Alien: Resurrection

Alien: Resurrection is not unified by its cynicism as Robocop was. It’s not a satire of us, but just a satire of Alien movies. It’s never boring and that’s actually something, in the realm of fourth entries. The reason this film is in the category of “Everyone Else is Wrong” is not because I think it’s good, but because I don’t know what people were expecting.

Her

The first thing that must be clear about Her is that it is not satirical: its future is a believable take on a theme of hipster consumerism. Its people are realistically quirky. They are surrounded by fakery but they are not fake. They are peculiar and humane, rediscovering their spirits in a backwards world. Jonze excels at telling a story of us exaggerated into its essentials.

The Thing (1982)

In this film, the divisions that we value so much, out of which we create our sense of individuality, will victimize us to a terrifying monster of collectivity. The Thing absorbs and unifies life where suspicious and divided people destroy it. This is Invasion of the Body Snatchers accelerated to universality.

Wish Upon

Though it’s awkwardly unscary, even anti-scary because of your inevitable laughter, its flaws are deeper than its genre. This movie is eerily comfortable offering nothing new to horror movies with a premise that, when it was just on paper, was okayed by someone without any plea for originality.

The Cloverfield Paradox

I have not in recent memory seen a film whose concept is more divergent from its filmmaking than The Cloverfield Paradox. It is a movie so dumbfoundingly predictable and yet so incomprehensible that it becomes meaningless even as an average film, a paradox only in the sense that its grand pretensions cannot occupy the same space as the need to connect a franchise that was never intended to be cohesive.

The Wailing (Gokseong)

Every frame of The Wailing wades into dream space and out again. Nature in it becomes a backdrop not just to a murder investigation but to the primordial evils of human emotion that would make such an investigation necessary to begin with. We never know if people murder each other because of the anger pent up in a demonic spirit or just the anger pent up in themselves.

Alien 3

I’m aware that Alien 3 had a troubled development and a schizophrenic screenwriting cycle, all documented to any reasonable human’s satisfaction on Wikipedia. But if the result had been miraculous, Fincher would have reaped the credit as a directorial miracle worker. Blame is now the price of that possibility.

Fantastic Four (2015)

If Fantastic Four is supposed the be the story of a superhero family, the 2015 adaptation makes them seem as unsupportive as you can be before civil action becomes your only option. Not only do they see no beauty or meaning in their heroic endowments, but they are so quick to give up their integrity after the accident that you think, as you never should, that these people don’t deserve their gifts.

Face/Off

The transition is over pretty quickly. Face/Off is not about change, but about how the face we have and the role we are given dictates how we act. As soon as the act of transferring one actor’s soul to the other’s body is complete in the mind of the audience, the only task remaining is all performance.

Boogie Nights

Nowadays, a lot of our low-rent Friday night openings could be called socially pardoned porn. The odd thing about Boogie Nights is how strictly like old Hollywood it is—it is not itself a porn film at all. Sex is so commodified in Boogie Nights that Anderson has abstracted it beyond sexiness.

My Neighbor Totoro

The climax of My Neighbor Totoro doesn’t involve the Volvo-sized hamster of the title, nor does it involve a sick mother who can only be cured by magic – it involves only a five-year-old girl who is lost and scared because she thinks that she can. Like childhood the film involves a lot of running around and laughing and getting grass stains in exotic places. And it drifts into genuine fear, and magic saves the day.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

If Raiders was a backyard adventure where we put on our explorer’s hat and went bucket-and-shoveling out into the woods for buried treasure, The Last Crusade is like watching a home movie of it. It’s still got the same gee-whizz endearment but in a “boy, don’t we look silly” kind of way.

Jack and Jill

This 2011 double-Sandler performance accentuates his impenetrable laziness, even more so that he performs twice and acts half as much. Those familiar with how much work his work has become for him, should know the drill: the crotch-shots, the desperate laughter, the screaming, the falling down, the farting, the falling down and farting, the marginalization humor and innocent sex ploys.

Rio Bravo

In Hawks’ film, death threats roll off Wayne’s boy scout smile like rain off an imperious old duck; characters are named Feathers, Stumpy, Colorado and Dude. Rio Bravo doesn’t have the best upbringing, but nothing can stop it from being the best “hangout” in all the movies.