2023 TV & Movie Reviews: Missing / Infinity Pool / All Quiet on the Western Front / From

Kidnapped, cloned, murdered and lost.


As far as laptop thrillers go, Missing is cream of the crop I guess. I don’t really know if that’s what to call it, I would say “Zoom Moovie” but this doesn’t take place solely over a video conferencing app. Everything is seen through our young heroine’s laptop screen or other app screens that are brought up on her device. FYI, this review is just an advertisement for the video conferencing master class I offer for boomers entering tech. You should sign up if you have a spare $800 in cash or Cabela’s gift cards! Anyway, format aside, this is the type of dumb, fun, breezy thriller, clocking in at under two hours, that I just wish there was more of. It’s somewhat surprising that it’s exclusively playing in theaters because this is the perfect movie for a home watch. As my mom would say, this is a good vacuuming movie – something where every info drop is so blunt and every twist is laid out so plainly that the viewer can clean their entire living room while never being disengaged from the story. Zendaya‘s little sister from Euphoria, Storm Reid, is actually really effective as the lead teenager, giving a far better performance than the role requires. Nia Long (hey, haven’t heard that name in a while!) returns to the spotlight as the girl’s mom and the always fabulous Ken Leung from the HBOMax hit Industry plays the mom’s boyfriend. There’s a handful of other good bit parts, all played well, and the twists while really far-fetched and sometimes downright stupid are still entertaining. Filmmakers Nicholas D. Johnson and Will Merrick received enthusiastic praise for their previous/similar film Searching, and while I was like pretty whatever on that movie, I think their new movie, A.K.A. this, is really good for what it is – an easy to watch movie you don’t have to activate your brain for. Rough day at the office? Munch an edible and watch this dumb shit. Grade: B (In Theaters)

Infinity Pool

Look, you already know if Infinity Pool is the type of movie you want to watch or not. If you can’t handle intense graphic violence and weird group sex, often happening simultaneously or mere seconds apart from each other, conventional wisdom says skip this one. If you’re a horror fan with a strong stomach and value cerebral exercises over dumb Saw bullshit, you might really like what writer/director Brandon Cronenberg, son of David, has accomplished here. In an age where one out of every five movies seems to be a slightly heightened to intensely surreal satire on the obliviousness and/or callousness of the 1%, Brandon has managed to create one that doesn’t feel like it hits the same note over and over again a la The Menu or Triangle of Sadness while hinting at something much darker and maybe even beyond their control driving their compulsive and entitled behavior. Mia Goth, in another fantastically entertaining performance, leads the pack of rich assholes who try to indoctrinate a failed writer desperate for inspiration (a solid Alexander Skarsgaard) into their fucked up little social circle. You see, they’re vacationing on an island where the penalty of almost anything is violent execution. Not a firing squad or lethal injection, which are barbaric in their own right, but a family member of the victim slowly disemboweling you with a rusty knife. Of course, the country knows it can’t expect to get away with murdering a bunch of rich Americans, so they’ve devised away to clone Americans and violently execute the clone while the original is forced to watch. Sounds like a traumatic experience you’d never recover from, unless you’re a sadistic entitled asshole who gets away with everything – then it’s a fucked up form of entertainment. That’s the set-up for Infinity Pool which manages to unfold in some really unexpected ways. I do wish there was some more character development and relatable human interaction in Infinity Pool, but it’s such a bizarre premise that it never becomes tedious. I was surprised at how restrained the violence is but I think that’s because the real terror of the movie is what it implies about this cloning procedure. Who is funding it and what is it eventually going to be used for? I doubt we dropped billions of dollars on this technology just to save some asshole tourists, there’s something more sinister always dancing around the top of this movie’s tongue that I just couldn’t put my finger on. It’s also really funny in a morbid kind of way, and most certainly not a movie for everyone. I didn’t much care for Brandon Cronenberg‘s last film Possessor which I thought was too muddled in communicating its themes. It also was too similar to his father’s work to ignore. Here, Brandon has really come into his own. Way to go, Brandon! Grade: B+ (In Theaters)

All Quiet on the Western Front

In his review of Stanley Kubrick‘s The Shining, author Stephen King famously states the movie is like a beautiful classic car missing its engine. I don’t agree with those sentiments in relation to the 1980 horror classic, but I found them to be the perfect way to describe my feelings towards All Quiet on the Western Front, the most recent adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque‘s classic novel. Obviously, mine is not the majority opinion as this gorgeously crafted but emotionally stagnant war picture has earned nine Academy Award nominations this year including Best Picture. However, sitting on my couch watching this 2.5 hour German epic my mind really started to wander. At first, I was downright bewitched by the cinematography, lighting, crisp editing and overall remarkable attention to detail throughout all the technicals. Twenty minutes in I realized I had no idea who any of these fucking people were and just didn’t care. Minutes turned into hours turned into checking my phone turned into a mildly interesting character scene that would have hit harder if the movie had taken the time to develop any of these people. I will say the battle scenes are much more engaging than the Daniel Bruhl-led high ranking officer scenes. In it, guys in military outfits shout dates and statistics at each other like we’re supposed to know what the fuck that even means. I understand the overall purpose is to show the bitter contrast between rich fat cat officers in an office and young healthy boy soldiers dying on a field, but we don’t need 147 minutes of screen time to understand that. The movie ends on a predictably bitter note with a shot that I think is the single most compelling of the movie. I just wish this brutal historical epic was more about how WWI effected real, three-dimensional people rather than how it effects people in the abstract. At least 1917 had a gimmick. Grade: C+ (Netflix)


Is it just me or does there seem to be less and less purely enjoyable binge-worthy genre shows streaming these days? Most I’ve tried to start are so dumbly plotted and/or cheaply put together that I can’t even enjoy it through beer goggles, or are good for a season and then quickly disappear up their own asshole trying to be this existential high-brow masterpiece they never were. It’s too early to tell if MGM+‘s From will continue to be simple and fun, but I have to say I enjoyed the first season more than most better-produced science fiction/horror shows. It’s basically Midnight Mass‘ dumb cousin or Wayward Pines‘ smarter older brother, and it follows a bunch of folks Twilight Zone stranded in a small town where vicious monsters taking the disguise of humans come out at night to eat everyone. The townspeople put talismans on their doors to protect them at night which has allowed them to survive in a way where they’re beginning to accept their circumstances as the new normal. The horror elements of this show are done the best with things like character development and interpersonal relationships being sort of a mixed bag. The acting is mostly not great with one of the only exceptions being Harold Perrineau, from Lost and Best Man franchise fame, playing the self-appointed town sheriff who is trying to get the hell out of the town while attempting to patch up a rocky relationship with his early 20s son. Maria Full of Grace‘s Catalina Sandino Moreno and Fight Club‘s Eion Bailey play a divorcing married couple with kids who get stranded in the town as well, and they’re both not great. When the story focuses on their family unit I lost interest almost instantly. However, for all its faults, the plot progressions are extremely engrossing and I can’t remember a show that had me craving the next episode as much as From. Unfortunately, it’s on a streaming network no one has, so nobody will ever see it. Grade: B (MGM+)

My Top 10 Films of 2022 w/ Honorable Mentions


In Theaters

Avatar: The Way of Water (B-)


Babylon (C-)

The Whale (B)

Everything Everywhere All at Once (A-)

The Fabelmans (A-)


Women Talking (C)


Aftersun (A)

Decision to Leave (A-)


The Fabelmans (A-)

Bones and All (B)

Mindcage (F)

Bodies Bodies Bodies (B-)

Triangle of Sadness (C)

Till (B)

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On (B+)


White Noise (C-)

The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker (C+)

RRR (B+)

Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio (B+)

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (B-)


Industry Season 2 (B+)

The White Lotus Season 2 (C+)

The Menu (C+)

The Banshees of Inisherin (A-)

Elvis (B)


Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER..L to R: Director Ryan Coogler on set with Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther/T’Challa) ..Ph: Matt Kennedy..©Marvel Studios 2018

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (C+)

Werewolf by Night (C)


Black Widow

Soul (A-)


Fire Island (B-)

Reservation Dogs Season 2 (A-)

Prey (B)

Atlanta Season 4 (B+)

The Worst Person in the World (B+)


The Black Phone (C+)

Jurassic World: Dominion (D)

The Northman (B)

Licorice Pizza (A)

House of Gucci (C+)


Mythic Quest Season 3 (B)

Causeway (B-)

Black Bird (B+)

Pachinko Season 1 (A-)

Severance Season 1 (A-)


Violent Night (B)


Nope (B+)

Halloween Ends (D+)

The Resort (B)


Everything Everywhere All At Once (A-)

Men (B-)

X (B-)

Pleasure (B)

After Yang (B+)


Tulsa King Season 1 (C)

Top Gun: Maverick (B+)

Smile (C+)

Scream 5 (C+)

Jackass Forever (B+)


Jacob Anderson as Louis De Point Du Lac and Sam Reid as Lestat De Lioncourt – Interview with the Vampire _ Season 1, Episode 4 – Photo Credit: Alfonso Bresciani/AMC

This Is Going to Hurt (B+)

Interview with the Vampire Season 1 (A-)

The Innocents (B-)

Watcher (C+)

Better Call Saul Season 6 Part 2 (A)


Ghostbusters: Afterlife (C)

Spider-Man: No Way Home (B)

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (B-)

The Father (B+)

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