Tom Cruise puts his life on the line for the umpteenth time in the breathtaking 6th film in the Mission: Impossible franchise. Anchored by yet another gravity-defying performance by Hollywood's greatest asset, and the sure-handed direction by Christopher McQuarrie, MI: Fallout lands like a gigaton nuclear blast that vaporizes the competition and swiftly raises the bar for action cinema for years to come.
John Wick: Chapter 2 is a worthy successor to the ball-shattering original, even if it doesn't have quite the same impact.
A Quiet Place is a horror film for the ages, blending artful craftsmanship with heart-stopping suspense in service of a deliciously clever concept.
Alien Covenant is a mostly dull sci-fi film wrapped in CG Xenomorph skin, whose cool ideas buckle under the weight of dumb drama.
This weekend, I rewatched The Fate of the Furious. It didn't really stick with me the first time I watched it, and I remembered why this time around. Even by Fast and Furious standards, this movie is a ridiculous shitshow that takes the series to new highs and lows, not unlike a seizing heart. Every Fast movie since Five has emulated a different type of blockbuster in order to inject new fuel into the engine that drives this series a quarter mile every two years. Fate of the Furious doubles down on the absurdity and chooses to emulate Michael Bay, warts and all, and the result is a movie I have loads of mixed feelings about.
Ready Player One is the cinematic equivalent of stuffing your face with digital cotton candy. Steven Spielberg lends his master's touch to a movie that, in the wrong hands, could have led to disaster. Thankfully, he's given us a movie that stands apart from the book and delivers a fun, sugary adventure that's light on intellect but high on imagination.
War for the Planet of the Apes closes out the saga on a high note, and cements it as possibly the most consistently good blockbuster trilogy ever created.
The Florida Project is a breathtaking film that finds the sweetness in a grim slice of American life.
Annihilation is smart, cerebral, and affective science fiction that takes a toll on your psyche while keeping you entertained and invested.
This weekend, I finally checked The Godfather Part II off of the "omg how haven't you seen that yet" list.
Call me by Your Name is beautiful coming-of-age romance film whose dreaminess works both for and against it.
Good Time is anything but in the best way possible. Led by a cocoon-busting performance by Robert Pattinson, this film pulls you through a seedy side of New York City with a kind of raw energy that's rarely seen these days.
The Killing of a Sacred Deer is another fascinating piece of auteur cinema from Yorgos Lanthimos. While it stumbles a bit in the back end, the film shows him at his idiosyncratic best, spinning a yarn that is every bit as fucked up and subversive as everything else I've seen of his.
Anchored by a slew of unbelievable performances, Three Billboards is a fiery whipcrack of a movie that bowls you over with feeling in service of its characters. While it occasionally stumbles in the logic and storytelling department, it doesn't take away from the experience when you're in it. This film is an emotional examination, and on that level, it works like magic.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi shows that different doesn't always mean better, in the longest and least-essential entry in the storied saga. Rian Johnson had a monumental task at hand when undertaking both the writing and directing of the "Empire" episode of an aimless new trilogy, and while he succeeds in a few ways, he left me bored and wanting in many others. Picking up right where The Force Awakens left off, this film feels less like a standalone SW episode and more like a bloated, 150-minute epilogue that they were making up as they went along. For better and mostly worse, this film feels like it was created as a reaction to The Force Awakens, resulting in an interesting, but messy attempt at a course correction. I didn't hate this movie, but I didn't really feel anything for it either, which was almost more frustrating.
The Disaster Artist is a funny and heartwarming movie about the making of the most infamous anti-movie of our generation.
As perhaps one of the least necessary sequels imaginable, Blade Runner 2049 makes a surprisingly satisfying case for itself existing.
mother! was an overwhelming experience. I haven't seen a film that put me through the ringer like that since Antichrist. It's an avalanche of cinematic abuse (cinemabuse?) that made me feel stressed like few other films ever have, and while I greatly admire many aspects of it, I can't say for sure if it all added up to anything. It was as polarizing for me as it was for audiences as a whole.
Wowzers, I thought Doctor Strange was absolutely terrible.
Rogue One is an unbelievably unessential film. This is a story that did not need to be told, at all. It's a film with an inherent lack of conflict due to the fact that we all know that the rebels succeed in getting the plans to the Death Star, and for some reason they aren't in any of the films made 40 years ago.