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  • Parasite

    Parasite

    ★★★

    As he gains critical and popular prestige and gets the opportunity to make "bigger" movies, Bong Joon-ho seems to be plaguing himself with a bit of an over-determination problem. I found Parasite to be an entertaining film, but just about every moment works toward its one central idea, a sort of revenge fantasy of the lower classes against the upper echelon. The situation is not presented with much complexity: a down-on-their luck family is resentful of the family of a…

  • Glass

    Glass

    ★★★★½

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    With Unbreakable coming a year before Spider-Man and Glass only a few months before Avengers: Endgame, it is easy to see the two films as bookends for the Marvel era (a likely ongoing period, though I will resort to wishful thinking here). Unbreakable now stands as a hint toward what could have been, had the major studios releasing these superhero movies decided to make emotion-driven, psychological works instead of the vanilla dreck we’ve been getting. Glass, on the other hand, is fully aware of…

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  • The Irishman

    The Irishman

    ★★½

    I should probably see this again before passing judgment, as with anything that I've been waiting nearly a decade to see, just to make sure this isn't a case of overhype or bloated expectations. As it stands, The Irishman worked better for me as a whole than as a sum of its parts—individual sequences and interactions felt like they didn't have the "surprise" element that Scorsese has rightfully berated Marvel films for not having, which is almost surprising given the…

  • Blonde Crazy

    Blonde Crazy

    ★½

    This is filled with a lot of cheap, sex-crazed jokes that fell especially flat for me after having seen two Lubitsch films in a row. The air of sexual liberation and associated humor in Lubitsch's oeuvre displays an astute knowledge of human behavior, while Blonde Crazy appeals to base desires for easy jokes and performances that walk us from one pithy statement to another. James Cagney rarely feels this one-note, and the fact that Joan Blondell's character's best attempts at…

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  • The Shape of Water

    The Shape of Water

    After having seen only three of his films, I'm starting to think that Guillermo del Toro chooses to work in a "fairy tale" register because it means that he gets to be lazy with characterization and thematic development, chalking it up to the simplicity of the form. There is little other excuse that I can think of for why the villains in his films, perhaps true for The Shape of Water even more than for Pan's Labyrinth, seem to be…

  • Birdman

    Birdman

    ★★★★½

    Visually, Birdman is a beautiful film whose appearance as one unbroken take allows us to understand the complexity of life behind the Broadway stage and the fast-paced nature of the world of theatre. It is this world where we find Riggan Thomson, a washed-up actor who is about to star in a stage adaptation of What We Talk About When We Talk About Love that he both wrote and directed but who struggles with his own descent from fame. Despite…