Reviews, page 3

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Undertale

    Videogame, 2015

    Played on Mac 30 September 2018

    Brilliant in mechanics and narrative. Absolutely fantastic soundtrack. Got a bit too high on its own supply at the end there, which left me somewhat emotionally detached. That disconnect might just have been due to expectations, though: I was anticipating a more adult-ish, less “anime” overarching feeling. But I guess anime is real.

  9. Upgrade

    Film, 2018

    Watched 13 September 2018

    Cool and exciting, but the low budget/high ambition combo leaves it stuck in a sort of uncanny valley — the kind of sci-fi that never quite manages to hide its seams. Still, very enjoyable and made me wish for more cyberpunk movies. I’ll probably go watch Ghost in the Shell for the fiftieth time now.

  10. Deadpool 2

    Film, 2018

    Watched 15 August 2018

    As fun and cringe-worthy as the first one. Somehow more enjoyable because Infinity War was such a downer.

  11. Mission: Impossible - Fallout

    Film, 2018

    Watched 4 August 2018

    There is a shot in this film that, for a split second, managed to trick my brain into believing Tom Cruise was about to die. I didn’t smile and think “that’s cool.” Folks, I audibly gasped in a movie theater.

    (I’m talking about the helicopter scene)

  12. Mission: Impossible

    Film, 1996

    Rewatched 3 August 2018

    It’s clear why kid me thought this was the coolest thing ever. I was pleasantly surprised to find that all the iconic moments I remembered still hold up. What I wasn’t expecting was for the rest to be so… messy? The more expository scenes feel very half-assed, to the point of being a bit silly.

  13. The Witness

    Videogame, 2016

    Played on Mac 22 July 2018

    I played it in fits and starts, but I was charmed every time, and always envious of the brilliant ideas on display. The design is just so economic and straightforward, yet presents so many possibilities for variation. Deserves to be in some design museum’s permanent collection.

  14. Akira

    Film, 1988

    Rewatched 16 July 2018

    Kaneda uncovers his iconic red bike.

    I will never not be amazed that this movie exists. There is a very rare quality to the animation work here — you never forget it’s hand drawn, yet it’s always alive.

  15. Hot Fuzz

    Film, 2007

    Rewatched 30 June 2018

    The first big shootout’s action feels a bit imprecise in a post-John Wick world, but that’s about all I can criticize. This is still a masterpiece in my book.