Monday, September 18, 2017

Joe Dante, part XIV: How about that? Turns out voter fraud was real!


HOMECOMING (Masters of Horror, season 1, episode 6)
2005
Directed by Joe Dante
Written by Sam Hamm (based on the short story "Death and Suffrage" by Dale Bailey)
With Jon Tenney (David Murch), Thea Gill (Jane Cleaver), and Robert Picardo (Kurt Rand)

THE SCREWFLY SOLUTION (Masters of Horror, season 2, episode 7)
2006
Directed by Joe Dante
Written by Sam Hamm (based on the short story by Alice Sheldon)
Written Kerry Norton (Anne Alstein), Jason Priestley (Alan Alstein), Elliot Gould (Barney), and Brenna O'Brien (Amy Alstein)

Spoiler alert for both: moderate

Sunday, September 10, 2017

We'll all float on all right


IT

It's a collage of random scary crap (for a liberal value of "scary," to boot) that coheres, at length, into a reasonably awesome kid's adventure in the grand old style of all the kid's adventures to which it wants to be compared: that is, kind of toothless, honestly, but still faintly meaningful and a fair amount of fun.

2017
Directed by Andy Muschietti
Written by Chase Palmer, Gary Dauberman, and Cary Fukunaga (based on the novel by Stephen King)
With Jaeden Lieberher (Bill Denbrough), Sophia Lillis (Bev Marsh), Jeremy Ray Taylor (Ben Hanscom), Finn Wolfhard (Richie Tozier), Jack Dylan Grazer (Eddie Kaspbrak), Wyatt Olef (Stan Uris), Chosen Jacobs (Mike Hanlon), Nicholas Hamilton (Henry Bowers), and Bill Skarsgard (Pennywise)

Spoiler alert: moderate (or, if you've literally never heard of this property before, severe)

Monday, September 4, 2017

Who's gonna steal a subway train?


THE TAKING OF PELHAM ONE TWO THREE

Likely more purely entertaining than any documentary about the modern history of New York, and more edifying than many, Joseph Sargent's near-masterpiece captures the city as it was (or, at least, as we imagine it was) and offers it up inside the kind of fun, thrill-heavy package that would still work whether there was anything else interesting about it or not.

1974
Directed by Joseph Sargent
Written by Peter Stone (based on the novel by Morton Freedgood)
With Walter Matthau (Lt. Zachary Garber), Jerry Stiller (Lt. Rico Patrone), Martin Balsam (Mr. Green), Earl Hindman (Mr. Gray), Hector Elizando (Mr. Grey), and Robert Shaw (Mr. Blue)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Sunday, August 27, 2017

The human who watches this movie can neither go to Heaven nor Hell


DEATH NOTE

Talk about your inaccurate translations...

2017
Directed by Adam Wingard
Written by Charlie Parlapanides, Vlas Parlapanides, and Jeremy Slater
With Nat Wolff (Light Turner), Willem Dafoe/Jason Liles (Ryuk), Margaret Qualley (Mia Sutton), Shea Whigham (James Turner), and Lakeith Stanfield (L)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Great ape


KONG: SKULL ISLAND

Who'd have guessed that the best movie of 2017 so far was the one about bouncing goofy visual gags off the side of a giant monster?  Actually, I had an inkling.

2017
Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Written by Dan Gilroy, Max Borenstein, Derek Connolly, and John Gatins
With Terry Notary and Toby Kebbell (Kong), John C. Reilly (Lt. Hank Marlow), Corey Hawkins (Houston Brooks), Jing Tian (San Lin), Tom Hiddleston (Capt. James Conrad), Brie Larson (Mason Weaver), John Ortiz (Victor Nieves), Jason Mitchell (WO Glenn Mills), Toby Kebbell (again) (Maj. Jack Chapman), Shea Whigham (Capt. Earl Cole), John Goodman (Bill Randa), and Samuel L. Jackson (Col. Preston Packard)

Spoiler alert: mild

Monday, August 14, 2017

Life in space is impossible


LIFE

Pleasantly grim and agreeably boilerplate, the worst thing you can say about Life is that it doesn't live up to its influences, but then, not too much does.

2017
Directed by Daniel Espinosa
Written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick
With Olga Dihovichnaya (Ekaterina Golovkina), Rebecca Ferguson (Dr. Miranda North), Jake Gyllenhaal (Dr. David Jordan), Ariyon Bakare (Dr. Hugh Derry), Hiroyuki Sanada (Sho Murakami), and Ryan Reynolds (Rory Adams)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Sunday, August 6, 2017

The tree of knowledge


A GHOST STORY

At times, I know, it's almost a parody of an art film, but it's hard to name too many movies that earn their asininity the way A Ghost Story earns its.  It gets to where it needs to go, and a high-concept, low-affect meditation upon the awful, beautiful futility of life was, in the end, the most direct way it could have taken.

2017
Written and directed by David Lowery
With David Pink and Casey Affleck (The Ghost), Rooney Mara (The Woman), and Will Oldman (The Prognosticator)

Spoiler alert: moderate