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  • The Tale

    The Tale

    ★★★★½

    The Tale is one of the year's most powerful movies. Lauren Dern and Isabelle Nélisse give truly gripping performances. Jason Ritter and Elizabeth Debicki are particularly haunting throughout the film.

    But I want to single out writer/director Jennifer Fox. The Tale is the true story of sexual abuse that Fox went through when she was 13 and how she recovered the truth from her memories. The decision to make this movie, using her own name in the film and her…

  • Scrooged

    Scrooged

    ★★

    I have something of a love-hate relationship with Bill Murray. On a good day, I find his dry wit style funny and charming. On a bad day, I wish he would just try harder or at least be more emotionally present in his roles.

    Scrooged is a solid enough comedy for that. The standard emotional Christmas moments are performed well by him. But the lead up to those moments are just too dry for me to latch onto.

    Scrooged was just okay. I'm glad I saw it but I doubt I'll have a desire to see it again.

  • Always

    Always

    ★★

    Always only hits a couple marks when it comes to what makes Spielberg so great. The first act showing Dreyfuss and Hunter's relationship is classic Spielberg sentiment. Honestly, that worked well for me. I bought into the relationship and thought both actors were very charismatic.

    But once Always gets into its main storyline (Dreyfuss dies, his ghost comes back to help a young pilot), the movie kind of lost me. Despite the handicap of acting in pseudo-solitude, Dreyfuss does a…

  • Dogtooth

    Dogtooth

    ★★½

    r/LetterboxdOfficial Film Club - 001 - Yorgos Lanthimos

    This was the second Yorgos Lanthimos film I've seen. The first was The Killing of a Sacred Deer (link to my ridiculously vague review here) earlier this year. I left Sacred Deer confused and uncomfortable with what I had seen. So it's no surprise I'm coming away from Dogtooth with a similar reaction.

    Dogtooth is weird. It's the story of three siblings who live in isolation with their overprotective parents. The movie…

  • Schindler's List

    Schindler's List

    ★★★★★

    Schindler's List is one of the most important movies I've ever seen. The history we read about WWII and what we're taught of the Holocaust in school is just words. To actually see the horror in Steven Spielberg's masterpiece is another thing entirely.

    It's intense in its casual violence and slaughter. But although we see a lot of random, casual murder on screen, the film makes a point to address and define the Nazis' senseless executions. Schindler's List feels educational,…

  • Green Book

    Green Book

    ★★

    Eh. I'm sure Green Book works fine with audiences looking for a hokey, feel-good depiction of friendship overcoming racism in the deep south in 1962. There's no disputing that it's an important subject and the story of Tony Lip and Don Shirley is an interesting enough one. But the movie was just too shmaltsy and disjointed for me to get anything out of it.

    I took issue with the fact that Tony Lip was the lead character and that the…

  • The Kindergarten Teacher

    The Kindergarten Teacher

    ★★★

    The Kindergarten Teacher is the best performance I've seen from Maggie Gyllenhaal in a long time. Lisa is soft spoken and adept at covering her unhappiness and lack of creative spark with a veneer of well-meaning drive for nurturing.

    But in reality, her interest in Jimmy's talent is solely about her and what she feels she's lacking in her life. Gyllenhaal does a wonderful job bringing us into Lisa's warped mindset in a way that doesn't feel warped. The logic…

  • The Social Network

    The Social Network

    ★★★★

    David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin make an incredible team. Fincher's keen eye to detail and his dark, digital looking color pallette complements Sorkin's signature fast paced dialogue spectacularly well in this story about internet billionaires. But this isn't just the story of Facebook. It's the story of Zuckerberg and what can happen when someone tries to overwrite human emotion with creative outlets.

    To be clear, I've always viewed The Social Network as a highly fictionalized and stylized account of the…

  • Only the Lonely

    Only the Lonely

    ★★★

    I watched this entirely on a whim. Before hitting play, I honestly had never heard of this Chris Columbus written/directed romcom with Ally Sheedy, John Candy, and Maureen O'Hara. Even though it didn't knock my socks off by any stretch, I thought Only the Lonely was charming and a pleasant showcase for Candy's dramatic chops.

    The charisma Candy had on the screen was very strong. You really feel for him as a lonely everyman who has some attachment issues when…

  • Saving Private Ryan

    Saving Private Ryan

    ★★★★★

    I'm certain I've seen this movie over two dozen times in the 20 years it's been out. I've seen it in many different formats, and on many different screens. Yet, it has never once lost its luster with me.

    Saving Private Ryan is a remarkable achievement in filmmaking for Spielberg. I hesitate to refer to the war sequences as "action sequences" because Spielberg truly creates an immersive war experience that is devoid of gratuitous violence and does not glamorize the…

  • The Christmas Chronicles

    The Christmas Chronicles

    ★★★

    The Christmas Chronicles is a pretty cute and silly Netflix Christmas movie. Kurt Russell is the stand out as a version of Santa with a tiny bit of an edge to him. He plays the part very well and was so charming. The special effects are forgivably cheesy and the plot goes into some surprising and weird places. It was a fun watch.

    The ending is surprisingly heartwarming and sweet. I don't know if this will become a Christmas season staple for me, but I enjoyed watching it.

  • Ralph Breaks the Internet

    Ralph Breaks the Internet

    ★★★

    Wreck It Ralph is one of my favorite animated films from the last decade. It's clever, gorgeous, and heartwarming. So I was excited for the sequel and curious how they were going to incorporate the internet into the plot.

    The result is a pretty solid sequel that doesn't quite reach the heights of its predecessor. The animation is spectacular and there are some really clever Easter eggs and references that are a blast. However, the story of Ralph and Vanellope's…