The Neon Demon

The Neon Demon shares a Grecian passion for allegory, telling a story of envy as a clash of idols in an uncertain realm. This film speaks through its eyes. It’s not really a movie with “characters.” It more resembles a statue gallery: Refn might be an over-imaginative child walking through it, making up the life and times of the stone prisoners cursed to stare at each other forever.

True Grit (2010)

The Western is a myth of values. True Grit is a story that appreciates these values without necessarily approving of them. This is a film made in the spirit of a long tradition, which is surprising coming from the usually more provocative Coen Brothers. But its subtle changes should not be ignored – they contain all its secret truths, and theirs.

The Man Who Invented Christmas

A Christmas Carol is such a tired tale by now that the first task of this new film should have been to make old hat seem tailored for the first time. But as Dickens picks up well-known artifices of his story off the street, you become infected by that terribly un-jolly feeling that this is one of those movies – one in which random people will speak full Dickensian quotes for the good author to overhear and jot down, in which everyone he meets has a name that will go into one of his stories.

Joe

Without Joe’s perspective of the world he hates, there’s nothing – not even resentment – with which we can empathize. Joe is left merely with things we can’t condone. This doesn’t prevent it from stopping your blood with its performances. The depth of Cage’s eyes describes hurt in ways that words fail.

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.

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.

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.