• All the President's Men

    All the President's Men

    ★★★★½

    Thrilling and satisfying look at journalism and conspiracy. I can understand how more recent films like Spotlight got their inspiration. Realistic performances were a delight.

  • Ponyo

    Ponyo

    ★★★

    Beautiful take on the Little Mermaid (more original fairy tale than Disney). Delightful animation as usual.

  • Kiki's Delivery Service

    Kiki's Delivery Service

    ★★★★

    Kiki is a delightful heroine, showing hard work and courage it takes to become independent. Beautiful animation, and you feel her joy as she flies high above the city. It was also moving to see her become jaded with the lack of thankfulness of those she has helped, her trouble fitting in, and stepping back to ask "What is the purpose of all my work?" The latter is identifiable for adults too. Also good metaphor for writers block in there. Great watch.

  • First Cow

    First Cow

    ★★

    I somewhat understand why the artistry and cinematography were impressive, but honestly the movie was just too slow for me. Did not feel enough of a payoff for the time investment with these characters or story. Probably me just being a bit too low brow for this.

  • The Beaver

    The Beaver

    ★★½

    This was an interesting depiction of mental illness. Started it not expecting to go for this movie, but was pleasantly surprised. Weird but interesting. Enjoyed the chance to see a Anton Yelchin and a young Jennifer Lawrence; Yelchin in particular was great; I hadn't seen him in anything other than Star Trek.

  • Leave No Trace

    Leave No Trace

    ★★★½

    Excellent picture of survival amidst mental health struggles. A quiet film that is still very engaging. Performance by Thomasin McKenzie (also in Jojo Rabbit) was incredible.

  • Marriage Story

    Marriage Story

    ★★★★

    Sad but authentic look at a marriage dissolution.

  • Meet Me in St. Louis

    Meet Me in St. Louis

    ★★½

    A pleasant, old-time musical. This was my first time seeing Judy Garland is a movie not named Wizard of Oz, so it was fun to see her talent on display in a new way. Fairly unremarkable plot (and leading man), but some nice family comedy moments. The out-of-touch dad and sassy young kids were my favorite components.

  • Uncut Gems

    Uncut Gems

    ★★★½

    A well-crafted thriller, but tests the limits of how uncomfortable it can make its audience in rooting for its main character. I was tense and nervous almost the whole time; the movie left me with an icky feeling at the poor human choices depicted. I can admire the craft, and it was certainly thrilling.

    Call out to the soundtrack here: adds great tone and tension to the movie; modern with 80s influences that I loved.

    Check out IMDB parents guide if you are sensitive to language and sexuality.

  • Tokyo Story

    Tokyo Story

    ★★

    I must be missing something here, because I found this quite the boring slog. I am aware of the high regard for this movie among film critics and historians, but I did not have that experience. Lots may be cultural barriers preventing myself from understanding the importance of the art. For example, actors in this frequently smile big saying simple dialogue, and it came across as quite strange based upon my expectations from modern acting. Camera shots are minimalist, with…

  • The Act of Killing

    The Act of Killing

    ★★★½

    A remarkable documentary following gangsters who killed in the state-sanctioned slaughter of communists in 1965. The rationalization is chilling, as well as the eagerness to actually recreate those killing on film. The "Born Free" dance sequence made me laugh, not in humor, but in a "I can't believe what I'm seeing" kind of way. Yet the director astutely shows us these "glorified" sequences first without sound or in a muted, behind-the-scenes way which takes the glory out. When we are shown the scenes as intended by the gangsters, we see them for the sham they are.

  • Toy Story 4

    Toy Story 4

    ★★★

    They did it again. Using toys as a metaphor for love, loyalty, relationships, and moving-on is extra insightful for a kids movie. But it still stays fun. Good to see Bo-peep as more of an action heroine. New toys a delight as well.