The Worst Titles of the Year 2022

I really had to come around on this. While better than “Predator: Skulls,” which was floating around for a while, “Prey” is way too common a title. Even in one medium – video games – it’s contentious, with a 2006 Prey and a completely unrelated 2017 Prey that had the title foisted upon it. It’s also a movie about lions and a Michael Crichton book about deadly nanoparticles. … More The Worst Titles of the Year 2022

Selfish, by YooA

There are two hurdles for me and music, and maybe K-pop in particular: repetition, and “cool.” I may need to explain the latter. I don’t know if it was just the environment I grew up in, but I felt like the only thing worse than being uncool was trying to be cool. Even today, nothing is worse than cringe; nobody likes Elon Musk. For me, Blackpink skews too western, and while I respect their artistry – I love Jisoo’s voice – there can be something uncanny about the style. It’s like when anime music has too much broken English. Remember Black Lagoon? … More Selfish, by YooA

Give Me My Turtle Back! | Decision to Leave (2022) Review

Decision to Leave is South Korea’s submission for the American Oscars, and it is, in no way, an Oscar contender. It is not an event film, it is not an issues movie, it’s not based on a book. And yet, Park won Best Director at Cannes, and I can see why. His actors, Tang Wei and Park Hae-il, are electric and lived-in, respectively. His touch with film language is delicate but precise. The way he plays with time and space can only be described as “masterful,” in the sense that he becomes like a god of time and space. We see the flash of an image, and moments later, that image is contextualized, shepherding us through the story with a proper disorientation. In fact, we’re being oriented toward puzzle-solving. You could put a crumpled paper bag in front of Park Chan-wook, and he’d shoot it the one way that would make you feel something. If one of his films happens to be emotionally bereft, more fascinated by than curious about human nature, it must have been a choice. … More Give Me My Turtle Back! | Decision to Leave (2022) Review

Shiny New Toys | The Return of Godzilla (1984) Review

It was, for me as well, a long-awaited return, as this 1984 film truthfully entitled “Godzilla” didn’t see a home video release in the United States until May 2016. By that time, we’d abandoned the term “home video!” I mean, I waited longer than contemporary audiences had between this film and the previous installment, 1975’s Terror of Mechagodzilla, and as such, had viewed 2016’s Shin Godzilla before this one. I knew that The Return of Godzilla was an attempt to take Godzilla “back to its roots” – that old chestnut – and featured American and Soviet politicians arguing with the Japanese in conference rooms. Sure sounds like the 1980s version of Shin Godzilla, but with a little more cheese and vintage effects. What I got was far closer to the 1954 original, a lumbering near-docudrama – with a little more cheese and vintage effects. … More Shiny New Toys | The Return of Godzilla (1984) Review

Notes on The Dropout

After a phenomenal debut with one of the best seasons of television in the 21st century, the American Crime Story anthology slowly drifted off my radar. I got partway into the second season, The Assassination of Gianni Versace, but it didn’t grab me the same way as the original. Season three (or possibly two) was supposed to be about Hurricane Katrina, and that was delayed before being reworked into this year’s Five Days at Memorial. Finally, we have Impeachment: American Crime Story, and I haven’t seen it yet. In the meantime, I have The Dropout. … More Notes on The Dropout

Ten Directors Challenge

This morning, a friend messaged me his list of ten favorite directors as part of a Twitter challenge, appending a note of concern that his picks were too bro-y. In retrospect, I’m not sure if that meant genre-wise or that they were all men. There are lists out there of female directors and I’ve certainly enjoyed many female-directed movies, but my own list is the same kind of bro-y. In no particular order (and because I’m not on Twitter) … More Ten Directors Challenge

Happy Birthday 2022

It’s extraordinary, how quickly one ages. My appreciation of time itself has been warped lately, but think about it. We’ve decided that “your prime” is your 20s. If you’re fortunate (or bamboozled) enough to go to college, you graduate at, what, 21? A little delayed, time to celebrate? No, time to get a job. I hope you majored in web programming or graphic design, or have the connections to try business or law or film. You have four years to figure it out. … More Happy Birthday 2022