Niels has written 7 reviews for films rated ★★★★ during 2019.

  • The Two Popes

    The Two Popes

    ★★★★

    Ancient institutions, such as the Catholic Church, have always been a curiosity of mine. This film doesn’t just feed that interest, but it attempts to enlighten us as to the spiritual reminiscing of two great preachers of the faith. 
    Though I appreciated some of the film’s literary tangents, I also found myself at odds with the film’s attempt to lecture us about politics and economic models. 
    As much time as the film spent as a simple conversation between two very…

  • The Irishman

    The Irishman

    ★★★★

    A ruminative and surprisingly introspective film. Director Martin Scorsese looks back at the work that made him a household name by tinkering with the formula, without revising it entirely. 
    A near-masterwork if it weren’t for the overindulgence of its running time, and the near-absence of a female point of view (Anna Paquin, who comes the closest to giving a female perspective acts more as a God-like, all-seeing and all-judging entity that serves and reacts to the doings of the lead character).

  • The King

    The King

    ★★★★

    If you’re looking for a poetic rendition of Shakespeare’s Henry V, look elsewhere. 
    If your expectations aren’t so grand, The King is a perfectly adept film about a young man whose reluctancy to be the leader of his empire made him uniquely and ironically qualified for the position. 
    What works: 
    The performances, especially that of Timothee Chalamet in the lead role showing, yet again, his precocious talent. The small role played by Robert Pattison is also especially satisfying. 
    The cinematography,…

  • El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie

    El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie

    ★★★★

    It is said authors fall in love with their characters. Such is the case of Vince Gilligan with Jesse Pinkman, the unlikely hero of the Breaking Bad franchise. 
    El Camino greatest success is that it feels like a natural progression to the show, albeit a less cathartic yet more redemptive finale to a fantastically told tragedy. 
    Aaron Paul’s deserves some attention for seamlessly recapturing the magic of his most famous character.

  • Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

    Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

    ★★★★

    The 9th and second-to-last film of Quentin Tarantino’s career is also his most relaxed and least focused. In that it seems to be a step towards a kind of filmmaking that is more observant and patient albeit less story driven than all of his previous efforts.

    Contrary to what some critics have said, it’s not that Once Upon A Time in Hollywood lacks a plot, but that whatever semblance of a plot it has serves larger and more interesting ideas.…

  • Her Smell

    Her Smell

    ★★★★

    Equal parts frustrating and riveting. A nightmare and a dream all wrapped into one. If the first half feels like torture, then the second feels like salvation. Elizabeth Moss inhabits every gesture, every tear and every non-sensical bit of dialogue with total abandon. 
    The film’s title hints at something foul and dirty. As such, director Alex Ross Perry places us in the thick of the stench found in backstages around the country hosting a coked-out, drunk, incoherent yet magnetic self-destructing rocker. 
    An awesome cinematic experience found in a rather imperfect film.

  • The Apartment

    The Apartment

    ★★★★

    A fantastic Jack Lemmon makes it work by lightening the mood of an unexpectedly dark film that deals with suicide, toxic masculinity and sexism. 
    This is a film that was surely ahead of its time.