High Tension (aka Switchblade Romance) (review)

How do you solve a problem like Marie? We haven’t seen a horror-movie heroine like her since perhaps *Alien*’s Ripley, ardently independent and fiercely determined not to be a victim… but with a twist to her psyche that will, I suspect, be a greater source of fascinated, can’t-look-away terror to male audiences than the nonstop gore. For there is an aggressively sexual element to Marie’s intensity that ends up being the most vivid thing about *High Tension* — sublimated female rage and passion are given full, furious expression here, and… wow, does it make for a shocking, provocative, unforgettable movie about how women are too often overlooked, ignored, underestimated, and misunderstood.

Downfall (Der Untergang) movie review

Berlin has been reduced to rubble, the Russians are overrunning the city, 10-year-old kids are fighting alongside soldiers in the streets, and a once-proud citizenry has been completely demoralized. The reaction from the nation’s leadership: “The German people chose their fate,” Joseph Goebbels says with a shrug — after all, they elected the man who … more…

Nobody Knows (review)

White noise is the soundtrack for this grimly elegant urban fairy tale — the rattle of a subway train, the whirr-hum of a washing machine, the gentle susurrus of a child’s snores — as if soft grumbling complaints were all the attention the world could spare its four child heroes, lost in the big city, … more…

Ju-on: The Grudge and The Grudge (review)

Horror films have their own special guidelines when it comes to plausibility: basically, there aren’t any. And the Japanese flick *Ju-on: The Grudge,* which had a limited American release earlier this year, takes even greater liberties in the credibility area than most. Fortunately, writer/director Takashi Shimizu has enough tricks up his sleeve to make you forget that he’s not making one whit of sense. Logic is never a strong deciding factor, anyway, when you’re looking for a flick to give you goosebumps, which this one does, if only in moderate measure. Plus, creepy as it sporadically is, you can poke fun at it, too: The rage is coming from inside the house!

Stander (review)

A familiar modern Robin Hood story gets a vicious kick of authenticity in this true tale of a white cop in 1970s apatheid South Africa who goes rogue. Andre Stander (The Punisher‘s Thomas Jane, in the performance that may finally earn him the recognition he deserves) was the youngest captain on the Johannesburg police force … more…

Dances with Wolves (review)

Dances with Wolves is one of the most visually and emotionally stunning movies I’ve ever seen, a glimmer of another world where less might have been lost if more people had been as open and friendly as John Dunbar. From John Barry’s stirring score to director/producer Costner’s daring presentation of a huge chunk of the movie in the beautiful Sioux Lakota language (with subtitles), this is a majestic requiem for a world that is gone.