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Bryan has written 133 reviews for films during 2018.

  • Magic Mike

    Magic Mike

    ★★★

    A movie can go a long way on Channing Tatum's charm, and while this is Citizen Kane compared to Showgirls, but it doesn't really work. The story is split between two protagonists - a dull character that makes all the dumb mistakes, leaving Tatum to be Mr. Perfect. It starts off like it's going to be about their relationship - a master/student type of story - but that becomes completely unimportant as things develop and Tatum's story takes the focus.…

  • Paddington

    Paddington

    ★★★★

    The rumors are true. Paddington is a delightful and charming and unbearably cute movie. Am I gaga over it like others seem to be? No. Despite its witty writing, overly British sentiments, and Wes Andersony production design, it's a little too glossy and easygoing to fully win me over, and the pratfall comedy isn't particularly innovative. But I'll watch the sequel.

  • Capitalism: A Love Story

    Capitalism: A Love Story

    ★★★

    I lost interest in Michael Moore after Sicko but thought I'd go back to see what he had to say in the last decade. With each movie, Moore broadens his scope, but the bigger he gets, the less effective he is. He's gone from trying to meet the CEO of a company in his hometown to tackling an entire economic system that luckily just happens to have fallen into recession thanks to the housing crisis. His ammo against capitalism is…

  • Faces Places

    Faces Places

    ★★★★

    88-year-old Agnes Varda is just a fun person to hang out with, and she has a great relationship with a sunglassed young artist named JR. Together they travel the French countryside bringing art and joy to the ordinary people they meet. That's really all it is, and it doesn't sound like much, but it's truly wonderful. I recommend.

  • Love in the Afternoon

    Love in the Afternoon

    ★★★★

    It's a great script - an unconventional romantic comedy with some really smart one-liners. The photography, which at times seems candle-lit, is sumptuous and alluring. Audrey Hepburn is radiant and a pleasure to watch. Maurice Chevalier is absolutely charming. It all comes down to Gary Cooper, and I know everyone is bothered by his age (only 56, but he looks 70), but I just have to ignore that and appreciate what works right with this movie. Although miscast, he still…

  • The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean

    The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean

    ★★★

    It starts off as a terrific western comedy, with Paul Newman picking up where Walter Brennan left off in The Westerner and delivering an awesome portrayal of the hanging judge of Langtry, Texas. And that would be fine if that's all it was, but writer John Milius wants to turn this into an epic of the west, and the longer the story goes, the less it works, until Roy Bean becomes a legend, and a whole new movie starts up…

  • Princess from the Moon

    Princess from the Moon

    ★★★★

    The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter is considered the oldest story in Japanese literature, and it was more recently adapted by Studio Ghibli as The Tale of Princess Kaguya in 2013. Ichikawa's live action version has Toshiro Mifune as the bamboo cutter, and it's a charming little fairy tale turned sci-fi with a heaping spoonful of Spielbergian effects. Yeah, it is a little bit E.T. I can't say the story is 100% logical - these types of stories usually aren't - but it was entertaining.

  • An Actor's Revenge

    An Actor's Revenge

    ★★★★

    A kabuki actor and female impersonator seeks revenge for the death of his parents, and the whole film is presented as a sort of stageplay with its proscenium-like compositions and stark lighting. It's a novel take on one of the most basic story genres, and there's a lot of humor added with the lives of petty criminals he meets along the way.

  • Being Two Isn't Easy

    Being Two Isn't Easy

    ★★★★

    Here's a strange film about the life of a toddler from birth until his second birthday, and while the child's perspective offers a surreal take on suburban life, the movie is really a loving tribute to the trials and frustrations of parenting and captures the experience of being a new parent better than anything I've seen.

  • Fires on the Plain

    Fires on the Plain

    ★★★★

    One of the most bleak, depressing, and hopeless films I've ever seen. It follows estranged Japanese soldiers starving to death as they wander through Burma in WWII avoiding American patrols and wondering if surrender would mean salvation or death. Like The Burmese Harp, it shows the utter desolation of war, but it doesn't offer the spiritual hope that prior film does. It's like a real life version of The Road.

  • Odd Obsession

    Odd Obsession

    ★★★★

    An art appraiser tries to get his wife to have an affair with the young doctor that's engaged to his daughter so that he can overcome his impotence with feelings of jealousy. Yeah, it's an odd obsession, and it's an odd movie too. Luckily, there's a streak of black humor running through it that makes it fun to watch.

  • Conflagration

    Conflagration

    ★★★

    A student with a terrible stutter longs to be a Buddhist monk, and particularly to become the caretaker of a famous temple. It's an excellent character-centered piece, but the film is long and doesn't have much narrative thrust. The most interesting relationship is when he reluctantly befriends a pessimistic character with a deformed leg, but it's more of a subplot to the more philosophical/religious struggle.