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Bryan has written 186 reviews for films during 2018.

  • Good Times - Ben Safdie, Josh Safdie

    Good Times - Ben Safdie, Josh Safdie


    Desperate people doing desperate things to achieve their desperate goals. Most filmmakers would approach this story as a comedy, and the movie falls just short of becoming a parody of itself. It's like "After Hours" without the humor. The Safdie brothers really wish this was a 70s movie, and they film everything in tight close-ups Cassavettes style. It annoyed me when Cassavettes did it, and it annoys me here, but not so much that it hurts the film. Robert Pattinson…

  • Seven Days in May

    Seven Days in May


    An incredibly smart political thriller that struggles through some (much needed) exposition dumps and begs for a little more action. Still, the ideas it toys with are shocking and still relevant today, it's a great depiction of the lives of Pentagon brass, and the final verbal showdown between Burt Lancaster and Frederic March is fantastic.

  • The Big Sick

    The Big Sick


    A gentle romantic comedy boosted by its autobiographical roots, and although I wished it was a little less indie-film naturalism and a little more funny, it was very pleasant to watch, esp. once Holly Hunter and Ray Romano showed up. The screenplay navigated some very tricky story transitions, and did a great job at delaying gratification.

  • Altered States

    Altered States


    This is one of those freaky, weird movies I loved as a teen (the nudity was a plus). Once you overlook the basic premise of the transformative power of magic 'shrooms, it's a really fun look at scientists doing research that unlocks the secrets of time and space with a dazzling light show. Director Ken Russell wisely makes the actors shout Chayefsky's mumbo jumbo lines over each other so we don't have to take it all too seriously. The cast…

  • Threads



    This is basically a solid remake of "The War Game," a 1965 pretend documentary about the effects of nuclear war. It's incredibly well done for a BBC TV movie, and doesn't shy away from the bleak and depressing subject matter, but it's also hampered by its low budget and TV style. Still, I have to give it point simply because it depicts the after-effects of nuclear war better than anything else I've seen, including "The Day After," which has all the same 80s TV movie problems that this film has. Any clues on what the title means?

  • 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



    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.