Film Reviews

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  1. Speed Racer

    Film, 2008

    Rewatched 2 August 2019

    Speed Racer's car spins around the racetrack as all of its colors vividly blend together like liquid.

    Our world doesn’t deserve the unbridled vibrancy and earnestness of Speed Racer. The climactic Grand Prix is so dazzling I had to watch it twice. This film gets better every time I watch it, and I suspect I’ll be doing it quite a few more times.

  2. Alita: Battle Angel

    Film, 2019

    Watched 24 July 2019

    • There are many cool robots and body parts flying around.
    • Cristoph Waltz was terribly miscast and is the least believable character in the movie.
    • I wish the city itself had gotten more attention from the art department, but I guess the robots are what matters the most.
    • The robots are indeed very cool and they fight a lot, but not too much, which is perfect.

    A solid follow-up to the other two good anime-with-real-people movies, Speed Racer and Pacific Rim. More, please.

  3. The Final Girls

    Film, 2015

    Watched 25 April 2019

    I was pleasantly surprised by how genuinely funny and creatively consistent this movie is — and it’s clear that everyone was having fun while making it. Pretty great!

  4. The Hitman’s Bodyguard

    Film, 2017

    Watched 25 April 2019

    You can tell that they tried (most of the time), but it’s not as sharp as it clearly thinks it is. Also, they shouldn’t have let Ryan Reynolds pick all the songs.

  5. Escape Room

    Film, 2019

    Watched 22 April 2019

    Fun to watch and kinda cool in a sort of childish, cartoony way. I wish it had learned even further in that direction.

  6. Hold the Dark

    Film, 2018

    Watched 20 April 2019

    So enamored with the poetry of its own subtext that it fails to make the actual text engaging. The slow, painful lingering is fitting, but at some point it’s too much and there’s not much else there to balance it out — even the action sequences seem drawn out. Starts out pensive, ends up boring. Still, there’s an interesting story there if you can catch it being mumbled at you.

  7. Tower Heist

    Film, 2011

    Watched 21 April 2019

    Soulless and devoid of artistry. It’s built around social commentary but never in an honest or insightful way — there’s a constant tinge of disdain for the issues it tries to build jokes around. As it goes through the motions of its terrible boilerplate script it is never truly funny or surprising; the most it can muster is being face-palm stupid when it goes for the focus group-approved absurdist humor.

    (I thought it was bad.)

  8. Glass

    Film, 2019

    Watched 4 April 2019

    This is the superhero equivalent of a zombie movie where the characters keep saying the word “zombie” all the time.

    The writing here is even worse than Split. The core plot device (what Sarah Paulson spends most of the movie doing) simply doesn’t work! It never felt the least bit believable. It’s a premise completely at odds with Shyamalan’s direction in the previous films, what he’s been showing us this whole time. It doesn’t work for the viewer, and it shouldn’t have worked for the characters — which makes it a double-whammy of dumb. This is, of course, all done in favor of a big twist (and, in my case, a big sigh).

    I really might have to revisit Unbreakable, which I thought was cool however many years ago I watched it. I’m hoping it holds up.

  9. Split

    Film, 2016

    Watched 3 April 2019

    Have Shyamalan’s films always been this shallow? Nothing feels real outside the very narrow confines of what is happening. Dialogue is often poor, with way too much “as you know, Bob” going on. And all the buildup fell flat for me — I was neither shocked nor emotionally invested. I guess I’d better not rewatch Unbreakable, or risk disappointment.

  10. Us

    Film, 2019

    Watched 29 March 2019

    Very weird and cool and artsy, but also funny — and it all fits together perfectly. I liked how subversive the plot structure felt; I often had no idea where it was going to go next, and that made for a really great experience. I went in completely blind, and it paid off quite handsomely. I watched the trailer afterwards, and boy is it spoilery! Don’t watch trailers, kids.

    It’s impressive how strongly this film pairs with Get Out. They’re certainly different, but there’s a clear style forming. Jordan Peele is carving out a really cool niche for himself.

  11. The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley

    Film, 2019

    Watched 24 March 2019

    “You want it to be true so badly, and even for me, I was working with these devices every single day, and she could still kind of convince me. When I think back on those conversations, I just think, how did she do that?”

    I had only a surface-level understanding of the Theranos story, so to me the subject matter was absolutely gripping. The idea behind the company was so good, so elegant, that you do just want it to be true.

    As a documentary, it’s articulate and well-framed, but also somewhat bland and needlessly repetitive. Alex Gibney’s films, when they really click for me (this one and Going Clear most of all), seem to do so largely despite his direction, not because of it.

  12. Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room

    Film, 2005

    Watched 16 March 2019

    I knew nothing about Enron before watching this, and I came in expecting explosive revelations. But the most shocking aspect here is just how little I was shocked by the whole scandal. We truly are living in a golden age of grifting. Things like this are now, if not normal, expected.

  13. Bumblebee

    Film, 2018

    Watched 22 March 2019

    Bad in all the wrong ways, trading the gaudy excess and over-the-top action for faux sentimentality and the least genuine attempt at ’80s nostalgia I’ve ever seen.

    Particularly insulting is the score, constantly trying to trick you into thinking you’re watching a cute Disney moment, except it’s an ugly robot trying to sit on a sofa and almost crushing a dog.

    Turns out only Michael Bay can make Transformers movies because he is an auteur. Bring back the breakneck-pace kinetic editing and the pyramids exploding and the robots peeing on each other.