Nick has written 15 reviews for films rated ★★★½ during 2020.

  • The Queen's Gambit

    The Queen's Gambit

    ★★★½

    While I liked the show overall, I have to say I'm didappointed with the trajectory of the show. Basically, I feel like the show starts off fantastic but slowly descends into overly sentimental cheese. That first episode is maybe the best depiction of how young children become dependent on drugs, even before there is a physical addiction, that ive ever seen. It shows how a dependency can develop due to the reinforcement it provides in such a nuanced yet general…

  • The Vast of Night

    The Vast of Night

    ★★★½

    Really fun movie. Amazing sound design. That dudes McConaughey is pretty good. Really great dialogue across the board, albeit a little on the nose at points, but so many movies don't demonstrate such restraint in monologues. And, of course, all the extras in this movie act like Watch Dogs NPC's. So wild and repetitive in their actions. It was amazing.

    What I can't tell, and I haven't really decided whether its a good thing or not, is if a lot…

  • QT8: The First Eight

    QT8: The First Eight

    ★★★½

    The integration of the subject matter if Harvey Weinstein in this doc was hilarious. Throughout the doc, it'll ocassionally hold on a pic of Weinstein with tense music building. Then they cut to Kill Bill and people talking about that. What? Only near the very end do the address this subject that needed to be done, and even then, they botched that. It needed to be in there, but not like that. Overall though, has a lot of really good insights.

  • Devs

    Devs

    ★★★½

    Having gone back and watched Garland's past two films, I dont know how to feel about this one. My biggest issue with Garland's films, including the ones he written, is his characters. They consistently flat, uninteresting, and mostly just used as a vehicle to show off his worlds. Annihilation has some pretty sleepy characters, Caleb in Ex Machina is a hollow shell, and at one point in 28 Days Later, Cillian Murphy disappears for like ten minutes to show off…

  • National Theatre Live: Frankenstein

    National Theatre Live: Frankenstein

    ★★★½

    I have never really been a fan of Cumberbatch, but those first 15 minutes are something else. Such a physical performance that conveys so much. Not my type of theater really, I do prefer less extravigant productions but I can't deny this was an incredibly well done adaptation, bringing something new to the original text.

  • Chinatown

    Chinatown

    ★★★½

    Despite what you may read in every film textbook, my hottake is that this is definitely not one of the best screenplays ever written. Let alone one that should be lauded as the crowning achievement of three act structure. Its not a bad movie and it sure is utilizing three act structure, however, that three act structure is robust and engaging consistently.

    The first act, which does its job at establishing the story, is boring. Personally, I really don't like…

  • Her Smell

    Her Smell

    ★★★½

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

    The most notable aspect of this film is the structure and pacing. And honestly I really don't know how to feel about it.

    Too much hugging at the end. I like the tension that she may use in the last act, I just didnt care for the bait and switch execution. Just the whole last act felt off. The sobriety angle just felt disingenuous.

  • Vivarium

    Vivarium

    ★★★½

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

    Vivarium

    Regardless of how cheap its visual effects may look, after a while, it almost makes it better. I do think when we go to third act territory the word is a little underdeveloped. Not in the sense of information, but in the sense that it doesn't feel super tactile. I can't belive I'm saying this but small, directorial details added, for example off the top of my head: if Tom's ladder in the hole was constructed out of pieces…

  • Little Joe

    Little Joe

    ★★★½

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

    Its weird that her son is so obviously sketch and yet she just keeps going to work. Its just weird and theres a disconnect in character logic and action. Maybe she and everyone was infected from the beginning causing something like Color Out of Space where logic centers get messy.

    A little like a dumbed down Carruth film made by Yorgos Lanthimos. The only other Jessica Haussner film ive seen is Hotel and that one was way weirder. It was…

  • Miss Violence

    Miss Violence

    ★★★½

    There is a transition maybe fifty minutes in that is very well one of the most shocking cuts of all time. My whole first experience with this film is marked by that one scene and overshadows so much. I imagine on rewatch this is the type of film that gets better, but much like Michael (2011) I find the idea of returning to this film difficult. Both in the patients thr film asks of the viewer and in the bad…

  • Swallow

    Swallow

    ★★★½

    Overall, very well made and watchable, I was throughly engaged the entire run time. I thought some of the side perforamnces, the husband in particular, were cheesy and really distracting compared to the quietness of Haley Bennet's performance. The only other place the film doesn't live up to Bennett is in the music. Both the score and music choices were bad and innappropriately used. Weird and wild, I'll have to watch it again to really know how I feel about…

  • 1917

    1917

    ★★★½

    Don't know why (perhaps because of the marketing) I had a few misconceptions going into this movie. One is my fault the other is on Mendes. I wrongly went in expecting this to do the bad thing and make war cool, but for the most part, it avoided that. It was grounded and the film works best when the production design is telling the story. But the other misconception I had was that this was going to be stitched together…