2020s

The Matrix, Ranked

The Matrix, Ranked

In 1999, The Matrix, written and directed by the Wachowski Sisters, was released and instantly became a cultural phenomenon, thanks to its ground-breaking visual effects and thought-provoking philosophical themes. The film launched an entire media franchise, and since then, three direct sequel films, an animated anthology film, three video games, a comic book series and numerous books have been released. While none of the subsequent films admittedly quite live up to the quality of that first film, a couple of them come damn close, even if the worse films in the franchise leave a lot to be desired. Here is…
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Review: The Black Phone

Review: The Black Phone

Year: 2021 | Rating: As many of you are well aware, I don't generally "do" horror movies, but I had to make an exception for The Black Phone because I just had to see this performance from Ethan Hawke. And generally speaking, he does not disappoint, at least when he's actually on the screen, which -- in following a standard horror flick trope of not giving the big baddie that much screen time -- isn't that often. Make this two films in 2022 now that left me wanting more from Mr. Hawke (the first being The Northman). If we get a Black Phone sequel (and I would think that we would,…
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Review: C’mon C’mon

Review: C’mon C’mon

Year: 2021 | Rating: “Of all the arts, movies are the most powerful aid to empathy, and good ones make us into better people.” These words were written by film critic Roger Ebert in regards to the power that cinema has to enrich the lives of viewers, and in no film that I’ve ever seen has the desire to use empathy to be a better person been as strong of a driving force as in C’mon C’mon. Written and directed by Mike Mills, C’mon C’mon tells the story of Johnny (Joaquin Phoenix), a documentary filmmaker who is given the task of looking after…
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Review: Sing 2

Review: Sing 2

Year: 2021 | Rating: This may be a surprise to some of you, but I was actually looking forward to Sing 2 with cautious optimism. Illumination doesn't have the greatest track record of not making obnoxious movies that appeal to kids more than adults (in fairness, I'm not sure that can be considered a fault of an animation studio), but I rather enjoyed the first installment, so I was at the very least curious to see if director Garth Jennings could deliver the goods for a second time. And you know what? This movie isn't half bad. I know that doesn't sound like the…
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The Jackass Films, Ranked

The Jackass Films, Ranked

Before there was TikTok, or Vine, or even YouTube, there was MTV's Jackass TV series, which fed viewers (mostly teenage boys and young men) a constant, uninterrupted stream of dudes with questionable intelligence performing ridiculous stunts (with often disastrous results) and tormenting each other with disgusting or dangerous pranks. Even though the show only ran for three seasons between 2000 and 2001, the concept proved so popular and the group of lovably bone-headed guys proved so beloved that the series was spun-off into multiple subsequent TV shows and, perhaps more culturally significantly, a total of nine feature-length films. While it…
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Review: Jerry & Marge Go Large

Review: Jerry & Marge Go Large

Year: 2022 | Rating: After having seen ads on TV for the past couple of weeks, Jerry & Marge Go Large is a movie that I maybe wouldn't normally have been too interested in, especially since it's a Paramount+ exclusive in a time when movies are returning to theaters. It can be a red flag. But the fastest way to get me to see a movie that I'm on the fence about is to cast great actors, and Bryan Cranston and Annette Bening have a consistent track record of being great in everything that they're in, so I decided to give this…
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Quick Hits: My Fake Boyfriend, Justice League: The New Frontier, Windfall

Quick Hits: My Fake Boyfriend, Justice League: The New Frontier, Windfall

Quick Hits In the latest edition of Quick Hits, we've got a gay movie made by BuzzFeed that brings shame to the Queer Cinema Movement, one of the weaker films in the DC Animation Universe series, and a minimalist crime thriller that is well worth your time. My Fake Boyfriend Year: 2022 | Rating: My Fake Boyfriend is, without a doubt, one of the worst movies I have ever seen in my life. I knew when I saw the Buzzfeed Studios production logo at the beginning of the film that I should significantly lower my expectations, and yet it still managed…
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Short/Feature: Breaking Fast

Short/Feature: Breaking Fast

Breaking Fast The Short: Year: 2015 | Rating: In a bizarre twist that I absolutely did not see coming, I liked the short version of Breaking Fast much better than the feature that it ended up being adapted into. The actors were much more natural; so much so, in fact, that the whole "Kal-El" bit that was cringe-worthy in the feature was actually adorably awkward here. This short, which focuses mostly on Kal and Mo's first "date," feels almost Before Sunrise (1995)-esque at times, a tone which is painfully absent from the feature; in fact, as I mention below, it lacked…
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Review: Fire Island

Review: Fire Island

Year: 2022 | Rating: I am literally shocked by the unanimously positive reception that Fire Island has received. I don't check reviews before I watch a film, so it's absolutely blowing my mind that it currently sits at 93% on Rotten Tomatoes and 3.7 on Letterboxd. Do we all collectively have a lower bar for gay content? But then again, so do I, and Fire Island still failed to clear it. Horrible voiceover, a horrible main character, a horrible love interest, a confusing timeline, never more than just a chuckle at the few jokes that landed. I also wonder who, exactly, this movie…
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Review: Men

Review: Men

Year: 2022 | Rating: Man, I was on-board with Men for so long. Jessie Buckley is wonderful. The music is spectacular. The camerawork, particularly with the use of focus, is dynamic and interesting. The story mixes the realistic with the abstract just enough to keep you guessing and intrigued. Yes, the "drama" portion of this film is engaging and riveting, even at its slow and deliberate pace. Then right at the beginning of the third act, it's like a switch is flipped and the narrative and style delves straight into Blumhouse cheap-horror territory, and that's where Men begins to lose me. Once…
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