And I thought the Overlook Hotel’s elevator had a blood spill problem…
Evil Dead Rise is a supernatural horror and standalone entry in the Evil Dead series, which has completely eschewed its campier elements in favour of the sort of tone that’s designed to traumatize you for life (to be fair, everything that happened to Ash Williams in Evil Dead II was pretty traumatizing, blunted for us only by the slapstick elements and goofy delivery).
Continue reading Let’s Talk About: Evil Dead Rise
Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3 is the third and (hopefully) final installment of James Gunn’s wild and colourful Guardians saga, and the first Marvel movie I can remember seeing since Endgame (I’ve seen other Marvel movies since then, of course, but this is the first one I can actually remember). The titular Guardians have come a long way since we last saw them properly in Vol. 2 (their standout appearances in the final two Avengers and recent Thor movie notwithstanding) – Peter Quill is still reeling from the loss of Gamora, Rocket Raccoon has settled into something of a leadership role, Nebula is officially one of the gang, and Groot looks like a WWE wrestler with cardboard boxes taped to him (it’s a quaint look that probably serves as a callback to the rubber-suited aliens of classic sci-fi). Everyone is a little calmer, a little wearier, and a little more mature (a little). The plot kicks off with the sudden appearance of superpowered golden boy Adam Warlock, whose destructive attempt to kidnap Rocket at the behest of an old adversary results in him dealing a near-fatal injury to everyone’s favourite anthropomorphic trash panda. Unable to operate on Rocket due to a mysterious kill switch installed in his heart by whoever created him, the Guardians waste no time in setting out to retrieve the deactivation code and save their friend’s life.
Continue reading Let’s Talk About: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
I’ve mentioned before that one of the troubles with viewing films with the express purpose of assigning them a numerical rating and committing your thoughts to public scrutiny is that your tastes, preferences, and opinions are subject to change, sometimes very quickly. There are many films over the years that I’ve liked in the heat of the moment, only to forget about them within a few months as my enthusiasm waned. Conversely, there are numerous movies I was dismissive of or ambivalent toward upon release, only to grow to appreciate them the more I thought about them. This can make an annual Top Ten somewhat difficult to defend and even embarrassing to revisit, especially when you realize that you’ve only viewed your number one pick exactly once. 2019’s Top Ten is one such list. Though I penned it a mere three years ago, I was amazed and slightly appalled to see how I ranked the year’s best in show. As such, I thought it would be fun to revisit what I’d easily call that last good year in cinema before the world went barmy and see which films have held up in my mind. While the films themselves haven’t changed, the order in which they’re ranked has (or… has it??).
Continue reading 2019 Top Ten List – Revisited
In the words of a certain animated saber-toothed cat, who’s up for round two?! That’s right, folks – since I’ve barely updated this site in the past year, you’re getting two top ten lists for the price of one. In my last post, I disclosed a few personal reasons why I haven’t been giving Snooty Film Critic much attention lately, so I feel it’s only fair and natural to open this official top ten with one more. As a younger man, I took a perverse delight in seeking out bad movies and systematically dismantling them in long online rants, mostly to annoy people who watch movies for mindless escapism or worse – enjoyment. Movies like Man of Steel, Jurassic World, Venom, and 2016’s Suicide Squad were all targets of my caustic assessments in one form or another over the years, and while taking a Critical Drinker approach to bad movies is certainly fun, there just comes a point in life when it isn’t rewarding anymore. Like the hard-drinking, chain-smoking persona I regrettably spent years enabling, trashing movies for the sake of it just isn’t really me anymore. At this stage in life, I find I’m more interested in praising and appreciating films I like rather than dismembering movies I don’t. Maybe it’s the natural benevolence that sets in after one turns 30; maybe it’s the fact that my time has become more precious as I stare down the barrel of eternity in a post-COVID world; and maybe it’s the fact that I can’t be compelled to sit through anymore bloody comic book movies.
Whatever the case, here’s my real Top Ten for 2022:
Continue reading 2022 Top Ten List (For Real)
It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I’ll open by apologizing to my half dozen fans for the lack of snooty film critiques recently (by which I mean, since 2021). At various points throughout 2022, I intended to sit down and pen proper reviews for films I actually enjoyed such as Barbarian and The Black Phone, but alas, I lacked conviction. The reasons for my lack of attention to my snooty film critic persona are simple. First and foremost, most of my time and energy when it comes to writing these days have been devoted to serious writing, not film critiques no one reads (any agents out there looking to represent a sci-fi novel? How ‘bout two?). Second, I’m a lot healthier than I was when I first began this venture – I seldom drink anymore and I quit smoking completely (yay!), so the persona I cultivated of an alcoholic, chain-smoking, basement-dwelling, embittered film critic now seems strange and alien to me. Finally, I see so few contemporary movies nowadays, and most of the ones I do end up seeing are too nondescript for words. Hate to say it, but 2022 presented some of the most boring, forgettable, overhyped, uninteresting, nondescript, and unmemorable movies I can barely remember watching.
In order from least boring to most boring, they are:
Continue reading 2022 Top Ten… Blandest Movies List (Number 5 Will Bore You to Tears!)
Back in 2017, I confessed I was caught off-guard by Baby Driver’s startling deviation from the silliness, irreverence, and absurdity that had until that point defined Edgar Wright’s career. Though the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy was hardly bereft of dramatic depth (with Shaun of the Dead and The World’s End in particular conveying some surprisingly profound themes regarding maturity and responsibility, not to mention the pathetic outcome of failing to cross the threshold between boyhood and manhood), at the end of the day it was still firmly rooted in comedy territory. With Baby Driver, Wright shifted gears (heh) and delivered a fun but comparatively grounded action flick, downplaying his signature humour and rapid-fire dialogue in favour of something more stylish and altogether cinematic. In short, Edgar Wright had finally moved out of Simon Pegg’s apartment and grown up (it happens to the best of us). I eventually came around to appreciating and even admiring Baby Driver, and though I was undeniably saddened that Wright’s days of pitting a hapless Scott Pilgrim against a bonkers world were officially behind him, I found myself looking forward to what he’d come up with next.
Continue reading Let’s Talk About: Last Night in Soho
Long ago, in the mythical, sepia-toned era of hope, liberty, and prosperity that was 2019, I watched a grand total of 38 new films. That was 38 newly-released films from the beginning of January to the end of December, 38 separate contributions to the operating costs of both my local Theatrical Symposium for Degenerate Fancies and reputable Cineplexes in neighboring towns, 38 fresh notches on my cinematic utility belt. As far as the film industry was concerned, it was a pretty packed year, and that’s factoring my intentional avoidance of most mainstream tentpole releases (I’m pickier than the average wannabe film critic and therefore only subject myself to films that appeal to me, so no, I didn’t see f***ing Captain Marvel). Even with nearly forty citations on my annual cinematic rap sheet, I still had a hell of a time populating 2019’s Top Ten, because the vast majority of movies I watch simply don’t resonate with me (really, I should just pen an annual Top Four List for all the films I actually end up remembering by the time I turn over my ‘Seasons of Ryan Reynolds’ wall calendar).
Continue reading 2020 Top… One List: Featuring ‘I’m Thinking of Ending Things’ and True Confessions of a Personal Nature
Surely I don’t need to justify the lack of new Snooty Film Critiques this year – 2020 to date has been more turbulent and less predictable than a season of Game of Thrones (that’s pre-Season 6 Game of Thrones, mind… before the dark times… before the plot armor and anachronistic Starbucks cups). Seriously, if everything headlining CNN these days played out on HBO, critics would dismiss the narrative twists and turns as unrealistic to the point of absurdity – the initial arc centering on the Coronavirus pandemic was sidelined by the sadistic murder of George Floyd and the descent of major US cities into anarchy; the threat of the killer hornets was introduced as a potentially major plot point in episode 3 and then swiftly abandoned (though it may yet be revisited in the inevitable Christmas Special); and now Kanye West has announced his bid for the presidency, because ratings have dipped and the desperate writers needed a flashy guest star to bolster their viewership.
Continue reading Remembering: Being John Malkovich (and Reflections on the COVID Crisis)
The Irishman (or, I Heard You Paint Houses) is one of those eleventh-hour releases that manifests itself to weary cinematic sojourners like a chilled, glistening bottle of Aquafina on the final stretch of the barren, hostile, morale-shattering wasteland you’ve been trudging through since January. Not only does it revitalize you so that you can finally complete your arduous journey, it imbues you with enough energy and hope to begin a new one come 2020. Suffice to say, the only question I had for The Irishman once the curtain fell was, “Where the hell have you been all year?”
Continue reading Let’s Talk About: The Irishman
2019 is certainly proving to be the year for emerging Indie horror directors’ follow-up films, isn’t it? Jordan Peele followed up his universally-acclaimed quasi-horror-comedy Get Out with the much more sci-fi-leaning Twilight Zone tribute Us (which I adored); David Robert Mitchell followed up his eerie sex-themed after-school-special It Follows with the polarizing neo-noir Under the Silver Lake (which curiously went to Cannes unedited); and Ari Aster followed up his demonic family portrait Hereditary with the psychedelic, bloodletting Eurotrip Midsommar (which should never under any circumstances be viewed with grandma). Now, Robert Eggers has followed up his highly-effective period horror The Witch with a fresh article-noun arrangement called The Lighthouse, a psychological horror that is already being hailed as a masterpiece by those who have acknowledged its existence.
Alas, the proprietor of my hometown’s Theatrical Symposium for Degenerate Fancies was not one such person, having deemed the Zombieland sequel that no one asked for the preferable feature to screen. Incidentally, our Symposium bears many striking similarities to Eggers’ nightmarish lighthouse – it’s filthy, it’s drafty, it’s beset by cantankerous seagulls, and its employees are presumably forbidden access to the proprietor’s inner sanctum that is the projection room under pain of an axe murdering.
Continue reading Let’s Talk About: The Lighthouse