Rob has written 18 reviews for films released in 2019.
Lydia Lunch: The War Is Never Over 2019
I’m glad Lydia Lunch exists, but man is she exhausting.
Terminator: Dark Fate 2019
The Terminator movies are all basically the same: a bad robot is sent from an apocalyptic future to kill someone who will later be important to humanity’s survival, and a good person or robot is sent to protect that important person. One of the main things that determines a Terminator movie’s quality is how much it ties itself in knots to justify the inclusion of an aging Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose titular character is conveniently (if not logically) mass produced. Dark…
Bru & Boegie: The Movie 2019
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
After my first screening of OIAF 2020, I was a bit sad about how much of a diminished experience the at-home version of the festival is. Seeing esoteric animated films in a dark theater on a huge screen with an enthusiastic audience is a rare treat I look forward to every year. But my next screening, Bru & Boegie: The Movie, seemed tailor-made to demonstrate the benefits of viewing at home. Spoiler alert: 90 of the film’s 94 minutes are effectively…
Child's Play 2019
A handful of the adults in this are written and performed with noticeably more warmth than is typical of mainstream fright flicks, and Aubrey Plaza in particular is given real latitude to employ her considerable talents. Unfortunately she’s sidelined after the first act in favor of her kid and his friends, all of whom are pretty stock, and nu-Chucky doesn’t hold a candle to the original. All in all, though, this is slightly better than average popcorn horror.
First things first: no, Verotika isn’t the new The Room. Maybe this is splitting hairs, but it’s more Ed Wood than Tommy Wiseau, which is fitting given that Wood is the poster boy for the kind of 1950s schlock that shaped much of Glenn Danzig’s imagination.
Like Wood’s films, Danzig’s Verotika is obliviously, bewilderingly badly conceived and made, often comically so, but it’s ultimately a slog. Of its three segments, the first is by far the most entertaining, and it goes…
Portrait of a Lady on Fire 2019
This movie is so goddamned good, I’m not even mad that it neglects to incorporate Van Halen’s “On Fire.”
Little Women 2019
Gentle but not slight. Didn’t know how much I needed that right now. Extra points for the quick hit of what is probably the best bookbinding porn ever to grace a major motion picture.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker 2019
Modern fandom is little more than ravenous consumerism, and more than any other Star Wars movie, The Rise of Skywalker’s blockbuster maximalism is calibrated with this in mind. When I rewatched The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi the night before, it felt mostly like homework, and trying to summon anything else to say about The Rise of Skywalker feels about the same. Anyway, I’m done. Thanks for the memories, Star Wars, if not this particular one.
The Irishman 2019
I’ve never shared the average cinephile’s effusive fascination with Scorsese’s brand of pathologically dishonest men, but I’ll give said men credit for consistency: their demands for much more than they’ve earned are always reflected in how much time the audience is made to spend with them.
The sole survivor of a plane crash tries to find his way back to civilization through a semi-mystical wilderness while being slowly pursued by an ominous giant, It Follows-style. With strategically undercooked cell shading and a quest-oriented narrative, Away feels more like a video game than a film, but it’s a game I enjoyed watching. Incredibly, in keeping with its protagonist’s solitary journey, this whole film was made entirely by one person. Not so long ago, it would have taken someone a lifetime to pull this off.
Tux and Fanny 2019
Tux and Fanny cheerfully navigate daily life in a pixelated world: trying to watch multiple TV shows at once, using their cat as a piano, and getting into scrapes with fire ants and magical deer. It’s probably a little longer than it needs to be, I wish its comedic rhythms were a bit more varied, and its Slavic language choice seems to be needlessly calculated to amp up the weirdness for a primarily American audience. But overall it’s a breezy…