The meteoric rise of Ben Affleck the director continues. Argo is so deftly directed that none of the humor ever feels like forced comic relief, and the tension builds naturally without relying on cheap tactics or ticking clocks. Grounded in seventies technique and topical to boot, Argo succeeds in every way.  4.5


The Dark Knight Rises

It takes forever and a day to get going, but once it does you better hold on to your ass. It’s got more depth than its predecessor, and just because it’s a little less unrelentingly bleak doesn’t make it worse. On the contrary, it makes it the best Batman ever.  4.5

The Amazing Spider-Man

You’ve seen this one before, and I don’t just mean the obvious surface detail stuff.   Since it’s a James Horner score, you’ve heard it before too. Garfield is passable as Parker and the movie doesn’t disgrace the franchise, but the whole 136 minute operation (including the lengthy denouement) feels unnecessary. 3


Whose bright idea was it to cast Denis Leary in this film? Even though I wouldn’t say it to his face, he looks exactly like Willem Dafoe. It seriously took me a while to make sure I wasn’t seeing things.

Clerks (1994)

The camerawork and visual style somehow keep the movie realistic and believable in the face of increasingly absurd (and hilarious) gags, many of which are not even seen. Understated genius and life lessons come at the most unexpected times and places, and the script and acting are fantastic.   4.5

Airheads (1994)

Now here’s a film after my own heart. Where else can you find a Lemmy cameo and a Replacements song in the same movie? This rock version of Dog Day Afternoon lacks the performances (though the cast is great) and drama of that film, but its a lot of fun.  3.5