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  • Once Upon a Time in the West

    Once Upon a Time in the West

    ★★★½

    Sublime.

    Rest in peace Maestro Morricone ❤

  • Mirai

    Mirai

    ★★½

    Visually arresting and conceptually interesting in that Charles Dickens, It's a Wonderful Life kind of way, but so structurally repetitive that it detracts from the emotions it strives to elicit. What's the point of each life lesson Kun experiences if he immediately reverts back to his usual self, as if he hasn't actually learned anything at all? I get it, he's a four-year-old, and four-year-olds are naïve and can't be expected to develop that quickly, but it's extremely frustrating to…

  • Da 5 Bloods

    Da 5 Bloods

    ★★★

    I have my qualms about Da 5 Bloods, but I feel like this is one of those movies that sort of transcends discussion about its technical merits, partially because Spike Lee has built a career on breaking the "rules" of filmmaking, but mostly because to do so too deeply might take away from the importance of its message. It works perfectly well as a straight Vietnam War movie, examining the conflict's psychological aftermath all these years later, but that's not…

  • Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

    Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

    ★★★½

    Figured I'd watch this while it's on Netflix and while some new perspective from the RedLetterMedia re:View is still fresh in my mind. It's a film I haven't seen since late elementary/early middle school anyway, so it was overdue for a rewatch anyway.

    It's funny that this (for me, at least) was a school staple on lazy Fridays or those end of semester days, because there's so much here that doesn't really function as a typical family film: it's deliberately…

  • Doubt

    Doubt

    ★★★½

    I live for these movies that are very clearly made by filmmakers with backgrounds in theater; give me legendary actors screaming at each other all day every day, baby. This one in particular has a great sense of ambiguity that makes for a far more interesting character study than one that might've chosen to closely follow the "answer" given by the real world (the Catholic sexual abuse scandal news that had broken well before this one released) - I also…

  • Wildlife

    Wildlife

    ★★★

    This is more or less exactly what I expected from a Paul Dano directorial effort: quiet, understated, deliberate, thoughtful - just like the man himself. I really like the examination of the crumbling nuclear family, and the idea that our parents are complicated human beings beyond being just our parents, but I think it really needs just a little bit of "oomph" to push it into "truly great" territory. The three central performers are all great (I particularly enjoyed Gyllenhaal…

  • My Week with Marilyn

    My Week with Marilyn

    ★★½

    Props to Michelle Williams, who does her best to give depth to this superficial script and is generally quite great, but if Marilyn is going to have a cinematic retelling of her troubled life, she deserves something far more understanding of why her story is so fascinating and, ultimately, tragic. My Week with Marilyn seems pretty satisfied in covering just the bare minimum of Monroe's life and lifestyle it needs to serve as a crowd-pleaser; this makes for a breezy…

  • Tomb Raider

    Tomb Raider

    ★★½

    Looks like adapting a video game down to exact sequences doesn't guarantee a good video game movie either. I haven't played the new game(s) but you can just tell which setpieces are ripped right from it: Lara, hands tied, floating down a raging river; sneaking through a heavily armed campsite; escaping a crumbling tomb - the only thing missing is the quick-time event prompts that at least give you some sense of involvement and agency when you play the game.…

  • Rope

    Rope

    ★★½

    Not my favorite Hitchcock, surprisingly. The one-shot presentation is innovative for it's time, but this really the first time the "Master of Suspense" didn't really thrill me. Don't know if it's because of the cinematography or just the narrative itself, but I found that it moves pretty sluggishly for a movie that barely runs 80 minutes. Sort of makes up for it with a decent final 15-20 minutes, but I don't think this one will really be sticking with me.

  • Do the Right Thing

    Do the Right Thing

    ★★★½

    You know why I watched it. Extremely hard to sit through that third act. 31 years later and some things just never change.

  • Joy

    Joy

    ★★

    The sequence where Lawrence goes to QVC and meets Cooper, and he shows her the whole operation, is the lone bright spot in this one, the one point in the movie where O. Russell's manic energy actually adds to the story in a beautiful and spellbinding way. The rest of Joy is O. Russell mania in a bad way, haphazardly jumping from scene to scene (this is a horribly edited film) and refusing to inject any depth into these characters and this story and its themes. Overwritten in its dialogue and character interactions, underwritten in its overall structure. Lawrence is miscast.

  • How to Steal a Million

    How to Steal a Million

    ★★★

    Cute. Never justifies the two hour runtime, probably not helped by a heist that's sort of lacking in energy, but Hepburn and O'Toole are a fun pairing and for what it is, the heist has some clever bits and twists. Not the best caper film you'll ever see but there's enough here to enjoy for at least one viewing.