Dear friend,

the issue of having completist tendencies is that often you’ll end up spending money (or sometimes just time) in order to ensure you own (or have seen/read/been at) every element of a certain series. This can be difficult and rewarding like, say, visiting every Unesco site, or just silly and time-wasting like watching every film in The Exorcist series.

  • Exorcist: The Beginning external link to Letterboxd Created with Sketch. - that’s why, after last week’s rollercoaster of III and II, I ended up watching the one film of the series that I still hadn’t experienced, despite the terrible terrible reviews; I am probably a bad person because, despite the horrible horrible CGI, I still found this a more entertaining film than Paul Schrader’s original twin Dominion - ⭐️⭐️

  • The Courier external link to Letterboxd Created with Sketch. : I was expecting a relatively fun spy thriller but I had forgotten for a minute that ‘Cumberbatch’ and ‘fun’ rarely go together. Jessie Buckley is a bit wasted in the role - ⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Mom and Dad external link to Letterboxd Created with Sketch. has a great idea as a starting point, and spends its first half to introduce it and explore it in a fun horror way. Unfortunately in the second half it transforms into over-the-top Cage-ry and madness, and then it doesn’t really know what to do to get to an ending, so it basically gives up. That’s not to say that Nicolas Cage is not enjoyable, and there’s never enough Selma Blair in the world, but it could have been developed more carefully. And, as Alison M. says on Letterboxd external link to Letterboxd Created with Sketch. , best use ever of Roxette’s It Must Have Been Love - ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

  • The First Omen external link to Letterboxd Created with Sketch. : I heard rave reviews about this totally necessary prequel to 1976 Richard Donner’s film, and I don’t agree with them at all. I’m sorry but in the 2024 battle of American-aspiring-nuns-who-go-to-Rome-and-get-more-than-they-expected, Sydney Sweeney’s Immaculate wins for me. This one has no serious scares, a revelation that you would have seen coming since three minutes in, a ‘bravura scene’ that ends up looking totally ridiculous and gratuitous (sure, Possession, sure), and a final dialogue that’s totally useless given the previous scene. Now, I’ll have to watch two more Omens (three? four?) in order to feel whole again - ⭐️⭐️½

  • Suzzanna: Buried Alive external link to Letterboxd Created with Sketch. : I have had this film in my Netflix list, I think following an Evolution of Horror external link Patreon episode on Indonesian horror. A sort of remake/homage to a 1981 film about a pregnant woman who gets killed during a robbery, and then comes back to get revenge. Quite good, but the creepy atmosphere is harmed by the farcical comic relief characters - ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

  • Con Air external link to Letterboxd Created with Sketch. : second Cage of the week. I had not seen it since the late nineties, and probably I won’t watch it again for the next thirty years… I felt exhausted long before the end - ⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • No Hard Feelings external link to Letterboxd Created with Sketch. : I thought of trying to watch comedies, as an experiment, and while the first attempt failed miserably (see below), I enjoyed this coming-of-age story much more than I expected. Nothing unpredictable, but it has a couple of good jokes and a Jennifer Lawrence in top comedy form. Andrew Barth Feldman is adorable and Matthew Broderick and Zahn McClarnon are always great added value - ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

  • Orphan: First Kill external link to Letterboxd Created with Sketch. : I thought that whoever greenlit this film and agreed to have 25-years-old Isabelle Fuhrman reprise her Esther role in a prequel (!) to the 2009 film must have been mad. But after spending the first half fighting with disbelief (suspension is just not an option), mercifully this thing takes a whole new direction, and ends up being much more enjoyable than the first instalment - ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

  • The Equalizer 3 external link to Letterboxd Created with Sketch. : Denzel solves ’the Italian situation’, so thank you Denzel! A re-thread of many similar stories (super-hero assassin goes abroad, likes the place, solves a decades-long issue all by themselves), and as such it doesn’t offer many surprises. Actually, it’s even less surprising than one would expect (not my fault if they gave the good guy and the bad guy basically the same name, and if, for Italian people, Remo Girone will always be Tano Cariddi, the scariest tv villain ever). Much appreciated, as always, the fact that most of the cast is Italian, and that it was shot on location. Honourable mention for Adolfo Margiotta (whom I didn’t even recognise at first) who gives the ‘chief of police’ the same intensity he gave 30 years ago to Paquito (or was he Chiquito?) in a very funny tv parody of Latin-American telenovelas. Incredibly, it works great in this context too. Also, kudos to Denzel Washington for his great pronounciation of Italian dialogue. - ⭐️⭐️⭐️

…the same can’t be said for the actors in Confess, Fletch external link to Letterboxd Created with Sketch. : non-Italian actors playing Italian characters are not necessarily a problem, but in this case the horrible accent (both when speaking ‘Italian’ and when speaking English ‘with an Italian accent’) added to the frustration of a deeply unfunny first half hour, and - despite trying twice - I couldn’t finish the film. Sorry, Mr Hamm.

So the statistics for this week: five horrors (three prequels, a remake, an original), a spy-biopic, two action films (a sequel and an original), an original rom-com. Two Nicolas Cage(s). No absolute classic, no four stars, but the one that I liked the most must be Mom and Dad.