The House That Jack Built

the house that jack built

Killer Pad

Among his other virtues, Lars Von Trier has always been something of a troll.  His movies often act as playful middle fingers to his harshest critics, gleefully confirming their accusations with a devil-may-care attitude.  The approach has a rebellious appeal, but it’s also overshadowed some of Von Trier’s lesser works, which have made the mistake of putting shock value above quality.  The House That Jack Built sees Von Trier’s devilish style at its best; it shamelessly aims to offend, but backs up its intentions with original, exciting filmmaking. Continue reading

Destroyer

destroyer

Nicole Un-dimed

“[Actor] as you’ve never seen him/her before” is a movie marketing cliché I’ve grown to hate, but damn if Destroyer doesn’t earn it.  As burnout LAPD detective Erin Bell, Nicole Kidman looks, in a word, rough.  The beautiful actress is borderline unrecognizable here, sporting the face of an “after” picture in an anti-meth PSA.  Erin’s hair is brittle, her teeth are gray, and her blue eyes – her one intact feature – are sunken.  Her clothes hang off what appears to be a scarecrow-thin body.  It’s an amazing makeup job, is what I’m getting at, and one that never distracts from the core of the movie. Continue reading

Aquaman

aquaman

I Come from a Land Down Under

There’s a shot early on in Aquaman that sums up the movie better than any review could.  Preparing for battle, an underwater cavalry unit enters formation, each soldier mounted astride a bus-sized great white shark.  One of the massive beasts, restrained by its rider, thrashes its head and roars.  It’s a moment that perfectly encapsulates the movie’s attitude: you’re either on board for all of this lunacy or none of it.  For me, the decision was easy. Continue reading

Vice

vice-min-02

If nothing else, Vice deserves praise for having one of the best trailers in recent memory.  Beginning with a low-key exchange between an instantly recognizable Bush (Sam Rockwell) and Cheney (Christian Bale) set to the opening strains of The Killers’ swagger anthem “The Man,” the song and trailer quickly build to an expertly synchronized crescendo.  The combination of audio and visuals whet the appetite the way all good trailers do, showing just enough to get the audience excited but never revealing too much.  It’s a masterclass in hype-building, and whichever anonymous editor stitched it together should be proud. Continue reading

Fast and Fentress Update

Hey all, I know it’s been a while since my last review.  I’ve been pretty swamped with work – exciting work, but work nonetheless – the past few weeks, but things are finally settling down.  Starting tomorrow, I’ll be getting back to publishing reviews regularly.  You can also expect a Best and Worst of 2018, though I still have to catch up on some key movies, so it might be a little while.  In the meantime, you can look forward to my Vice review, which I’ll be publishing tomorrow.  All the best, and thanks for reading.

-Kevin