Reviews, page 4

  1. Black Panther

    Film, 2018

    Watched 4 May 2018

    Fun to watch, extremely cool, wholly original. And not a single “crossover event” to be seen. The Marvel movie I’d been waiting for since Iron Man.

  2. Pacific Rim: Uprising

    Film, 2018

    Watched 8 April 2018

    A far cry from the original’s simplicity and earnestness, but these giant robots still tickle my fancy. I had a blast watching it.

    The amount of distinct stuff happening in this movie is bonkers — it felt like an entire mecha anime series crammed into a couple of hours. I really wish it could have been made as a 10-hour TV show that actually took the time to linger and explore all those ideas.

  3. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

    Film, 2017

    Watched 12 March 2018

    Almost okay. Yet another nostalgia grab that fails to be anything more.

  4. The Room

    Film, 2003

    Watched 3 March 2018

    I have no idea how to assign a rating to this, so I won’t.

    Schadenfreude aside, I mostly just wanted it to be over. Yet I’m somehow glad I watched it. I can understand why people latch onto it, but I’m not counting myself among them.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Black Mirror: Metalhead

    TV Show, 2017

    Watched 7 January 2018

    I understand that it might not be to everyone’s tastes, but I loved the simplicity of this one. Tense, cinematic, more grounded than the average Black Mirror episode. Includes what’s probably the best-designed piece of tech in the entire series, and not a single shot of clumsy CGI. Could have done without the boring tree scene, but otherwise one of my favorites.

  11. Black Mirror: Black Museum

    TV Show, 2017

    Watched 7 January 2018

    Black Mirror seems to be getting more samey, with ever-less varied stories that rely way too much on lampshading (i.e. the plot acknowledging its own silliness to avoid looking absurdly implausible).

    This episode had some great ideas, but it felt like the biggest manifestation of those problems. Plus, it breaks what I took to be an unwritten rule of Black Mirror: no cross-episode continuity. The idea that all of this weird shit might be taking place in the same universe only detracted from my experience.

  12. The Love Witch

    Film, 2016

    Watched 27 December 2017

    It’s rare that a film constructed around imitation can feel so original. Instead of using pastiche as a crutch, or as a trope to be subverted in some sort of twist, The Love Witch uses it seriously as a foundation, allowing it to serve a much deeper thematic purpose. It’s what binds everything together instead of being a joke waiting to be made.

    Everything about this film shows unwavering dedication and attention to detail. It’s all brimming with confidence. Casting and costume design are absolutely perfect. Lighting and color work are so well done they feel impossible to pull off in 2017. But my favorite detail has to be the cheekily obvious continuity errors in closeup shots. Lovely.

  13. Star Wars: The Last Jedi

    Film, 2017

    Watched 20 December 2017

    Wacky and chaotic but always engaging and thematically sharp. Although the plot meanders, there is always something to find wherever it goes. Funnier and more profound than the classic Star Wars tone, but I think it manages to stretch the definition in a good way.

    Force Awakens felt like Same Old Star Wars; this one feels like New and Exciting Star Wars, and that’s exactly what I was hoping for.