Starting 2023 with Skinamarink

As some of you may know, I like to reserve my horror movies for the month of October. However, because I’m a sucker for the found footage genre, and January expectedly provides so little potential in theatrical selections, I had to give this critically acclaimed oddity a chance. I’m glad I did, and I’m grateful…

Reely Bernie’s Top Ten of 2022

This was my favorite stretch of movies since the dire reality of March of 2020. Laughing at the face of COVID with new, audacious filmmaking playbooks and neo-classical perspectives, 2022 cracked the medium wide open. This was also a tougher year for me to choose just ten. I realize many will have Everything Everywhere All…

Reely Bernie’s Top 5 Worst Movies of 2022

Before I share my Top Ten of 2022 next week, I thought it might be fun to dish out my least favorite experiences watching movies this year. Like an expired carton of milk, the nausea of the flu during Thanksgiving break, or the wretched shrieking of a toddler, bad movies do exist, and they can…

A Warm Hug from The Fabelmans

Steven Spielberg is the movie industry’s ultimate protagonist, an influencer of the coming-of-age narrative, and an auteur of visual storytelling. Born into the Spielbergian suburbs of the 80s, I was blessed to grow up with his imagination and knack for child-height thrills. Little did I know that Spielberg instilled a tiny moviegoer in me in…

Banshees of Inisherin an Ode to Loneliness

Playwright Martin McDonagh writes with a knife to a rock, etching in truths that are hard for his characters to swallow. “I just don’t like you no more,” Colm Doherty tells his long-time friend and drinking buddy, Pádraic Súilleabháin. It is the stuff of absurd finality that one either laughs off as “only the Irish”…

Reely Bernie Horror Fest: Double Feature!

Happy Halloween, good friends! I want to thank Max at PowerPop for recommending It’s Alive (1974) and John at The Quick Flick Critic for recommending Prophecy (1979) as my final two horror movies to watch and review before the day of spooks vanishes into the night. It just so happens that both schlocky B movies…

Tár Crescendos to the Top of the Year

“The narcissism of small differences leads to the most boring kind of conformity.” Filmmaker Todd Field’s previous masterpieces in In the Bedroom (2001) and Little Children (2006) invite the viewer behind the closed doors of a darker American suburbia where secrets fester and unethical decisions are made. On the surface, we may be quick to…

Reely Bernie Horror Fest: Nitram (2021)

“He was laughing at my pain…like it was the funniest thing in the world.” Origin/Director: Australia/Justin Kurzel Viewings Tally: Recommended on Letterboxd. This was my first viewing. Categorically, not a horror movie, but as a character study, this couldn’t be any more horrific. Synopsis: Based on true events, “Nitram” lives with his parents in suburban…

Reely Bernie Horror Fest: Watcher (2022)

“I’ve always wanted to live an aimless existence in Bucharest; smoking cigarettes and scaring my neighbors with my hysterics.” Origin/Director: United Arab Emirates, USA, Romania/Chloe Okuno Viewings Tally: I realize there are literally over 20 movie titles with the word “Watcher” in them. There’s even a Netflix series coming out soon called “The Watcher.” (How…

Score: A Film Music Doc (2016)

“We’re the last people on earth who – on a daily basis – commission orchestral music. Without us, the orchestras might disappear…” -Hans Zimmer As a high school music teacher for 20 years and an avid moviegoer, I’m not sure how this one got away from me, but it showed up for free on my…

Upholding the Mystery in What Is David Bowie

I always thought David Bowie, the person, was more intriguing than David Bowie, the musician. Something about the mystique of his androgynous alter persona and heavily costumed stagecraft usurped the controls from anything musicological or biographically revelatory. I think the very private “Mr. Stardust” himself would have liked it that way. Director Brett Morgen’s Moonage…

Idris Elba’s Pièce de Résistance for Three Thousand Years

Idris Elba is the bomb. Whether he’s laundering money in “The Wire,” sporting an office cubicle suit while supervising Michael Scott, or lawyering it up in my favorite role of his in Molly’s Game (2017) —Elba exudes a Denzel Washington-like glide (his admitted influence) and the subdued empathy of a flawed saint. The role of…

Reely Bernie Horror Fest: You Won’t Be Alone (2022)

IT’S A WICKED THING THIS WORLD. Origin/Director: Australia and Serbia/Goran Stolevski Viewings Tally: This was my first viewing! I wanted to make sure to include a recent horror release in my lineup. Synopsis: In an isolated mountain village in 19th century Macedonia, a young feral witch accidentally kills a peasant. She assumes the peasant’s shape…

The Found Footage Phenom.

“When found footage is done well, it feels like you’re watching real people in real situations. And that means that there are real stakes. It’s subversive.” Origin/Director: USA/Phillip Escott, Sarah Appleton Viewings Tally: This was my first viewing! It was recommended to me by some friends via the Letterboxd app. If you’re a found footage…

Reely Bernie Horror Fest: Killer Legends

“Every town has its legends. Every neighborhood has its boogeymen. ” Origin/Director: USA/Joshua Zeman Viewings Tally: This was my first viewing! I saw and enjoyed Joshua Zeman’s Cropsey in 2009 and was intrigued by the urban myth he grew up with on Staten Island during the 80s. Synopsis: Delving into our collective nightmares, this horror-documentary…

Yup and Nope to “Nope”

Until its “ah-ha” moment at the end, Jordan Peele’s Get Out (2017) was a unique blend of almost satire, almost horror, and almost socioracial statement. Staying at almost would have kept it above standard, but there’s no denying the ending was a predictable horror movie cliché.  Peele’s second round with Us (2019) also started strong…

Halloween in July

I started keeping track of it three years ago when it happened on August 2nd. Two years ago, it was July 28th. This year, the record goes to July 15th! These are summer dates in which the temperatures get as high as 100 degrees in Colorado, and they also happen to be when Spirit Halloween…

The Satisfactory Polarization of “Elvis”

Watching a Baz Luhrmann movie is like sitting in front of a gold confetti-blasting canon. It’s style over substance, obnoxious over subtle — a nightmare for minimalist cinephiles like me. For anyone with a smidgen of an attention span, conveying a groundbreaking musician’s artistry on film just takes hitting a record button. Ever see last…

The Horrors of Men

Director Alex Garland of Ex Machina (2015) and Annihilation (2018) is kind of like today’s Stanley Kubrick: he delivers suspense in a laborious yet enthralling manner, and his production designs approximate to sterile, Art Deco waiting rooms at the dentist.Maybe more a “tech thriller” creator, Garland provides a cool, calculated horror story set in a…

Top Gun: Maverick a Blast from the Past

For me, seeing Top Gun: Maverick is about nostalgia fulfillment, and that couldn’t be any more fun for a child of the 80s. I remember when my uncle installed a “home theatre” projection and sound setup in his basement, and the first movie he wanted to test the experience with was Top Gun. “I hope…

Nic Cage vs. The Northman

April tends to play out merely as buildup for summer movie blockbusters. Sometimes, there are unexpected hits (Everything Everywhere All at Once). Mostly, it’s a month full of mindless but somewhat pleasing cash grabs (The Bad Guys) and wretched duds (Morbius). Although I only really liked one of them, The Northman and The Unbearable Weight…

Everything Everywhere All at Once

“The moment you realize you are not present, you are present. Whenever you are able to observe your mind, you are no longer trapped in it. Another factor has come in, something that is not of the mind: the witnessing presence.”             -Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now As if (Being) John Malkovich warped through…

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