Review Compendium:
Literally Hundreds of Capsule Movie Reviews

Review Compendium: Literally Hundreds of Capsule Movie Reviews

A number of years ago I started jotting down summaries of movies I’ve watched, just to keep track of what I’d seen. As the years went by, the list grew, and occasionally (but not often) I was moved to write more, until finally I wound up with hundreds of them, mostly very short summaries but occasionally a little more in-depth for movies I particularly liked or loathed. There’s a brief section of favorites and honorable mentions, then below that they’re indexed by movie title, click a letter to see the titles starting with that letter.

By the way: this list is extremely heavy, although not exclusive, with horror and science fiction films, because that’s what I watch most.

A word about my terminology
As I wrote these reviews just for myself, I sometimes use shorthand that might need explanation:

  • A first-person shooter

    is what I call the post-“Blair Witch” films where the entire movie is seen first-person through the lens of one or more cameras, which the actors improbably always keep pointed forwards and filming, even as they run for their lives through dark woods or passageways, hide, make out, get swallowed by a monster, etc.

    A first person shooter frequently ends with a series of camera drops, in which the camera suddenly falls to the floor motionless, indicting the only thing that can get any of these people to stop filming, their death. (Honorable mention goes to JeruZalem, not yet reviewed, in which the camera takes off into the air instead of dropping, indicating the character has finally been turned into a winged monster like everybody else. Consistent with the lazy, dumb rules of first-person shooters, not having died, the now-monster still does not stop filming.)

    A related idea is “screen life” (not my term; I don’t know where it first came from), where a character’s cell phone or computer screen is shown onscreen superimposed onto the action for expository purposes, a phenomenon I’ve noticed more and more of in recent years but which I happily haven’t seen enough movies containing that I’ve used the term in many reviews.

  • Diegetic

    refers to something within the narrative world of the film. A non-diegetically funny-looking actor is funny-looking in real life, to the viewer, but may not be seen as such by other other characters in the film, whereas a diagetically funny looking character is seen by the other characters funny looking but appears to you and me to be just another gorgeous actor, perhaps with the addition of some makeup prosthetic of wardrobe choice designed to signfy that they are as quote-unquote “funny looking”. Diegetic sounds are heard by the characters in the film, but the background soundtrack is 99.999% of the time non-diegetic (the sole exception being the wonderful British superhero fantasy show “Extraordinary”—which I have not yet reviewed but is worth a watch—in which one character has a super-power that causes everyone around her to hear their own background music.)

  • Fridge logic

    is a term I got from TV Tropes, a site I am not giving you a link to and recommend you do not visit because you will lose, at minimum, a whole day reading it. Fridge logic refers to unresolved plot holes that aren’t obvious enough to pull you out of the moviegoing experience in the moment, they just go by and don’t strike you until later. Like, you enjoy a movie, and then when it’s over you go into the kitchen to make a sandwich, and as you’re peering into the fridge, looking over what fixings you’ve got available, suddenly the thought creeps up on you: “Wait a second, if she dropped the keys in the river, then how did she get back into the house after the guy was chasing her?”

  • Date movie

    probably doesn’t need explanation. Actually can mean two things: a movie that’s engaging enough to sit through, with nothing too distractingly bad about it, but nothing that risks grabbing your attention back should you become distracted by something else.

    Or, a horror movie engaging enough to actually watch, but with scenes with enough genuine tension, for long enough, that anyone looking for a legitimate excuse to grab someone else’s hand will have one.

    I remember once asking a neighbor lady over to watch a DVD. Not yet sure what was going on, I had picked two from my collection to offer her: a really fascinating documentary, and a “date movie” horror flick. She picked the horror flick. That worked out well. I haven’t needed to use that trick again since then as I quit dating not long after that, but it hasn’t stopped me from remembering it, and noting when a movie fits the bill.

  • Gorgeous

    Certain shows and movies are inexplicably set in a world where everybody looks like a model. Even though it’s glaringly obvious, nobody in the show or movie ever comments on this.

  • Canadian

    You will often see me call out that a film or show is Canadian. This is because, I don’t know why, but (well known comedy successes aside) Canada has a strange track record of cranking out small, effective, low-budget but above-average films, particularly horror movies. They’re not always the best movie you’re going to see, but they often have some redeeming value that elevates them above the crowd… Canadian productions like Pontypool, Pyewacket, Haunter, or fantasy/sci-fi TV shows like Man Seeking Woman or Dead Like Me, Reaper, or, longer ago, Mutant X, or even Being Erica (none of the last four of have I reviewed, sorry, and at least the first few of which stand stand as at least extremely memorable), even when they were kind of second-stringers, still all had a certain charm, somehow, that made them a cut above.

  • Captivity/Pursuit flick

    When you’ve watched as many horror movies as I have, you’ve seen a million of these. Everything that falls on the cinematic spectrum between, at one extreme, movies that consist entirely of someone being held captive, to, at the other, movies that consist entirely of someone running from captors.

And now the reviews. First off, let’s call out some notable favorites so you don’t have to hunt for the good ones:

Mike’s Favorites & Honorable Mentions


B (2 reviews)

D (1 review)

E (2 reviews)

G (1 review)

H (1 review)

I (2 reviews)

L (2 reviews)

M (1 review)

N (1 review)

O (1 review)

P (1 review)

R (1 review)

S (1 review)

T (2 reviews)

V (2 reviews)

Y (2 reviews)

2 (1 review)

3 (1 review)

Honorable Mentions

B (2 reviews)

C (2 reviews)

D (1 review)

H (2 reviews)

I (3 reviews)

L (1 review)

M (1 review)

P (1 review)

R (1 review)

S (1 review)

T (1 review)

All reviews by name:

" (4 reviews)

# (1 review)

A (23 reviews)

B (32 reviews)

C (31 reviews)

D (33 reviews)

E (9 reviews)

F (11 reviews)

G (12 reviews)

H (29 reviews)

I (29 reviews)

J (3 reviews)

K (5 reviews)

L (18 reviews)

M (21 reviews)

N (9 reviews)

O (10 reviews)

P (18 reviews)

Q (1 review)

R (24 reviews)

S (43 reviews)

T (14 reviews)

U (6 reviews)

V (8 reviews)

W (15 reviews)

Y (5 reviews)

Z (1 review)

1 (4 reviews)

2 (2 reviews)

3 (2 reviews)

4 (1 review)

5 (1 review)

6 (1 review)