Notes, page 3

  1. Fyre

    Film, 2019

    Watched 30 January 2019

    I try to avoid schadenfreude as much as I can, but this was too good to pass up. Not a brilliant documentary, but seemingly does a good job of talking to the right people and painting a full picture of what happened.

  2. Paddington 2

    Film, 2017

    Watched 27 January 2019

    Really great, improves on the original in every way.

    Hugh Grant’s character was brilliant as the antagonist. Well written, both captivating and funny. Unlike Nicole Kidman’s character in Paddington 1, he adds to the story instead of just existing in it as an archetypal, irredeemable villain.

    I like how Paddington isn’t framed as a can-do-no-wrong saint just getting caught up in bad situations. Some scenes (like the barbershop one) show him messing up and struggling to come up with excuses instead of admitting his fault. It’s subtle, but is a nice touch that makes him more sympathetic.

    The writing and editing were once again economical and effective. Art direction was even sharper. The pop-up book fantasy scene that takes place early on stands out — it’s especially memorable and affecting, doing so much emotional work with so few ingredients.

    I can see now why this has received such high praise. It’s well deserved.

  3. A Simple Favor

    Film, 2018

    Watched 25 January 2019

    Kind of fun, but weird. And not weird in a good way — weird in a “not sure what it wants to be” way. It tries to be a thriller, but the plot is way too messy and clichéd to be interesting. It tries to be a comedy, but there is no real intent to the humor; just a residual layer of silliness, no courage about it. I guess this tone was intentional, but it simply did not work for me. The longer it went on, the less satisfying it became.

  4. Fyre Fraud

    Film, 2019

    Watched 30 January 2019

    Felt rushed and incomplete. The interview with Billy McFarland did not really add much depth, and several of the more interesting people featured in the Netflix documentary were missing altogether. The poorly-edited-in internet memes and patronizing attitude detracted from the experience and eroded the point being made. Meh.

  5. Paddington

    Film, 2014

    Watched 24 January 2019

    I expected the charm and fuzzy feelings, but not the nuanced, topical take on immigration, delivered with the utmost efficacy. Bravo!

    It’s all very wholesome and hard to criticize, though I think it could have benefited from some more Spirited Away-style bittersweetness, and a more complex antagonist. But hey, it works.

    Sidenote: the wonderful art direction somehow reminded me of Spielberg’s Tintin and, in contrast, how much of a disappointment that was.

  6. Black Mirror: Bandersnatch

    TV Show, 2018

    Watched 3 January 2019

    Building it around the concept of “choose your own adventure” itself did not make any of the choices and outcomes anymore engrossing or thought-provoking — the experience of rewinding to take different paths made everything feel muddled and disconnected. I think the stakes should have been higher, giving the viewer fewer opportunities to fix mistakes.

    There is a glimpse of interestingness near the beginning when the medium-unique twist is revealed, but it gets lost as the narrative branches off and grows in possibility space, with some storylines dropping the idea altogether.

    It’s a fun ride, and then it’s over. Though I might have to give it another go. Also: the poster is really neat.

  7. The Haunting of Hill House

    TV Show, 2018

    Watched 15 December 2018

    What if haunted house movie but
    - ten hours long, lots of repetition
    - cheesy, artless direction
    - all spoken lines are monologues

  8. And they’ll soon be running on just two and a half browser engines ☹️

  9. Godzilla: City on the Edge of Battle

    Film, 2018

    Watched 2 December 2018

    These films are very awkwardly put together. They feel shallow and soulless in a way that is hard to describe. In terms of epic narrative scale, they seem to be the most ambitious Godzilla films to date. Yet that ambition comes at the cost of detail and emotional tangibility. All characters look the same, animation is robotic, individual moments have no emotional heft. No part of it even got me to go “that’s cool”.

    Sure, I would love to learn about the heroic future humans fighting to reclaim the Earth from Godzilla. But please, make me care about it.

  10. The Predator

    Film, 2018

    Watched 29 November 2018

    No new take, just a patchwork of rehashed tropes. Every scene feels like something you’ve seen before, and the paper-thin “I have backstory!” characters don’t help either.

  11. The Meg

    Film, 2018

    Watched 5 November 2018

    I was expecting this shark movie to be more of a boat movie. But it turned out it was actually more of a submarine movie, and also a Jason Statham dating simulation movie. So yeah, it was fun.

  12. Incredibles 2

    Film, 2018

    Rewatched 4 November 2018

    While riding her motorcycle, Elastigirl smiles at a girl in a nearby car before speeding away.

    I just wanted to rewatch the Elastigirl bike chase… Ended up doing that, rewinding, then watching the whole thing. I’m pretty sure this won’t be the last time that happens, so it’s going in the 5-star bin.