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Letterboxd Loose Ends 2022

Bite-sized film reviews

When a Stranger Calls

I could never have believed how boring this is if I hadn’t seen it for myself.

Mare of Easttown

It’s hard to square the twisty pulp charm of the whodunit with the relentless emotional sadism of the drama—virtually every character who isn’t hopelessly broken at the beginning is hopelessly broken by the end—but I definitely don’t regret watching, so I guess it’s well-crafted enough to have it both ways.

The Visitor

There’s at least a handful of late-’70s genre oddities that somehow wrangled stylish production and bankable stars in support of truly bizarre ideas. If one of them were to really nail that art-damaged-big-budget-B-movie alchemy, it could be the holy grail of weird cinema, and I hold out hope that such a thing exists. But until it surfaces, I’ll continue to be mildly disappointed by The Visitor, The Manitou, Altered States, et al: amazing trailers that make for somewhat underwhelming features.

Jackass Forever

I’ve never been less worried about Steve-O, and it feels good.

The Ear

I was never brave enough to ask what would make Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? an even more fraught experience, but yeah, putting it under an authoritarian regime does the trick.

A Quiet Place Part II

If you have a thing for endless closeups of extremely filthy bare feet, have I got the movie for you

The Big Sleep

Relocating Philip Marlowe from 1940s Los Angeles to 1970s London is such a patently terrible idea that it’s no wonder no one involved in this seems to make much of an effort. But some contributions seem actively intent on dragging it down even further, most notably the tacky TV movie aesthetics and Candy Clark’s embarrassing, absolutely ridiculous take on Camilla (née Carmen) Sternwood. Awful.


I’m all for the post-A24 let’s-get-gnarly thing, but can we please do it with some more imagination?


There’s a lot to like here. It’s stylish and warm and conveys an understanding of brutality without feeling the need to bludgeon its audience. It feels very Bacurau by way of From Dusk Til Dawn: a remote community in a poor part of the world, a certain mysticism, a pronounced genre shift in the final act. And its most important characters manage to breathe real humanity into shallow genre archetypes. It’s all just a bit rushed, though, and its relatively short run time dulls its impact.

Speak No Evil

You know, after watching Watcher earlier in the day, I was like, “Maybe I’m just not a slow burn kind of guy.” And then Speak No Evil comes along to remind me how it’s done. This thing had its hooks in me from start to finish. It is cold-fucking-blooded. Obligatory warning: Parents of young kids might want to steer clear.

Tetsuo: The Iron Man

The kind of thoroughly bonkers extravaganza that could easily elicit a bewildered “Well, that was certainly… a movie,” but the thing is, that response is actually pretty accurate and appropriately concise. This movie is more movie than almost any other movie, in that it embraces the form with such maximalist abandon as to leave it completely spent in just over an hour.

Saving Christmas

I genuinely appreciate when a movie I know is going to be wretched proves to be significantly worse than I thought possible, so I have no regrets, but this was truly painful all the same.


Why do all the Kansas City mafiosos in this have Brooklyn accents?

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

I came for the stop-motion, but it wasn’t enough to keep me from bailing about halfway through. I assume there are more songs, and I’m not sorry to have missed them.

Scared Stiff

I’m not well versed in the Hong Kong school of “what if [title of recent successful American movie], but completely incoherent?,” but between Magic Crystal’s kung fu/E.T./Indiana Jones cocktail and Scared Stiff’s action/bromance/comedy take on Nightmare on Elm Street, I’m more than sufficiently compelled to investigate further.