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Bryan has written 258 reviews for films during 2016.

  • The Nice Guys

    The Nice Guys

    ★★★★

    If there's a problem with The Nice Guys, it's that it's too much like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, but I don't consider that a fault. That's exactly what I want from Shane Black. It may not be as fresh or as funny, and it's bogged down by elaborate action plotting at the end, but it's another great buddy comedy filled with character-based humor layered over a Hollywood noir storyline, and I'll never get tired of that.

  • Grand Prix

    Grand Prix

    ★★★★

    A Cinerama roadshow picture with some of the most amazing race car footage I've ever seen. Director John Frankenheimer, coming off a five film winning streak, enlisted the incredible Saul Bass to design the prolonged race sequences. They are ridiculously thrilling and cinematic, but between the races it's just a lot of ho-hum romance with dull characters, which wouldn't be so awful if the movie wasn't three hours long. You're better off just skipping to the next race.

  • Love Me Tonight

    Love Me Tonight

    ★★★★★

    My second-favorite musical and one of the most delightfully charming and breezily witty films I know of, capped off by Maurice Chevalier as the most genial man in the universe. It's a frothy combination of pre-code innuendo, old world class fantasy, Marx Brothers styled one-liners, and innovative sound filmmaking. Am I over-selling this? My only complaint is the horrible title.

  • Seven Chances

    Seven Chances

    ★★★★★

    High concept comedy that's slow to start but has an epic climax and some of Keaton's best stunts. One of my favorites.

  • The Ruling Class

    The Ruling Class

    ★★★★

    This is one of those movies I saw as a kid that I knew would mean something when I was grown up. Well, I'm grown up now, and it's a pretty vicious attack on upper class England, but it's not particularly deep. Unfortunately it's far too long, and could stand to lose things like the sudden musical numbers that strives too hard to be zany. The dark ending also doesn't quite work, which is weird because it should. Perhaps by that point the movie had hammered things home too much. Peter O'Toole is fantastic even if his makeup isn't.

  • The Darjeeling Limited

    The Darjeeling Limited

    ★★★

    Take a vacation in India with Wes Anderson and three of the biggest noses in show business. This has a different flavor from other Anderson films, but I think it's less the locale than it is the tight focus on three main characters. Unfortunately they're all quirks with little depth. There's a reason Anderson makes ensemble films.

  • The Strange Love of Martha Ivers

    The Strange Love of Martha Ivers

    ★★★★

    A twisted, dark melodramatic noir film that has a great evil Barbara Stanwyck sealing her title as the ultimate femme fatale. There's also a memorable debut role for Kirk Douglas, cast against a type he hadn't even become yet. Van Heflin's fine and likable in the lead although a character like his should be a little wiser, and Lizabeth Scott, in her second film, is as Lauren Bacall as it gets. This is Lewis Milestone's first film after a string…

  • Out of the Dark

    Out of the Dark

    ★★★

    Cartoonishly ridiculous Stephen Chow film that's Ghostbusters in a Hong Kong high-rise. It takes a while to get into its groove and the humor is uneven, but in the end it's a lot of silly fun.

  • Room

    Room

    ★★★

    Room is a level-headed and almost too magical look at a horrific situation that probably couldn't find its way onto the screen outside of a horror film, but despite being well made with terrific performances, something felt missing. I'm not even sure I can pinpoint what it is. Something to do with an experience that the audience simply can't relate to because it's so foreign, or there's a side of the story that still needs telling, but in the end it just felt like the movie should have been more than it was. I shouldn't be feeling indifferent to what happened.

  • Roar

    Roar

    ★★★★

    I watched about 30 minutes of the new Jungle Book, but I just couldn't get into it. The animation was pretty to look at, but the generic plot and emoting animals just didn't do anything for me. It was a kids movie. Then I watched Roar, about a man who lives with a a pride of lions (and tigers and panthers and elephants too). The whole movie is basically Tippi Hedren and her real life family (including young Melanie Griffith)…

  • Beach Red

    Beach Red

    ★★★

    Is it wrong to compare a 1967 movie to a big budget 1998 movie? Beach Red opens with a beach landing not much different than Saving Private Ryan, but the experience of watching it pales in comparison so much that I had no sense of danger, excitement, or horror. I just noticed how lacking it was. For it's time I'm sure it was impressive and graphically brutal, and you could even say Spielberg just ripped it off, but the power's…

  • Attack the Block

    Attack the Block

    ★★★★

    Another movie that's a throwback to the 80s - an effective monster movie with a first time director using a bevy of first time actors with heavy accents. The scope of the movie is very small and I kept wanting it to go bigger, but it works within its parameters; sort of like an urban Tremors - not as funny but just as colorful. A movie that should entertain teens as easily as any Hollywood blockbuster, but they might have…