Movie review: “Halloween Kills” (2021)

“Let him burn! Let him burn!”

Anyone using “Evil Dies Tonight” as a trigger for the Halloween Kills drinking game will either end their evening in a coma or the local morgue. This has been a public service message…

How quickly we forget the unassuming, self-contained majesty of John Carpenter’s Halloween – its brutal simplicity; its penetrating suspense; its authenticity of time, place, and, especially, tone; its utter lack of fat – even, it seems, in the ostensible act of paying it homage. Filmmakers of all skill levels, including Carpenter himself (off and on), have for decades chased the horror classic like a Holy Grail, as if its singular qualities could somehow be bottled and reproduced, let alone quantified. Continue reading “Movie review: “Halloween Kills” (2021)”

Movie review: “Sixteen Candles” (1984)


“Can I borrow your underpants for ten minutes?”

For someone whose work is so often rightly lauded for portraying teenagers in a three-dimensional, sympathetic but non-patronizing light – “realistic”, in critical shorthand – it turns out the late John Hughes was also a hearty proponent of brazen wish fulfillment. To wit: in a fit of pique, Home Alone’s eight-year-old Kevin McAllister wished his family would disappear, and off they rushed the next morning to Paris, without him. Andie Walsh and Keith Nelson, of Pretty in Pink and Some Kind of Wonderful, overlooked the unrequited loves parked right in front of their faces in favor of dogged, unlikely, shockingly successful romantic pursuits of the most popular boy and girl in school respectively. I’ve long contended that the only reason everyone in The Breakfast Club didn’t leave Saturday detention with a brand new significant other on his or her arm was that the group itself was an odd number. Continue reading “Movie review: “Sixteen Candles” (1984)”