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Rob has written 10 reviews for films released in 2019.

  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

    Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

    ★★

    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

    The Irishman

    ★★★

    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.

  • Away

    Away

    ★★★½

    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

    Tux and Fanny

    ★★★½

    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…

  • I Lost My Body

    I Lost My Body

    ★★★

    I like the idea of a character study focused on hands, and I Lost My Body is a frequently compelling execution of the concept. However, its surrealist subplot (a disembodied hand’s epic journey back to its owner) is mostly a distraction, its reliance on various dramatic tropes gets wearisome, and its score pushes way too hard to elicit emotions it hasn’t quite earned. (These Stranger Things arpeggiated ’80s synth chords thing are really a thing now, huh?)

  • Marona's Fantastic Tale

    Marona's Fantastic Tale

    ★★★★

    Marona’s Fantastic Tale is a dog’s life story in her own words. Though its namesake’s narration is frequently incisive and eloquent—the dog’s naive perspective on humanity asks some good questions—the film does get a bit treacly here and there. Luckily, any such shortcomings are bulldozed by its endless appetite for graphic invention. Marona’s various humans, the sums of their loves and fears and desires, are defined above all by shape and locomotion, and their forms and movements are only tenuously beholden to physical reality. Seeing animation this effectively expressive at feature length is a rare treat.

  • Ready or Not

    Ready or Not

    ★½

    Bad script. Bad cast. Bad direction. Closing credits set in Arial.

  • Invader ZIM: Enter the Florpus

    Invader ZIM: Enter the Florpus

    ★★

    I haven’t seen the Invader Zim TV show in many years, so it’s hard to say if I was underwhelmed by the movie because a) it’s not as good as the show was, or b) my brain is just no longer calibrated to enjoy Invader Zim. Maybe both?

  • Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé

    Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé

    ★★★★½

    A generational juggernaut of a performer at the height of her powers creating a spectacle of empowerment and representation with a cast of hundreds. It also happens to be an enormously entertaining show, and an effective encouragement to channel your very best self toward putting something good into the world.

  • Us

    Us

    ★★

    Okay, I know, fine, I’ll quit Twitter.