The Devil All the Time (2020)

Sinister characters converge around a young man devoted to protecting those he loves in a postwar backwoods town teeming with corruption and brutality. (IMDb)
Well-made, not just in its technical elements but in the way it deftly ties its many characters and generation-long plot threads together in such a satisfying (and ultimately surprisingly positive, as suspicion and violence give way to trust and sleep) manner, making for a powerfully morbid epic on the dangers of religion. That said, it’s done through a distanced, fairy tale-like approach that prevents it from ever reaching emotional dramatic excellence despite solid turns by the whole cast.
7.5/10 (Really Good)

Tenet (2020)

Armed with only one word, Tenet, and fighting for the survival of the entire world, a Protagonist journeys through a twilight world of international espionage on a mission that will unfold in something beyond real time. (IMDb)
Couldn’t hear half the dialogue and only understood half of the rest, but it’s a testament to Nolan’s ambitious and undeniably exciting brand of filmmaking that I was on the edge of my seat throughout regardless: the espionage plot and sci-fi concept are both confusing but compelling, the action is brilliant, the technical aspects top notch. It’s a shame the only emotion is found in yet another Russian villain and a simply modernized damsel-in-distress (Debicki’s turn remains excellent though).
7.5/10 (Really Good)

JWM SPOOKATHON 2019: The Lighthouse (2019)

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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)
CREEPY QUOTE:
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

 

Good Time (2017)

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After a heist goes awry, a bank robber spends a night trying to free his mentally handicapped brother from being sent to Riker’s Island prison. (IMDb)
Claustrophobic, anxiety-provoking, and just generally discomforting: All negative descriptors, but in this case they’re just a testament to the gripping atmosphere created by the well-crafted gritty thriller script (Ray’s tangential story was the one hiccup), memorable turns and score, and bold camerawork (see the glut of shaky close-ups, birds-eye car shots). All of this is brilliantly bookended by two tear-jerking scenes of innocence that stand in sharp contrast to the grime in the middle.

9/10 (Amazing)

– #5 on my Top 10 Most Underrated Films list