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  • Split

    Split

    ★★★★

    James MacAvoy is so superb. He plays a criminal psychopath with multiple personalities and frequently morphs between several in a take. The depth of character for each individual personality is striking, but sometimes also quite subtle. He even plays an extended scene as one of the personalities pretending to be one of the others, and the nuance of the layers is so easy to see. Just great work. 

    The story? Pretty standard thriller/horror with three teen girls captured and frightened…

  • Parker

    Parker

    ★★

    Quite a poor revenge flick. Jennifer Lopez can do better. Why is she here?

  • Assassin's Creed

    Assassin's Creed

    ★★

    Very stylish. There are some great CGI moments. 

    Those are all the good things I can say, I think. 

    Script, premise and plot are very weak. The direction was consistent and strong, but not in a style that appeals to me. 

    To be fair, that’s exactly what I think of the game, so maybe this is a real gem? But probably not.

  • Left Behind

    Left Behind

    ★★

    Wow. If you don’t believe in god after watching this, there’s no convincing you. 
    This film is unintentionally hilarious. Nick Cage has seen better days (and scripts) but everything else was so made-for-TV it’s best that he didn’t try too hard. 
    Rita and I laughed the whole way through. Lots of fun. And check out that histogram! You could ski on it!

  • In the Land of Women

    In the Land of Women

    ★★★★

    Very well done rom-com with genuine pathos, delightful characters, rich and real humans with well rendered roles, motivations and journeys. It’s rare for this genre to have so much respect for the characters. I loved almost every moment. 

    John Hughes is referenced at least twice, and you have to fill some pretty big shoes to be kicking that name around, but I think this film definitely earns the right. There is also a scene or two that bring Richard Linklater…

  • Faster

    Faster

    ★★½

    Quire a mean-spirited revenge flick. Not a very good story. Strictly for the angry-young-man set. No thinking required. 

    Nicely filmed though, and The Rock is pretty bad-ass. I’d like to see more complexity from him though (and not the fake complexity that this film tries).

  • Nocturnal Animals

    Nocturnal Animals

    ★★★★

    Slick, perfectly paced, and keeps a respectful distance. I feel like I’ve been treated like an adult.

    It’s a very dark twist on the noir format. The femme fatale is ostensibly the point of view character, although the bulk of the film is a story-within-a-story, so we have two protagonists. 

    The ending is a kick in the guts played out entirely in your own head. No vulgar explicit reveals, but Amy Adams silently and stoically moved through every dark scenario I was pondering, with the same pace and cadence. It was like a magic trick. That was a fun ending scene for me.

  • Paterson

    Paterson

    ★★★½

    Thought provoking and charming, but quite hard to determine the narrative intent. This film hasn’t got a straightforward plot or any of the normal beats of a story. It’s starkly poetic and cryptic, and beautiful in an understated way. Adam Driver is sublime as usual. 
    I can’t say what it’s about or what it means, since I think that would change for each viewer. There’s so much to unpack, but at the moment I feel lazy so I’m going to…

  • To All the Boys I've Loved Before

    To All the Boys I've Loved Before

    ★★★

    Follows the John Hughes formula and unapologetically features several references from and even a scene from 16 Candles. This isn’t as awesome as that 80s masterpiece, but it’s also nowhere near as terrible either. 16 Candles was naive and goofy, and had terrible politics, but featured some Spandau Ballet, David Bowie, Paul Young and on and on. This new one isn’t anywhere near as musically iconic, although the soundtrack is pretty listenable. It’s definitely a more polished work, and the…

  • G.I. Joe: Retaliation

    G.I. Joe: Retaliation

    ★★★

    I’m going to watch all of Dwayne Johnson’s films. He’s so good. 

    Everyone in this film is beautiful to watch. They’re all having a great time. They know it’s dumb but they’re working hard and servicing the genre. 

    The politics are pretty questionable; particularly the gender politics. Not a good candidate for the Bechdel test. Still... that’s not the audience this was made for.

  • Captain Fantastic

    Captain Fantastic

    ★★★★

    Brilliant.

    This is the sort of film I want to watch. Beautiful, insightful, thoughtful, intelligent and open minded. 

    I laughed a lot, and talked a lot afterwards. Always a good sign. 

    I think I’ll be a better parent after digesting this film. Or at least more confident.

  • Network

    Network

    ★★★

    Extremely cynical and even sarcastic at times. A very unflattering light is shone on the moribund culture of 1970s America. Interesting how bleak the picture is. This could be a very contemporary take on modern culture, substituting the adolescent medium of television for the adolescent medium of social networks. Not very enlightening though, and clearly not a loud enough warning to prevent the downhill moral slide.

    It’s actually encouraging to see just how little has changed. Americans are more obese and whiney but no more neurotic or vapid than they were 40 years ago.