February 2018

  1. Coco

    Film, 2017

    Watched 26 February 2018

    It’s almost impossible not to love this film — it’s adorable and wholesome and beautiful. I find it great to see Pixar’s push for diversity keep paying off, and their technical prowess keep noticeably improving, ever on a league of their own. The sheer vibrancy, scale, and depth of the design and animation work that went into this film is astounding.

    I cried on cue every time I was supposed to. The tearjerking formula is as effective as ever, yet feeling more and more predictable and manipulative, no matter how well-intentioned.

    Brad Bird says “animation is not a genre”, but I’m afraid Pixar movies might be turning into one — with very specific and recognizable themes, tropes, and character arcs. I’d really like to see a wider range of story types coming from Pixar, maybe even exploring the direction the excellent Borrowed Time short went in. Let’s see what Bird does with Incredibles 2 this year, though I’m not holding my breath for a revolution.

  2. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

    Film, 2017

    Watched 25 February 2018

    Sharp wit, fantastic acting, and all the panache of a big Oscar film. But story-wise, doesn’t seem like a particularly worthwhile exploration of any of the themes it presents — small-town America, anger, hate, blame, redemption — they’re treated heavy-handedly, often sacrificing depth for the sake of being funny or provocative (oh god, the daughter scene). That shallowness might be intentional, but it left no room for me to empathize with any of the characters.

  3. Lady Bird

    Film, 2017

    Watched 25 February 2018

    Instantly charming, emotionally charged, and flawed in all the right ways. A restrained, impeccably edited 90-minute runtime. I came in optimistic, but I never expected a perfect coming of age film.

  4. Thor: Ragnarok

    Film, 2017

    Watched 17 February 2018

    I appreciated the charm and levity that Taika Waititi brought to this film, but it wasn’t enough to shake the feeling I get from most Marvel movies: a deep emotional inconsequence and lack of introspection. And when Benedict Cumberbatch’s ridiculous character shows up for a completely unnecessary five minute scene, it’s blindingly obvious why that is — there can be no intimacy when every character has (or potentially will have) their own franchise begging for your attention.

  5. Everything Easy is Hard Again
    frankchimero.com

    Frank Chimero:

    At first I was bummed about my studio’s lack of visible progress, but then it hit me: what if I nailed it? Why change if it’s working? I’ve been able to approach a lot of different projects from many different angles, and I’m happy to report that I’ve gotten pretty good at a lot of it! Time and practice really do help.

    Except with the websites. They separate themselves from the others, because I don’t feel much better at making them after 20 years. My knowledge and skills develop a bit, then things change, and half of what I know becomes dead weight. This hardly happens with any of the other work I do.

    I wonder if I have twenty years of experience making websites, or if it is really five years of experience, repeated four times. If you’ve been working in the technology industry a while, please tell me this sounds familiar to you.

  6. The Cloverfield Paradox

    Film, 2018

    Watched 5 February 2018

    Damn, what a trainwreck. This felt like a horribly mangled victim of production hell and committee-mandated rewrites. Seems quite obvious that it was dispatched to Netflix because of that, not as some kind of genius marketing ploy.

    I wish they’d just stuck with the Event Horizon-esque horror bits — those were at least fun and unexpected. Here’s hoping they forget this ever happened and get back to the anthology format that worked so well for the other movies.