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Reviews

Musings about media. Mostly movies.
I'm @joaobfreire on Letterboxd.

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  1. Tenet

    Watched 26 August 2020

    A very cool sensorial experience, but emotionally shallow. It tries, but there’s too much time bullshit for character motivations and plot structure to survive. A movie made for endless YouTube explainers.

  2. Rick and Morty, Season 4

    Watched 11 November 2019 – 2 June 2020

    My diagnosis: Rick and Morty has gone too meta. I want to laugh because the show is funny, not because the writers are clever.

  3. Underwater

    Watched 11 May 2020

    Solid genre entertainment. Not much more than what I expected, but it’s well done, straightforward, looked cool. 90 minutes club!

    Kirsten Stewart has the best shaky hands I’ve ever seen on film. This movie is worth watching for her performance alone. The rest of the cast was… okay.

    In the end I was left with some questions: Was this at some point meant to be a Cloverfield sequel? Why does it look like it was edited for commercial breaks? Were the voice-overs really necessary? Was the girlboss-beat-drop end credits song picked by a focus group?

  4. Lumines Remastered

    Played 23 December 2019 – 15 January 2020 on Nintendo Switch

    It’s cool, but I’d rather just play Tetris.

  5. The Outsider, Season 1

    Watched 13 January – 9 March 2020

    First half was great: intriguing mystery and plot developments, great characters. Then the mystery is completely resolved, and the second half is mostly seeing the characters catch up with what the audience already knows and doing lots of talking in cars. It ended with a whimper, and I was disappointed.

  6. Picross S

    Played 12 January – 11 March 2020 on Nintendo Switch

    I love me some Picross, but they really phoned it in with the UI and controls in this one. No touchscreen support and no option to use the right stick means you can never really play one-handed, and that’s just incredibly frustrating for such a simple game.

  7. Celeste: Farewell

    Played 9 September – 23 December 2019 on Nintendo Switch

    The Progress screen in Celeste, showing full game completion, at a cost of over 23 thousand deaths and 66 hours of gameplay.

    Not many games have rewarded me with such a deep sense of accomplishment. Celeste gives me life.

  8. Wonder Woman

    Watched 8 March 2020

    I’m glad women can use violence for good too, but this movie is… kinda basic? It’s as if they couldn’t get approval for “girl power” without putting in some bad tropes and clichés to balance it out. Yes, representation matters, but it depresses me that this is what we’re settling for as progress. Excusing it as an escapist piece of pulpy action would be fine, but I don’t think it’s very good at that, either.

  9. Ford v Ferrari

    Watched 10 February 2020

    Silly me, I thought this was going to be a film about famous automotive designer Carroll Shelby designing and building a car from scratch. Nope, at some point Matt Damon just pulls a tarp and there it is — the car got designed and assembled off-screen and just needs some tweaks under the hood. The design differences that give Ford an edge over Ferrari are never quite explored except for “ours is faster” and “Italians are arrogant.” I guess dramatizing the design process doesn’t quite fit into the standard cookie-cutter biopic formula.

  10. Little Women

    Watched 7 February 2020

    This story has a point to make and the film certainly gets to it. The nonlinear editing wasn’t hard to keep up with, but it feels like an attempt at injecting more nuance and challenge into a script that didn’t have much of either. There are several effective emotional moments, but as a whole it just didn’t reach me on a very profound level. It might simply not be for me, or I might have ruined it by watching Uncut Gems right before.

    Saoirse Ronan and Florence Pugh were brilliant. I know Emma Watson is like that in real life too, but on camera her acting always looks a bit over the top. And I can’t say I cared for Laura Dern’s performance as the saint-level impossibly emotionally stable mother. And boy was casting Bob Odenkirk a mistake — I couldn’t control my laughter when he showed up, and all attempts at seriousness just failed whenever he was on screen.

    Despite all the faults I saw in it, I still very much enjoyed my time with the film. It’s refreshing to see a drama where everyone is just so nice every now and then.

  11. Uncut Gems

    Watched 7 February 2020

    The world feels a little different after watching Uncut Gems, and I don’t know that I can pay a bigger compliment to a work of art.

  12. The Good Place, Season 4

    Watched 13 October 2019 – 7 February 2020

    A perfect conclusion to the most wholesome show I’ve ever seen. Life sure is a wave.

  13. Black Mirror: Smithereens

    Watched 16 January 2020

    The most boring Black Mirror episode yet. Did you know people look at their phones a lot?