Denis Villeneuve's Grand and Gorgeous Epic is as Insightful about Sincerity and Strategy as it is Engaging on the Broad Levels of a Big-Budget Studio Blockbuster.


Matthew Vaughn has Officially become a Director of Diminishing Returns with this Overstuffed and Laughably Corny Slog of a Spy Caper.


This Trip back to North Shore High Justifies itself by still being Sharp in its Observations of Vacuousness.


Writer/Director Cord Jefferson’s Feature Debut Splits the Difference Between Searing Satire and Emotional Family Drama Coming out a Winner in Both Respects.


Emma Stone is Daring and Mark Ruffalo is Hilarious in this Surreal Fever Dream of Philosophy and Attempting to Understand our Nature through Unorthodox Methods.

Top 10 of 2022

This year was a bit of a contradiction in movie watching and movie criticism for me. After being able to get back into the swing of things with my YouTube channel, TAVERN TALK, in 2021 this year marked the first full calendar year in which I produced a weekly video review of the biggest release of the week on my own. I’m proud of what that channel has become and the people that I have been able to meet reviewing movies in this fashion even if the growth hasn’t been what I’d like it to be. I wish I could dedicate countless hours to the channel and produce multiple videos a day, but that's just not in the cards at this point in life and the amount of work it takes to produce these reviews at the level of quality I like and the consistency I’ve done has come to also hinder my viewing habits - cutting into time I could have spent watching more films. This end of year list would typically be a video I publish on the channel (& may still be, but will also appear here for the sake of timing), but while the video format of reviewing movies has been an experience I’ve largely enjoyed it’s not one I can necessarily keep up with at any kind of competitive rate moving forward and this will be cutting back on those in the new year. I want to be able to see more films in general (I only saw 129 new releases in 2022 where in year's past I typically see over 200) as well as work on projects of my own within the world of film without having to pour all of my time and energy into videos about other people’s movies. All of that to say, I obviously didn’t see everything I wanted to in 2022 and hope to catch-up with many at the top of my watchlist soon, but as it is the final day of the year my ten favorite films of this year are as follows…


Dildos, like farts, are always funny and there are plenty of both in writer/director/editor Jordan Mears debut feature(ish) film, New West. Well, to be honest, I don’t know that I can confidently say I remember any particular instances of flatuation but trust me - there are plenty of gags involving dicks, dildos, and...rubber horse masks? Different function for the word "rubber" than you might have expected given the previous few sentences, huh? Well, that's what makes Mears and company's trip down South all the more enjoyable: it's mostly unpredictable (and often pretty funny to boot). Whether in sight, sound, or purely by association the gags built around these "lewd" objects shaped like erect penises used for sexual stimulation along with a particularly sturdy rubber horse mask, New West is a frothy and filthy little excursion that takes sincere pleasure in delivering what so few trips to the cinema tend to offer these days in that it is a pure, unadulterated broad comedy. Speaking of unexpected word functions regarding this movie - don't expect to see "pure" in the same sentence as New West anywhere else. 

With the shift to streaming and the expansion of platforms for which content is being produced comedy is the genre that has suffered the most given different flavors of the genre have each found their niche in different silos of the culture, meeting the needs of multiple segments of the population, but no longer bringing us together as they once did so casually (or frequently). Now, I'm not saying New West is here to right the ship of the broad comedy or even that, should it see the light of day beyond the festival circuit, it will be for everybody but what I am saying is that it demonstrates there is a hunger for the communal comedy experience once again after the onslaught of negative world events and abundance of bad news that has hammered citizens of the planet from every direction for what feels like the better part of a decade now. With New West, Mears along with co-writer, composer, and actor Coty Greenwood have crafted what is clearly something they knew would make themselves laugh, something that they had a grand time concocting, and something that - while sometimes vile - clearly has good intentions and aspirations given those don't seem to stretch for anything more than bringing a group of friends and/or strangers together to make them laugh.