joke of the sequence—that the first person to get “shot down” by Mav has to do 200 push-ups—doesn’t track across the entire montage. For some reason, the rules change halfway through the montage so that everyone who gets shot down by Mav has to do push-ups. But as an isolated sequence where the rules are not very important, it is a superb set piece.

This ad was the first time I felt genuinely excited for Top Gun: Maverick. Sitting in the theater for this sequel, coming 36 years after Tony Scott’s original, I soon realized that Continue reading Top Gun: Maverick (2022) Movie Review

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022) Movie Review

In my review for Spider-Man: No Way Home, I didn’t call it superhero fatigue that fueled my lack of enthusiasm for Marvel. It was ambivalence. No greater evidence do I need for this ambivalence than meeting the trailer for a movie directed by Sam Raimi, one of my favorite directors, called Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness with a resolute shrug of the shoulders.

The very premise of this movie should boggle the mind. A superhero sorcerer from Marvel comics with a sentient cape and a young woman trying to control her power to jump between universes are tasked with stopping Continue reading Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022) Movie Review

The Northman (2022) Movie Review

I think Robert Eggers is one of the most fascinating American filmmakers working today. The Witch is my favorite horror movie of the 2010s. It was an accomplished debut. Instead of going down the road of the “horror auteur,” though, Eggers turned to something more experimental in The Lighthouse, a film which sits unsteadily on the boundaries of multiple genres (I would call it a psychological horror fantasy dramedy sea shanty fever dream, maybe).

Now, with The Northman, Eggers forays into a Viking action adventure film which mixes revenge drama with Continue reading The Northman (2022) Movie Review

Deep Water (2022) Movie Review

Deep Water, following a rocky release schedule hampered by the Covid-19 pandemic, finally landed on Hulu this weekend. It is a less-than steamy erotic thriller from Adrian Lyne, a director known for his work in the genre (most notably the 1987 film Fatal Attraction). The film is Lyne’s first crack at directing in 20 years, and it stars former couple Ana de Armas and Ben Affleck as spouses whose marriage is on the rocks.

Vic (Affleck), a retired microchip engineer, has tolerated a tacit agreement with Melinda (de Armas) in which she escapes their passionless marriage by making “friends” with a few local bachelors. Her flirtations and flings are Continue reading Deep Water (2022) Movie Review