The Addams Family (1991)


Con artists plan to fleece an eccentric family using an accomplice who claims to be their long-lost uncle. (IMDb)
The plot isn’t terribly compelling but the upside-down dynamics of the titular family more than make up for it. They’re kooky, crafty, and hilariously morbid (young Wednesday of course is a highlight: “Are they made from real Girl Scouts?”)–and a far cry from the harried suburban Mom & Dad of 90s VHS tapes are parents Gomez and Morticia who ooze romantic passion (“How long has it been since we’ve waltzed?” “Oh Gomez.. hours”). Endlessly quotable and wholly memorable (see the bloody school play).
8/10 (Great)


Dolemite Is My Name (2019)


Eddie Murphy portrays real-life legend Rudy Ray Moore, a comedy and rap pioneer who proved naysayers wrong when his hilarious, obscene, kung-fu fighting alter ego, Dolemite, became a 1970s Blaxploitation phenomenon. (IMDb)
Moore’s exuberance, creativity, and determination as a true and crude man of the people carried his career through any and all obstacles–and through Murphy’s excellent portrayal it carries this film too, with its biggest obstacle being the script’s failure to dwell on any of the obstacles in Moore’s trajectory to the top. So the journey’s a little too light and breezy, but like Moore’s crew you just can’t help but get caught up in the scandalous and silly fun of it all (see the sex scene shoot).
7/10 (Good)


JWM SPOOKATHON 2019: The Thing (1982)


A research team in Antarctica is hunted by a shape-shifting alien that assumes the appearance of its victims. (IMDb)
Here’s the thing (sorry not sorry), this would’ve been a good movie even without those glorious and gutsy practical effects: the slow-burning plot of discovery and suspicion, the freezing Antarctica setting, the simmering tension and subtle chills of the ambiguous ending (“Why don’t we just wait here for a little while, see what happens?”). But then you add in a cavity with teeth (hah), a spider-head (“You gotta be fuckin’ kidding”), and an octopus dog and The Thing goes from good to great.
8/10 (Great)

MacReady: Somebody in this camp ain’t what he appears to be. Right now that maybe one or two of us. By spring, it could be all of us.



JWM SPOOKATHON 2019: The Lighthouse (2019)


The hypnotic and hallucinatory tale of two lighthouse keepers on a remote and mysterious New England island in the 1890s. (IMDb)
Superhero movies are a treat to watch in the theatre to be sure, but this movie was a true feast (no need to call upon Triton, Eggers, I loved your cooking). Every shot is a marvel, matched by the exquisite sound design and fantastic dialogue as together they capture all the madness, mystery, dark humour, and weathered nature of the two memorable leads and the wild setting they occupy. The cyclical story starts to feel a little soggy 2/3s of the way in, but the searing climax makes up for it.
8.5/10 (Amazing)
Ephraim Winslow: What made your last keeper leave?
Thomas Wake: He believed that there was some enchantment in the light. Went mad, he did.

SPOOKY STILL:the20lighthouse


JWM SPOOKATHON 2019: Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007)


Warring Alien and Predator races descend on a rural Colorado town, where unsuspecting residents must band together for any chance of survival. (IMDb)
Holy Colorado, the bloody devastation brought upon this poor ol’ small town with its sheriff and diner and high school pool.. two-thirds in, the power’s out and everyone we’ve met is getting ripped apart. “See? No monsters.” Damn. Say what you want about the rest of the film (the character writing is pretty weak and cheesy; that butt shot was definitely unnecessary), but the horror (not just from the monsters–see the climax), in its bold, unrelenting, and impartial nature, is quite effective.
6.5/10 (Alright)
Kelly O’Brien: You know, when I was your age, I used to have these awful nightmares.
Molly: It was real.


CJ7 (2008)


A poor Chinese laborer learns important lessons after his son gets a strange new toy. (IMDb)
A touching father-son drama and wacky kid comedy all in one (Xu nails the facial expressions for both), with some sci-fi thrown in there for shits and giggles (actually tho). Uproariously funny and heart-achingly poignant (see battered Dicky yell “bitterness, like the sea, is boundless!” before bounding up a million feet in the air with his super shoes), with our titular hero–a rubbery lime-green alien dog with a heart of gold and divine healing powers–embodying this wild mix of emotions.
8/10 (Great)
– #9 on my Top 10 Most Underrated Films list


Boogie Nights (1997)


The story of a young man’s adventures in the California pornography industry of the late 1970s and early 1980s. (IMDb)
I dunno, amidst all its characters and plot lines, in the end it lacks a certain, ahem, thrust, with no clear arc or, heh, climax to speak of (the hypnotic back-and-forth between limo and truck came close but didn’t quite land). That said, its “slice of life” structure is certainly done very well, with the majority of its many characters and scenes quite memorable and mull-worthy (Reilly’s earnest Reed and the dramatic/comedic drug deal probably top the list). Great music and camerawork too.
7.5/10 (Really Good)