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Film Reviews

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Knives Out

    Watched 19 December 2019

    As entertaining as they come. Will the numerous present day references date this film quickly? Well I sure hope so, because I can’t wait to watch it again as an even more charming old time classic.

  6. 6 Underground

    Watched 15 December 2019

    It’s grotesque and unrelenting, careless with death and violence to a shocking degree. While the premise is idiotic, even immoral, the writing shows enough self awareness to let you know that it doesn’t care. The action is at once vivid and artificial, grandiose yet somehow shot to feel claustrophobic. The whole thing clashes with itself, with good taste, with common sense; a bunch of absurd juxtapositions and contradictions firing at your eyeballs at extremely rapid pace. Watching it was both exhilarating and distressing, and judging by my headache, just too much for my feeble brain. I love it and I hate it. It is, without a doubt, an incredibly accomplished work of art.

  7. Ready or Not

    Watched 5 December 2019

    Very fun but not one for the ages. I feel like it could either have been campier or more grandiose, but it kept to a more normalized middle ground, never truly defying expectations. I keep imagining that had this movie been made in the 1980s (with all the differences that would entail) it would most likely be a cool as heck cult classic.

  8. Ad Astra

    Watched 5 December 2019

    2001: A Space Odyssey is one of my favorite films, yet I found this one very boring.

    Started out interesting — exciting even — but the story kept shrinking on itself, the ideas growing smaller and smaller. By the end, and much like the sad astronaut, I felt nothing. Please allow me to narrate to you how empty I feel, I’m such a sad sad lonely astronaut help me daddy

    Yeah this would have been a two star review if not for the moon rover chase sequence. That part was cool.

  9. The Lighthouse

    Watched 21 November 2019

    That scream really did it for me. This film could have been bad and that scream would have saved it. But no, the whole thing was excellent. Sets itself up as an incredibly precise and fastidious formal exercise, only to break with expectations in very unfamiliar, surreal ways. Rule-breaking cinema.

    And meeting real-life Willem Dafoe not within one minute of the credits starting to roll was also a surreal experience. That’s two for the price of one. (Humblebrag, I know.)

  10. Midsommar

    Watched 14 October 2019

    William Jackson Harper’s character is my closest audience surrogate in this film: instead of wanting to escape from this horrific, beautiful place, he wants to learn more about it. That’s what worked so well for me in Hereditary, and it worked brilliantly once again in Midsommar. I really love this vibe of deep detail and interestingness that Ari Aster is bringing to horror.

    This was the theatrical version but I’ll definitely be watching the director’s cut as soon as I can.

    PS: I have that same mortar and pestle! (From the dance scene.) It’s from Ikea, which is hilarious

  11. John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

    Watched 26 August 2019

    It might be a case of too much of a good thing, but I was not as entranced by this one as I was with the others. It might have benefited from a bit more breathing room around the mayhem, more of an emotional connection to its origins, maybe even (dare I say it?) a little less violence. It is spectacular, but numbingly so.

  12. Speed Racer

    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.