What Movie Have You Seen Today?

The Nightmare Before Christmas, getting into Halloween mode.


Dirty Harry (1971). Greatly enjoyable. It made realize that a serious, faithful adaptation of LALD could have been made around that time. As long as it was directed by Terence Young or Peter Hunt, and written in part by Richard Maibaum and maybe Berkely Mather, Paul Dehn and Johanna Harwood, as possible co-writers. Only Jack Lord and Sir Sean Connery could have pulled off Leiter and Bond for this version.

1 Like

“No One Will Save You” on Hulu.

The time of year I start watching the scary fare in the run-up to Halloween. Some good stuff here and some bad. All in all worth the watch.


Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

I know, I am a shameless Kenneth Branagh apologist.

And the many Jack Ryan adaptations, including the recent Amazon series, might have exhausted the good will towards this material.

When this movie was released, with Chris Pine taking over from Ben Affleck, rebooting the character again, reviews were mixed and the box office disappointing.

I saw it only once, on blu ray, and while I liked it I never felt the urge to revisit it.

Now I did, and I must say, it is so absolutely underrated. A terrific spy thriller, absolutely excitingly paced, nailbiting tension, exquisitely helmed and edited. Yes, it does not break new ground, but how many spy thrillers actually still do? Branagh is an excellent director and actor (here, for the first time as a Russian bad guy - Nolan must have known this and still cast Branagh in a similar role again).

I really think Branagh would be a great Bond director. Or if Nolan actually helms a Bond film at some point, could he cast Branagh as M?


That NEEDS to happen!


Jackass Forever. I may be a grumpy 35 year old and the movies may be stupid, but every now and then I need the idiocy of the Jackass crew.


It is a underrated movie. It’s enjoyable for what it is. Not every movie needs to be a masterpiece. Chris Pine is one of the better performers of Jack Ryan. Kevin Costner and Keira Knightley could have had interesting character arcs in a sequel to it. An overlooked thrill ride.

Iconically, Kenneth Branagh has Bond connection: he has read The Man With The Golden Gun on audiobook.


And very good he was too.


Well, you’ve sold me on it. I’ll watch it later as it’s currently on Amazon Prime.


Just occurred to me how perfect a Northern Irish M would be, given Mallory and Dynamite comics M have the troubles as a part of their backstory.


The Creator (2023)

This is not a drill. It’s the one we’ve been waiting for; a sci-fi film not based on an existing IP. That alone should make it a must watch.
But is it worth watching on its own merits? Yes. The AI plot may have shades of Terminator, The Matrix and Blade Runner but it has its own direction and own points to make. The cast is solid, the action is well staged and it looks great, especially impressive considering it cost less than half of a modern blockbuster.


Smile (2022)
Sosie Bacon
dir. Parker Finn

Director Parker Finn makes his feature film debut with Smile, which is based on his short film Laura hasn’t Slept. This is something that we’ve seen quite a bit of here recently, with studios going to directors of short horror films and asking them to expand those ideas out into feature films. The results have been hit or miss, but I think that it’s safe to say that Smile rises above the rest of this genre of horror films and stands as one of the better horror entries we’ve seen in the past few years.

Smile centers around Dr. Rose Cotter (Sosie Bacon) who witnesses a horrific event in her office, in which a young woman dies violently in front of her all while wielding an unsettling grin on her face. This sets off a chain of events that finds Rose’s mental state quickly deteriorating over the span of the next week as an “entity” follows her, constantly turning up in various places and smiling at her.

The film is one that often feels like something of a throwback, not really relying on a great deal of jump scares to make the audience feel unsettled. The film does have them, but the ones that it does have, it does them smartly and the film as a whole earns their use. Unfortunately, though, some of the more effective ones are shown in the trailer. The film, in terms of its presentation, also has a matter-of-factness about it that harkens back to horror films of past decades, relying more on a sense of fear and dread that hang over the film rather than attacking the viewer with nonstop CGI and loud sounds that serve more as distractions than actual scares.

The film’s first half is undeniably its strongest, whereas the second half devolves into somewhat familiar police detective-thriller territory, all while heading to a climax that feels at the same time inevitable and somewhat disappointing, especially when it comes in a film that spends a lot of time playing with audience expectation and not always going for the totally obvious or cliche moment or scare.

The film’s biggest strength, aside from its atmosphere, is Sosie Bacon, who really is tasted with carrying the movie on her own. She navigates the film, dealing with people who just dismiss her as being crazy or having a problem that can simply be overcome with therapy. This is where the film’s true genius lies, because we are never sure if these people, including Rose’s sister and her fiancé, are actually being unsupportive or if Rose only perceives it that way. Rose is the audience’s window in the film, and she is often an unreliable narrator, which causes you to re-evaluate certain interactions between her and other characters to see if you had gotten it wrong or if they really are as cold and uncaring as they sometimes appear to be.

Despite some shortcomings in the film’s second half, Smile is a triumph of a horror film that stands as one of the best we’ve seen in the past couple of years. Parker Finn looks like he could join Mike Flanagan as the next big new horror director looking to take the genre into the future.


The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar

This a short on Netflix and not a full movie. I put it on because the trailer looked cool and I was in the mood for something brief. It is directed by Wes Anderson and is based on a short story from Roald Dahl (I believe there are 3 others on Netflix). I thought the acting was great and flowed very well and I found the story to be very original. Looking forward to watching the others.


I liked SMILE a lot but felt it was an inspired retread of the basic concept of IT FOLLOWS, which I felt was the stronger of the two films. Have you seen IT FOLLOWS, @dalton?

“The Exorcist: Believer”

I don’t feel much differently than any of the reviews I’m sure you’ve already read so I won’t try to add to them…


I will say that the ending will have you at the very least intrigued about where the sequel might be heading :thinking: :shushing_face:

Mosquito Coast

I was a teenager when I saw this in the theatre, being a huge Harrison Ford fan and hoping for a similar kind of adult thriller as the previous Weir/Ford collaboration „Witness“.

Yeah, silly me. Hence, I was surprised and disappointed. A hero who was unsympathetic and died in the end?

Of course, this Theroux adaptation is a fascinating drama, precisely filmed and edited, an uncompromising look at hybris, gaining new relevance these days, because the main character feels a lot like those who scorn society, considering themselves to know more and to be able to survive on their own.

Well, Peter Weir very often was way ahead of the times with his movies, and this forgotten gem is worth rediscovering. Harrison Ford is excellent, so are Helen Mirren and River Phoenix.


Tobin Bell, Shawnee Smith
dir. Kevin Greutert

You would think that a franchise that had already essentially completed its storyline 13 years ago, after being forced to condense a planned conclusive trilogy down into two films, and then stumbled with both attempts to continue on some years later, with a so-so prequel/sequel Jigsaw and the poorly received, yet interesting nonetheless Chris Rock / Samuel L. Jackson vehicle Spiral, might not have anything left to say. Surprisingly, this is not the case, and the tenth film in one of the most successful horror franchises of all time, arriving on its 19th anniversary, actually manages to be one of its very best entries, proving that there might still be some life left in this series yet.

Saw X makes the wise decision to go back into the series original timeline, taking place between Saw and Saw II, which allows them to bring back series antagonists John Kramer (Tobin Bell) and Amanda Young (Shawnee Smith) without having to do the mental gymnastics of having parts of the film told in flashback while others told in the present day. The film is all the better for this, since it’s basically all a “flashback”, the storytelling is much tighter and it allows writers Peter Goldfinger and Josh Stolberg to to craft a story that feels very fresh within the franchise.

I was initially hesitant about this film. I didn’t think the trailer was particularly good (it gives far too much away, as most trailers these days do), and the return of Kevin Greutert to the director’s chair, who I’ve found to be the worst director the franchise has had thus far, had me ready to cast this film aside and assume the franchise had finally hit its expiration point. Those problems, alongside the fact that this film, at least on the surface, tackles some very similar themes that Saw VI, my least favorite film of the franchise, and the result was a film that I can’t say that I was looking all that much forward to.

I couldn’t have been more wrong, however. Saw X is not only a return to form for the franchise, it might be the franchise’s best film. Taking a major gamble by making the series’ antagonist John Kramer / Jigsaw the film’s protagonist, Saw X finds John Kramer traveling to Mexico for an experimental cancer treatment that, according to just about everyone, is this groundbreaking procedure that is having nearly 100% results. As the trailer tells you, this turns out to be a scam, which leads to Kramer rounding up the scam artists and putting them through his trademark “games”.

The film makes the wise choice to not go right into the gore, but rather the first third to half of the film is spent developing John Kramer as a character as he attempts to cure his cancer. It’s a very slow opening and you don’t realize how necessary it is until you’re in the midst of it, and it’s some rather quality filmmaking. They do such a good job at making you feel sympathy for Kramer, and Tobin Bell turns in such a terrific performance, that you find yourself during the first half of the film, and even at times later on, feeling sympathy for Kramer, despite knowing all of the atrocities he’s been responsible for over the course of the franchise. Kramer truly is the protagonist of this film. It’s a bold choice, especially for a franchise that’s now ten films in, but it absolutely works here.

Once the gore does start, however, it is nothing short of being absolutely brutal. I usually look away during a good number of the traps during the franchise’s original run, and that doesn’t change here, but what is on display here is, while much simpler in terms of its execution, much more gruesome in terms of the gore that is shown. Gone is the almost cartoonish gore that the later films in the franchise’s original run (and especially gone is the pinkish blood that THE FINAL CHAPTER is notorious for due to its 3D effects), and what is in its place is very realistic looking. The only trap that I didn’t at least look away from for at least a moment was the final one, but that particular trap was perhaps the most horrifying of all, as the filmmakers went somewhere I didn’t think that they would ever go in this (or in any other) franchise, and that was


putting an innocent child in a Jigsaw trap

The above spoiler is part of a rather clever twist ending for the film, which felt as though it were heading towards the finale without the need for one. In a Saw film that was subverting just about every expectation one could have for it, the above spoiler leaves you with the feeling that this is the ultimate climax of the film and that they’re not going to go any further, but just a few moments after it’s over and Charlie Clouser’s famous theme tune kicks in, the audience is left with a rather satisfying twist ending, at least it is as such if you’re been able to buy into the premise of this film.

Overall, SAW X is much better than any tenth film in a franchise has a right to be. I’d even argue that it’s a quality horror film standing on its own merits, and is easily one of the best films in the franchise to date and, potentially, may go down as the Swanson that this franchise, as one of the most successful in the genre
s history, deserves after the last two films kind of floundered around not knowing where to take the franchise in a post-John Kramer plot line.




A gangster Western, with a police procedural and a courtroom drama mixed in during the last hour. And the story of a marriage–Rossellini’s FEAR on the Oklahoma plains.

DiCaprio’s Ernest Burkhardt is THE IRISHMAN’s Frank Sheeran–a man willing to commit violence, and in thrall to a more powerful man. Like Frank, Ernest never comes to grips with the what he does, and dissociates himself from it. We are in post-THE DEPARTED territory, where the narratives the protagonists tell to themselves are slowly/inexorably exposed as compromised/false/self-serving. In KOTFM, it is the wife of the character, rather than his daughter as in THE IRISHMAN, who percipitates the ultimate act of dissociation. Lily Gladstone is superb, as is DiCaprio, De Niro, and the rest.

Also, one of Scorsese’s marriage movies. Mollie’s final exit brings to mind Francine’s farewell in NEW YORK, NEW YORK, and is extraordinarily powerful. But Scorsese is not done. The film’s coda and credits take it further than he has ever gone.

There is a Breughel-quality to the mise-en-scene that is new. The first thing I said to my companions when the the film finished was that the film had mise-en-scene I had never before encountered in a Scorsese movie. As far back as MEAN STREETS, we had Harvey Keitel putting his hand in a flame, but the flames this time are Inferno-worthy, and devastatiing. De Niro has already played Satan, but William King Hale is worse.

The chronolgy is also scrambled, to a greater extent than it is in THE IRISHMAN. A viewer is never lost, but Scorsese is up to something. My next viewing is Friday, which will hopefully bring some clarity.

Scorsese advances in his depiction of violence, following the path of THE IRISHMAN. Violence is blunt/bold, and not lingered over. The efficiency of it reflects the ease with which it was first commanded, and then carried out. Violence and harm are not just a feature of some particular cohort of society (hey, let’s go look at the gangster lifestyle); it is the endemic to all of society.

KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON is a big screen must.


Through the auspices of Google Translate, here is Cahier du Cinema’s take courtesy of Yal Sadat.

I will only show the start, since the coinage MSCU (Martin Scorsese Cinematic Universe) is too good not to spread far and wide:

Through some sort of miraculous loophole in the MSCU (Martin Scorsese Cinematic Universe), De Niro and DiCaprio share the field.


In the handsome white-colonist suit of cattle dealer William Hale, De Niro welcomes DiCaprio, half idle simpleton, half crook looking for a bad deal, to teach him the basics of exploitation – earthly, human, in short : capitalism, which grows as well in these hot lands of Oklahoma at the beginning of the twentieth century as in the mafia biotopes seen in previous episodes. Meeting at the summit, then. Never seen before at Scorsese? Not exactly. This scene where DiCaprio wisely listens to his uncle explain to him the art of profiting from a system by infiltrating it from the inside – that is to say by fraternizing with the Osage Indians, enriched thanks to the hidden black gold under the arid bark of their reserve - evokes that of The Wolf of Wall Street, where McConaughey taught the same DiCaprio all ears the attitude of the winner ready to pluck the world and enjoy it ever stronger, like the roaring lion, feeding his carnivorous libido without hesitation to “jerk off four to five times a day”. Here again, Uncle De Niro addresses the sexual question, enjoins his younger brother to taste Osage women, and to marry one of them to better recover his rights as a white man on the natural hoard – even if it means unsoldering community members who might interfere with their plan. “Oh, yes, I like women!” The white ones, the red ones, the big ones…” confides the apprentice rascal to his uncle. And this moment of confidence, this shot-reverse shot between men who admit to each other the extent to which their libidinal greed is deployed to the detriment of women and the family, will be the secret driving force of Killers of the Flower Moon, and of its uncompromising editing – which can leave the impression of a long, virile discussion lasting 3.5 hours, entirely devoted to the knowing glances exchanged furtively in the realm of men stuffed to the point of thirst.

Basically, this is a way of picking things up where The Irishman left them. This fabulous will settled the gangsters’ accounts with the family unit, and said that they had destroyed theirs by spending too much time loving each other, betraying each other, tearing each other apart and sometimes patching each other up within their one true family, purely masculine – that of godfathers and consiglieri. Here again, the scoundrel on the rise loves his Indian wife (again and always a matter of communities which collide and interpenetrate) as much as he destroys her, sabotages her, spoiling the flesh, burning everything in his path, and even his own children. And all this is justified, therefore, by the financial and villainous romance between the two most beautiful avatars of Scorsesian work. New pirate couple, new marriage on the borders of homoeroticism, to which the author sacrifices everything. Not a single gunfight, not a single Western duel as a breather (since Bertha Boxcar in 72, Scorsese knows that he will never be his idol Ford, and only knows how to make Westerns on the condition of relocating them to the East Coast from Gangs of New York). Violence only emerges in the form of fleeting streaks in a night troubled by flames. And when the cowboys suddenly regain their rights to oil, Scorsese reduces them to distant, almost abstract silhouettes, busy plundering the ground – one would think he had been thrown into a cave painting. For better and sometimes for worse – the time taken to depict the Machiavellian alliance is paid for by imbalances and abrupt ellipses – Killers of The Flower Moon offers all the time in the world to its capitalistic bromance which seems to contain and sublimate all those already seen in Scorsese, to better watch this union bud on the plains, and finally give birth, as always, to this big, voracious creature who likes to pretend to be a country.

1 Like

Good grief, it is being made to sound very boring.