Reviews 75
Soundoffs 70
News Articles 18
Band Edits + Tags 154
Album Edits 229

Album Ratings 1973
Objectivity 65%

Last Active 01-03-23 11:21 pm
Joined 06-03-16

Review Comments 24,135

02.15.23 Neek's 2023 Movie Hub01.11.23 20NEEK22 - Film Ranking
11.28.22 i need a new favorite band05.05.22 Best Album Covers: Apr. 2022
05.01.22 Neek's 2022 Movie Hub04.24.22 neek is nonbinary and old
04.21.22 Paramore NEEK'D03.23.22 Best Album Covers: Q1 2022
03.21.22 20NEEK21 - Film Ranking 03.04.22 Neek's New Short Film
02.07.22 Neek'd: Spider-Man (films)11.04.21 Neek'd: Coldplay
10.05.21 Neek'd: Alien(s) Franchise09.06.21 Neek'd: Star Trek (films)
07.12.21 Jesus Christ I'm so blue all the time 05.12.21 Neek'd: Queens of the Stone Age
02.22.21 Neek'd: TV on the Radio 12.10.20 Best Album Covers: Q3 2020
More »

20NEEK22 - Film Ranking

another banger year might update as I see more bc there are some obvious holes hmmm
57John Carpenter
Halloween Ends

Halloween Ends // 1.0 // Horror (Psychological)
dir. David Gorden Green

One of the worst fucking slashers (if you could even call it that) I've ever seen, Halloween Ends is an abusrdly misconceived film from nearly every angle. Expounding on the tone-deaf social "commentary" of Kills, Ends throws the trilogy off a cliff with a near-constant cringe factor, appallingly staged kills, and the defamation of any character's logic that has been cursed to live this far. I'd rather be killed by a smart refrigerator than see this one again. A true dumpster fire for the times.
56Sachiko M
Bar Sachiko

Morbius // 1.1 // Superhero (Action)
dir. Daniel Espinosa

Morbius takes the cake as the single worst superhero film released since the genre's cultural zenith. The fact that years and years of examples of how to make a crowd-pleasing action spectacle has gone to waste is almost inconceivable. Nothing here works. Not a single dramatic, action, or suspenseful moment landed. There was one rapturously weird music cue (those that have seen will know what I mean) that saved it from total oblivion, but this film overall just lacked the style, charisma, or heart needed to connect with an audience.
55Lorne Balfe
Black Adam

Black Adam // 1.6 // Superhero (Action)
dir. Jaume Collet-Serra

The simple premise of a third-world superhero coming into conflict with America's superhero team is inspired, but everything beyond that is unpalatable, exaggerated, and unimaginative. Dwayne Johnson's natural charisma is wasted on a screenplay with no tact, violently jolting between tones of grimdark DC and fun-time Disney+ Marvel shows. It's a slog with a few fun moments, but it's as dispensible as superhero movies come these days.
54Ben Salisbury and Geoff Barrow

Men // 1.7

Written and directed by a Man

It's interesting that this is what it takes for people to finally rain down hard on these 50-year-old cis male gender politics “we get it” pictures, when so many of these same people loved Last Night in Soho, but that's just me. It's backasswards male apologism that frequently places its passive protagonist in fetishistic positions of peril before throwing together one of the most tone-deaf third acts in modern history. It's a grotesque, unconsidered film, one that drew more eyerolls than jumps from the audience in its most crucial moments. Stop making these.
53Michael Giacchino
Jurassic World: Dominion

Jurassic World Dominion // 1.8 // Thriller (Sci-Fi)
dir. Colin Trevorrow

Hopefully the last 2010s-styled action film, Dominion depicts a franchise imploding in on itself. Crushed under the weight of too many characters, a plot that doesn't directly involve dinosaurs, and a metric shitton of misplaced reverence for franchise "feel" over form and function, this is essentially Jurassic's Rise of Skywalker. It fails as an action movie, a drama, and as a sci-fi film, and its lone joys are the rare scenes that manage to eek a few thrills out of its "x dinosaur + y setpiece" sequence chart. I was a Fallen Kingdom apologist, but this is inexcusable.
52Ramin Djawadi

Uncharted // 2.0 // Adventure (Action)
dir. Ruben Fleischer

Possibly the most flavorless action film I've seen in years (quite a statement, believe you me), Uncharted takes the wit and charismatic flair of the videogame series and squanders it with unfortunate casting (barring the confident Sophia Ali as Chloe) and the charisma of a dead fish. Its few moments of creativity (the flying pirate ship is as inspired a setpiece we could get) are flattened by stock action, flaccid chemistry, and a complete waste of the cinematic potential the entire franchise was built on.
51Michael Giacchino

Lightyear // 2.1 // Sci-Fi (Adventure)
dir. Angus MacLane

Easily the weakest Pixar film yet, Lightyear strains to be a zippy-fun space adventure, but (literally) can't even take off. Everything has a dull, gray, weight to it. The humor is lifeless, as are the people. It's plot is scattershot, if not always boring, it's always frustrating. I won't even go into the "twist," but lets just say this has the same exact third act as Lost in Space did 20 years ago. And it worked better then.
50John Powell
Don't Worry Darling

Don't Worry Darling // 2.5 // Thriller (Psychological)
dir. Olivia Wilde

This was not it. There are some great visual and creative choices that manage to keep this afloat for at least a while, but the plot is as thin as a cracker and the characters were in total service to it. This is largely the writing's fault rather than Wilde's direction, and it still features several great scenes and performances (namely Pugh's and Pine's). But when it comes down to it, the film's feminist bite doesn't land. It's sloppy storytelling with a powerful but unfocused message, and that's that.
49The Killers
(RED) Christmas

Violent Night // 2.6 // Christmas (Action)
dir. Tommy Wirkola

When Violent Night is stuffing in gory glee with coal-black humor, it’s a sure-fire winner. The issue is everything else. Between cringey wealth satire and some of the cheesiest Christmas shit I’ve seen years, there’s David Harbour doing his best in a genuinely amusing action romp. Viewer mileage will obviously vary depending on your Christmas cheer—but if you prefer your Christmas movies on the anti- side, I’d steer clear of this one.
48Ludwig Goransson
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever // 2.7 // Superhero (Drama)
dir. Ryan Cooler

With a gaping hole at the center of the film, it’s easy to see why Wakanda Forever suffers a bit of an identity crisis. While the drama is often gripping and Shuri’s arc is delivered with surprising heft, this is a Marvel movie and we need bad guys to fight. Namor’s entrance to the film sounds plausible at first, but the stakes never become personal for him, and his lack of connection to the characters or literally anything else in the movie eventually relegates the villains to a bubble until the third act churns through just as you’d expect. It’s hard to follow one of the few MCU films to break the mold—but to do so with an ending so clean and fanciful (and bordering on tactless given our current international situation) is simply baffling.
Liventure #21

Vesper // 2.9 // Sci-Fi (Thriller)
dir. Kristina Buožytė / Bruno Samper

Despite taking place inside a pulsing world of meticulously designed effects and production design, Vesper is still a dramatic disappointment. Mashed together bits of dystopian fiction create a confused setting for this simple story, and the titular protagonist is often too passive to leave an impact on the audience. While its stunning conclusion is worth the wait, it's hard to ignore the basic storytelling issues that impede this from being a true triumph of arthouse genre cinema.

White Noise // 2.9 // Comedy (Thriller)
dir. Noah Baumbach

White Noise, meaning the static of speakers, jabbering of voices, or (in Baumbach’s case, and) the chaos of public discourse online. Stacked and stacked on one another, plots and arcs and characters are introduced, abandoned, mocked, and structurally disarranged all for the disorienting notion of confusion. While Baumbach and his excellent ensemble (Driver + Gerwig are fantastic and don’t deserve this) bring together palpable pathos to its message (or lack of one), this formlessness isn’t so frustrating as it is plain disaffecting. In the moment it’s engaging, but as a whole, I’ll have more fond memories of the end credits than anything.
45Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley

Elvis // 3.0 // Biopic (Music)
dir. Baz Luhrmann

Like all Luhrmann films, it's half an incredible, dizzying assault on the sense, and half a soggy, paperthin melodrama. When it hits, it absolutely hits, especially in its first two acts' constant interpolation of music to tie sequences together, and watching Austin Butler is an ever-agonizing, beautiful experience. However, this shit spreads its third act across an hour-length of Elvis withering away while performing the same show 800 times while Tom Hanks performs a "I'm old and manipulating you" scene every 8 minutes. Their relationship is the core element of this film--at the same time, it's the shallowest.
44Soundtrack (Film)

Pearl // 3.0 // Horror (Psychological)
dir. Ti West

Pearl is a candy-coated, widescreen ode to cinema that is so delighted with itself it's impossible to look away. Delivering impactful subversion and sympathy for its titular character, Pearl never quite adds up to more than what it is. Perhaps its because we exist in her solipsistic world-view that each of these supporting characters is colored with less vibrance and reality than herself, but at the same time these conflicts never stack up into a charged or particularly exciting narrative. Ultimately, the film justifies Mia Goth's character from X, but not its own existence as a prequel.
43Henry Jackman
The Gray Man

The Gray Man // 3.1 // Action (Thriller)
dir. Joe Russo & Anthony Russo

The Russos tactful but surface-level command of their actors and action worked wonders for the Avengers films that already had plenty of expositional heavyl-lifting baked in, but they ultimately falter here at getting the audience to, well, give much of a shit. That being said, it's a frenetically paced action-thriller that delivers exactly what it promises, with approx. 90% of its back-half comprising of non-stop action sequences in beautiful technicolor glory. Gosling and Co. are all in wonderful form, so if you need a dumb fun watch, look no further. (Actually worked reshoots on this one too. Got to watch the Russos direct, much cooler experience than watching this!)
42Simon Franglen
Avatar: The Way of Water (Original Soundtrack)

Avatar: The Way of Water // 3.1 // Sci-Fi (Epic)
dir. James Cameron

Cameron follows up the single most successful film of all time with a story somehow even more barebones and traditional than the first time around. Instantly severing us from everything we remember in this world (with some truly breathtaking narrative shortcuts), Cameron whisks us off again to worlds new and unexplored, taking the vast majority of its massive runtime to introduce us to the often jagged character arcs of Sully’s kids. Minor conflicts are settled while the Big One is saved for the sequels—for an incessant critic of modern pop-cinema, Cameron sure loves to play franchise chess. At the end of the day, The Way of the Water is honestly a gorgeous, exciting blockbuster adventure. But we deserve one less regressive or cookie-cutter than this.
Every Moment, Everything You Need

Death on the Nile // 3.2 // Mystery (Drama)
dir. Kenneth Branagh

This belated sequel to Branagh's "Orient Express" lacks the sheer amount of star power that lent that haughty mystery some credence, "Nile" might be the more enjoyable of the two (if not the better). Even outside of the gorgeous backdrop, the emphasis on melodrama and attempts to involve Poirot's pathos into the mystery are well-founded, even if they land with a weak thud more often than not. Still, things are notably more engaging this time around, and I can't imagine it being a bad pick for an escapist night with a few glasses of wine. And hey, at least it’s better than Belfast.
40Ludwig Goransson
Turning Red

Turning Red // 3.2 // Coming-of-age (Fantasy)
dir. Domee Shi

Pixar proves that no-one can escape making A24 coming-of-age cringe-comedies, and even one this palatable still struggles to find an individuality that these kinds of films live and die on. While the family dynamic is believable and there's an infectious energy that stops things from ever slowing down, the drama here feels far too universal and platitudinal to truly hit home. There are some incredibly effective moments, but most fail to land sorely because we've seen so many of them done before in the exact same way. It's hard to watch a studio such as Pixar lose touch of its uniqueness, but that's exactly what's happened here.
39Colin Stetson
The Menu

The Menu // 3.3 // Horror (Comedy)
dir. Mark Mylod

While its social satire may lack bite, The Menu is a delectable if slight thriller with a comedic bent. If said comedy didn’t land thanks to the talents of its cast, we might be in deeper waters, but luckily its bloody twists weren’t betrayed by a lack of humor.

Empire of Light // 3.3 // Drama (Romance)
dir. Sam Mendes

Mendes’ dramatic sledgehammer is an ill-fit for this contemplative drama, which largely revolves around intersectional themes concerning gender, race, and mental health. Mendes’ lack of shared identity with his characters is obvious from the start, as certain circumstances manufactured and conversations held betray a fundamental lack of personal experience in his script—but this fault is frequently stayed by the exquisite work of our romantic leads. Thanks to them, for all its thematic noise, the core of the film is entirely believable.
37Terence Blanchard
The Woman King

The Woman King // 3.4 // Historical (Epic)
dir. Gina Prince-Bythewood

As a timely, thrilling historical action flick, The Woman King flourishes—but first and foremost it’s a haphazardly constructed drama packed with soapy reveals and Instagram-model white slavers. As truly wonderful as it is to see a major Hollywood feature rest squarely on the back of wildly skilled black actresses, the film never tops its lavish, violent hook, and loses complexity the longer we know these characters. It’s often too aware of its own conceit, as Disney-esque strings swell over wide shots of black girls training and playing, plunky keys introduce powerful kingdoms as if they were fantasy lands. As great as it can be at times, The Woman King would rather sensationalize its story instead of normalizing it. We can only hope that this leads to more ticket sales, because this is the type of film I would love to see age poorly in the face of better films like it.
36Michael Giacchino and Nami Melumad
Thor: Love and Thunder

Thor: Love and Thunder // 3.4 // Superhero (Fantasy)
dir. Taika Waititi

Free-wheeling into nothingness, Love and Thunder feels like the lightest, slightest entry to come from the MCU in a long time--for better and worse. For better, there are some stellar sequences (largely in act two) that blend humor and action to a sublime degree. For worse, it squanders its dramatic potential with a limp-dick finale that feels like both a regurgitation and reset for the franchise, and it refuses to up the stakes past its shallow kidnapping hook. Wonky shit. Though I will say, it's amazing to see Portman back as an action star finally.
35Alexandre Desplat
The Outfit

The Outfit // 3.5 // Thriller (Crime)
dir. Graham Moore

An old-fashioned, rote but functional one-room thriller, The Outfit owes as much to the stage as it does Hitchcock’s tense editing. It leisurely unfurls like a cat in the sun as Rylance’s meek edge hardens in twist after twist—think that Sideshow Bob rake joke, by the time it finally ends, you’re back on board. It’s a confident directorial debut, one with just enough muscle and restraint to truly play it cool.
Beautiful Garbage

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 // 3.5 // Action (Comedy)
dir. Jeff Fowler

It's rare to see a film own how stupid its script is quite so proudly. It all comes down to direction, Fowler knows exactly how to get a good laugh by playing a ridiculous moment serious. This film is unhinged, spiraling into a neverending third act full of popping color, bombast, and even some wit. Sure, it is a stupid, stupid movie, and one that whiffs hard multiple times--but, true to form, these bumps never slow it down.
33Weird Al Yankovic
Poodle Hat

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story // 3.5 // Biopic (Comedy)
dir. Eric Appel

The music biopic is finally taken down a notch by the perfect man for the job--Weird Al himself. His signature offbeat absurdism (fans of UHF will be pleased) has aged splendidly, and while its low-budget charm wears thin when it churns through the beats a little too cleanly, it's an actually funny and sweet victory lap for a musical icon for the ages.
32Junkie XL
Three Thousand Years of Longing

Three Thousand Years of Longing // 3.5 // Fantasy (Romance)
dir. George Miller

Deeply felt but frustratingly elusive, Miller's latest work chops itself up into mini-stories and beautiful expositions to challenge our notions of storytelling. Still, in revealing so much of the craft, he also removes some of the magic. Its visuals are lush and eye-popping, but its constant diversions delay our connection to our two leads (phenomenally played by Tilda Swinton and Idris Elba.) It certainly finds its way by the moving finale, but it ultimately proves another, possibly unintended point: the storyteller is always more important than the story. And luckily, with Miller, we're in great hands.
Marcel the Shell with Shoes On OST

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On // 3.6 // Comedy (Mockumentary)
Dir. Dean Fleischer-Camp

Marcel the Shell is a lovely and bittersweet tale that ultimately relies too much on the cute charm of its protagonist to make a perfect landing. There's a serious poignancy to Fleischer's character and his observations, but you wish they could've taken the forefront in a debut that feels absolutely stretched to feature-length, as it bullies itself into having a mystery plot and being a metaphor for COVID isolation. I also found it strange that in a time of several high-profile films taking potshots at "the internet", Marcel stubbornly follows suit, when it's hard to think of another character and situation that could benefit more from its limitless information and sense of community.
30Tyler Bates and Chelsea Wolfe

X // 3.6 // Horror (Slasher)
dir. Ti West

X is a fun genre exercise that feigns interest in revisionist horror ideals and generational politics before settling into a by-the-numbers slasher finale--which is hardly a fault. It roots you in just enough character drama so you're not cheering for their demise, but you're never vicariously attached either. This mix of would-be commentary, pulp violence, and the gorgeous retro glow of the cinematography gives this film a deliciously trashy vibe that shouldn't be skipped by any genre fans, but it's also not a must-see for anyone out of its target audience.
29Daniel Pemberton
See How They Run

See How They Run // 3.7 // Mystery (Comedy)
dir. Tom George

A bracingly paced whodunnit without the verve of Knives Out but plenty of the wit, See How They Run manages to be affable entertainment for the majority of its runtime, but peters out in a strangely obligatory-feeling third act. Still, the film further proves that Ronan and Norton are indispensable comedic talents and should be treasured as icons.
28Say Sue Me
The Last Thing Left

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish // 3.7 // Adventure (Fantasy)
dir. Joel Crawford

For all its bouyant charm and agreeable (if not hilarious) humor, what ultimately makes the new Puss in Boots film shine is its surprisingly genuine treatment of its characters. This goes beyond our titular cat, filling a broad ensemble with cartoons cliches played by fantastic actors in a considered script. It's not reinventing the wheel, but as far as this brand of family-friendly action-adventures goes, DreamWorks is returning to form.
27Petrol Girls

Triangle of Sadness // 3.7 // Comedy (Satire)
dir. Ruben Östlund

Endlessly entertaining as a comedy, Triangle of Sadness's success as an audacious satire is unfortunately skin-deep. Even if its narrative flops randomly from dazzling to lazy and back again, there are still great pleasures to be had from the inverting and subverting directions of the plot. Ultimately, even the characters are at the mercy of its impulsive nature; as they lose their specificity and bend to the circumstances around them, so does the satire. As an timely political comic it succeeds greatly, but I'd love to see this through the eyes of one of the Cannes judges who handed it the Palme D'or.
26Mark Isham
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent // 3.8 // Comedy (Action)
dir. Tom Gormican

The definition of "get-what-you-pay-for," Massive Talent is less concerned with massive twists and shake-ups as it is a pulpy good time containing exactly what the trailer promised. Pascal is at an all-time best here, and his moment with Cage exude chemistry and comedy. The action sequences are rightfully absurd, playing up Cage's b-movie appeal to beautiful heights. The melodrama also works just as well as it needs to, allowing us to take it just seriously enough to get lost in it. If you're a fan of Cage or any of the genres this is spoofing, this one is worth a stream.
25Alex G
We're All Going to the World's Fair (OMPS)

We're All Going to the World's Fair // 3.8 // Horror (Drama)
dir. Jane Schoenbrun

A subtle and trancelike probe into themes of online communication and gender dysphoria, …The World's Fair is also a truly unnerving horror film whose lo-fi tendencies never betray an over-reliance on narrative nostalgia. As it morphs distorted, pixellated images to evoke the low-res fears of our youth, it never once stumbles over tired "home video" or "found footage" cliches. Its faults (jerky pacing, confusing linearity, and dense references to lore) are uniquely its own, often due to its modernity and loose form—the same form that allows it to consistently catch the viewer off guard and freak them the fuck out. It's uneven, but it can't help but feel like a new thing. It could be the first sign of the next evolution of indie horror.
24Brian Tyler
Scream (2022)

5cream // 3.9 // Horror (Slasher)
dir. Matt Bettinelli-Olpin & Tyler Gillett

5cream takes a thrilling stab at the franchise legacy, nailing the series' familiar mix of cultural aping and twisty whodunnit licks better than any sequel prior. The "Ready or Not" directors nail the tone, know just when to hold back and when to let it rip, only occaisionally stumbling in some character beats and redundant plot points. Still, things feel dire when the need to, and it never loses its edge while delivering a deliciously delirious third act that shouldn't land, but somehow does just right.
23Wild Pink

Good Night Oppy // 4.0 // Documentary (Space)
dir. Ryan White

Just as bleary-eyed yet sharp as its scientist protagonists, Good Night Oppy shines with the same infectious enthusiasm that makes their cause so endearing, even beyond the science. For those fascinated in space travel and technology, the film has a plethora of interesting tidbits, whose depth more than makes up for the occasionally manipulative swelling score and shots of poor Oppy winding down. It’s bittersweet, engaging, and most importantly, inspirational.
22Kendrick Lamar
Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers

Breaking // 4.0 // Thriller (Drama)
dir. Abi Damaris Corbin

Featuring an awe-inspiring turn from John Boyega in the ravenous lead role, Breaking is a blistering debut feature that succeeds both as a thriller and as a social warning. Everyone in this film is caught in the spiderweb of our labyrinthine bureaucracy, and does their best to wriggle their way into doing the right thing within its rigid confines. Its ratcheting tension comes both from our unfortunate familiarity with this kind of true story (even if you don't know the story, you can guess how it ends) and from the masterful performances from every level of the cast (particularly Nicole Beharie and the late Michael Kenneth Williams). Ultimately, the craftsmanship at work here does justice to its essential themes. For a film like this, that's all you can really ask.
21Justin Hurwitz
Babylon OST

Babylon // 4.0 // Epic (Period)
dir. Damien Gazelle

Chazelle’s love letter to cinema (is it just me, or have we been getting more of these lately?) is a dazzlingly decadent depiction of Early Hollywood, probably coming closer than anyone before at capturing the ever-conflicting allure and danger, growth and rot of the Studio System. And while it may prove be unwieldy or thoughtless at times, it presents its ensemble weave of protagonists, familiar faces, and fading stars all on different stages of the curve with piercing honesty, finding the tapestry of cinema to be shaped by everyone who brushes it.
20Nilufer Yanya

Kimi // 4.1 // Thriller (Tech)
dir. Steven Soderbergh

Soderbergh once again proves himself a master of small-scale thrillers. Kravitz is more than up to the task of leading this incredibly tight and well-paced effort, lending an engaging emotional hook for the audience with her layered and confident performance. The way that Soderbergh stages and frames these encounters is exhilarating in its efficiency, which makes the short bursts of violence all the more shocking and effective. This one hardly reinvents the tech-thriller wheel, but if that's a sub-genre you're interested in, this is a must-watch installment.
19Soundtrack (Film)

Barbarian // 4.1 // Horror (Thriller)
dir. Zach Cregger

This lucid, stylish thriller starts light on scares but effortlessly grounds you in its characters and weird visual language soon enough to deliver on the goods once it matters. This is an eerie film, but one that knows when to take these people seriously and when not to. As it somersaults into its conclusion, it threatens to go over the line several times, but largely manages to remain exploitative rather than insensitive.
18Mark Korven
The Black Phone

18. The Black Phone // 4.1 // Thriller (Supernatural)
dir. Scott Derrickson

Old-fashioned but refreshing, The Black Phone maintains relentless tension that is never bogged down by weighty themes of youth violence and generational trauma. While all the threads might not pay off perfectly, there's no denying how electric and empowering the third act feels when the tables are turned--thanks in no small part to the film's fantastic young actors and Derrickson's empathetic vision.
17Danny Elfman
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

17. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness // 4.2 // Superhero (Fantasy)
dir. Sam Raimi

An absolute slapper of a comic book film that goes a long way towards both driving away long-term fans (likely missing the character content updates the MCU has got them hooked on) and convincing long-term haters and weary moviegoers alike that this franchise has some steam left in it. By adding an established character as the main villain, the trademark Marvel melodrama is amped up to an extreme, and combined with constant delirious visuals and unhinged square-offs, Raimi has successfully delivered the first Marvel film to finally, wonderfully not give a fuck.
16Carter Burwell
The Banshees of Inisherin

The Banshees of Inisherin // 4.2 // Comedy (Drama)
dir. Martin McDonagh

A strong, simple premise bolstered by exemplary direction and performances, it would've been truly difficult to mess this one up. McDonagh succeeds again in delivering a jet-black comedy that makes us question humanity in an elemental way, if in a significantly more lowkey way than his previous film works. Still, Inisherin is regularly alarming, fascinating, and moving in the way it depicts conflict and conscience. Its muted conclusion may frustrate, but rightfully so. These things never do really end, do they?
15Soundtrack (Film)
Top Gun: Maverick (Music from the Motion Picture)

Top Gun: Maverick // 4.3 // Action (Drama)
dir. Joseph Kosinski

An action film for those that think "they don't make them like that anymore," well, now they do. Combining modern-day pyrotechnics and stunt techniques with a vital story on legacy and ego, Maverick is an unlikely panacea for the franchise fatigue we all feel these days. Rather than milking nostalgia for cheap kicks, it doubles-down on the stakes, kickass action sequences, and surprisingly strong drama of the original, essentially delivering everything that audiences loved about Top Gun (which held up incredibly well) and even more.
14Alexandre Desplat
Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio

Guillermo del Toro's Pinnochio // 4.3 // Fantasy (Musical)
dir. Guillermo del Toro and Mark Gustafson

It’s easy to get caught up in the aesthetic, character, and even narrative changes that del Toro serves up in his edition of the Disney classic, but his deep thematic understanding of the story assures us from the start that these tweaks aren’t superfluous. Even if the songs are strained at times, the film is beautiful rendering of a timeless tale, told with the audacity and verve of a storyteller at the height of his talents. And ultimately, it rewards child viewers with an ending that feels so right its impossible to imagine it ended any other way.
13Florence and the Machine
Dance Fever

RRR // 4.3 // Action (Musical)
dir. S. S. Rajamouli

Bold and packed to the brim with tight action scenes and dense storytelling, RRR is a historical epic that openly challenges Hollywood stagnation with vivid imagination. The central dynamic between our two leads works wonders at centering the audience through its length, and its dazzling display of spectacle stops them from ever considering the clock. While its musical numbers and didactic translation may serve as a barrier for those not familiar with foreign filmmaking, it's a film that anyone can love and should give a chance.
12Ozzy Osbourne
Blizzard of Ozz

Bullet Train // 4.3 // Action (Comedy)
dir. David Leitch

Biased because this was my first Hollywood gig, but I thought this was just so much fun. It's rickety pacing and constant barrage of info and characters can be a bit much, but often it only adds to the energetic undercurrent riding through this feature. Leitch once again proves himself as one of the best action directors working in Hollywood today, as his effervescent style and tight choreography lands winces as often as they do laughs. Don't think too hard. Give in.
11Alan Silvestri

Prey // 4.3 // Action (Sci-Fi)
dir. Dan Trachtenberg

A top-notch example of how well small-scale action filmmaking melds with unique genre fare, this is the strongest streaming-only feature released so far this year. Trachtenberg wowed me years ago with his Cloverfield sequel, and this was no different--it's a thrilling, brilliantly choreographed and designed action feature. It's also probably the best Predator film ever. More like this, please!
10Sharon van Etten
We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong

Decision to Leave // 4.4 // Mystery (Romance)
dir. Park Chan-work

As captivating a romance as it is a detective story, Chan-wook’s messy tangling and untangling of lives dives headfirst through its complex plot with unbridled emotion. As magnetism between people overcomes language barriers in the plot, powerful visual storytelling renders their words as mere frosting. This is simply thriller crack with a surprisingly moving drama at its core, with brilliant performances anchoring engrossing characters.
9Michael Abels

Nope // 4.4 // Sci-Fi (Horror)
dir. Jordan Peele

A genuinely freaky film with a steadfast focus on sympathetic characters and crushing suspense, Nope weaves a tight web around its themes without ever spelling them out for the audience--a fault that Peele has fallen prey to in the past. It's genuinely impressive how well everything comes together in the end, even a couple weird bumps in the road do little to distract from that mysterious dark cloud that looms over the entire film. It's hard to praise this one more without dipping into spoilers, but this one proves that Get Out wasn't just lightning in a bottle--Peele is now officially a director to be reckoned with.
8Michael Giacchino
The Batman

The Batman // 4.5 // Superhero (Noir)
dir. Matt Reeves

A gripping, moody action film framed so well through its crime genre lens that it immediately eschews any tonal comparison to the Nolan films, it's also very much a Batman film. Possibly the most comics-literate of any adaptation, it also has the strongest grip on the heart of the character since Batman Returns, and Pattinson melts into the character with charismatic grief. It's gorgeous, dense, and intricately plotted, with very little (but of course some) fat to trim. Perhaps the most commendable aspect is how well they transition the character of Batman to the 2020s--a very different social era than just ten years ago (we just can't have Batman mindlessly shelling the impoverished with rubber bullets these days). Batman's slow turn from a spirit of vengeance to a symbol of hope for a better future is moving to watch in a world plagued by common trauma.
7Howard Shore
Crimes of the Future

Crimes of the Future // 4.5 // Sci-Fi (Horror)
dir. David Cronenberg

Cronenberg has always been smart enough to know that the human condition is a Jenga tower—remove one block as simple and vital and pain and everything, both socially and bodily, will be irreparably changed. Every one of the toppling concepts and designs of Crimes of the Future emanates from this simple premise of “a world without pain,” and while they might suffocate a slighter artist, Cronenberg remains head above water to deliver a number of kaleidoscopic statements on our rapidly changing world, and how artists play their part in facilitating that. He’s at the top of his game, and his brilliant cast and crew rises to his every eclectic whim of sex, gore, love, and fear. Once again, the man is ahead of his time.
Blood Harmony

Vengeance // 4.6 // Mystery (Drama)
dir. B.J. Novak

A sobering but pitch-perfect skewering of liberal narcissism, Novak directs his debut feature with as much precision as he acts. This at once managed to be an intriguing mystery but never once lost sight of the conflict that its Southern setting brings to the table. The fact that it manages to be one of the strongest political films in recent memory, while also commenting on media's own need to sensationalize stories over people. If people don't matter--why tell stories at all?
5Gustav Mahler
Symphony No. 5 in C sharp minor

TÁR // 4.7 // Drama (Psychological)
dir. Todd Field

A compelling, thrillingly modern character piece, Tár is stuffed to the brim with volumes of episodes about art vs. the artist and the insurmountable pressures present society places on successful creatives. It's a decidedly objective take that encourages the audience to make up their own mind, while also being told explicitly from Lydia Tár's exacting perspective. Cate Blanchette gives the performance of a generation as a magnetic, predatory superstar that finds herself quickly losing control of her life. I can't recommend this one enough.
4Nathan Johnson
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Glass Onion // 4.8 // Mystery (Comedy)
dir. Rian Johnson

Upping the ante on both the satire and the sentiment, Johnson delivers not just the funniest film of the year, but one of the sharpest. Distancing itself in setting, structure, tone, hell just about any way it can from the first one outside of its gleaming central sleuth (Craig again dazzles in the role), Glass Onion takes a hard left into the chaos of the post-COVID world. Despite this, it somehow retains both its escapism and immersion, along with one of the most audacious climaxes its genre has seen. I surprised myself with how much I loved this one.
3Robin Carolan and Sebastian Gainsborough
The Northman

The Northman // 4.8 // Epic (Historical)
dir. Robert Eggers

Eggers is simply a master of his craft, and The Northman proves it further. His detailed consideration to both production design and emotional realism lend a huge credence to his worlds--you could convince me this is exactly how it looked and felt to live in this time with these peoples. This talent warms the smaller moments, and makes its staccato descents into rampant aggression and cruelty all the more powerful. No matter how ridiculous, fucked up, or insane it gets, you believe every single moment. This film is further proof that the culture cycle is complete, and we've finally circled back into another Golden Age of genre filmmaking.
2Son Lux
Everything Everywhere All at Once

Everything Everywhere All at Once // 4.8 // Sci-Fi (Action)
dir. Dan Kwan & Daniel Scheinert

An ADD-riddled blitzkrieg of nonstop gags, action, and existential crises, EEAO tears straight into the heart of all conflict—lack of understanding. This is a film of openness, acceptance, and the universality of human emotions. It's a plot so extreme and unbelievable, and yet so relatable in a time where we all can't help but imagine how different things could've gone. The Daniels manage to mesh all these contradictory genres, emotions, and visuals into a wholly moving product—and it's nothing short of witchcraft.
1Let's Eat Grandma
Two Ribbons

Aftersun // 4.9 // Drama (Psychological)
dir. Charlotte Wells

Aftersun joins the ranks of recent expressionist dramas that filter their narratives and chronology through their protagonists’ splintered worldviews. What makes Aftersun the best of the its esteemed peers is its ability to effortlessly maneuver roaring shifts in tension, striking gold in its story of self-conscious parenting by emphasizing all the wrong choices without once becoming exploitational or maudlin. Its viewpoint isn’t sober or clear-eyed, avoiding objectivity by shining its scrupulous father figure through alternating emotional prisms. Like all the best character studies, it leaves audiences to damn its subject as they see fit. It’s the best drama of the year, with exhilarating form.
Show/Add Comments (35)


Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Site Copyright 2005-2022
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy