Rob has written 7 reviews for films released in 2020.

  • Nomadland

    Nomadland

    ★★★½

    Much of the criticism I’ve heard about Nomadland is that it doesn’t more forcefully editorialize. America’s broken healthcare system, Amazon’s labor practices, the shredding of the social safety net: they’re all there, but we don’t hear about them. And indeed, I was surprised by the gentleness of the film, waiting in vain for something terrible to happen. In her Vulture profile of Chloe Zhao, Allison Willmore nicely sums up the difficulty of telling these kinds of stories:

    That remains the…

  • Derek DelGaudio's In & of Itself

    Derek DelGaudio's In & of Itself

    ★★½

    Most of the magic tricks are neat. Most of the self-satisfied pseudo-profundity is not.

  • Minari

    Minari

    ★★★½

    Not an overtly political film, but its distinctly American story, told mostly in Korean, puts the lie to so much of the right’s empty nativist rhetoric.

  • The Invisible Man

    The Invisible Man

    ★★★★

    Neither the trailer nor writer/director Leigh Whannell’s bonafides in the Saw and Insidious franchises gave me much confidence that this Invisible Man remake would be any good, so its overall high quality is a very pleasant surprise indeed. Its loudest moments are its weakest, but thankfully it spends much of its time quietly plumbing the depths of Elisabeth Moss’s crippling PTSD. If there is to be a modern version of the scream queen, may Moss’s nuanced performance here be the template. It’s the best performance I’ve seen all year.

  • Circumstantial Pleasures

    Circumstantial Pleasures

    ★★

    The description of this film sounds right up my alley: “A collage contemplation of the contemporary zeitgeist with central attention placed on capitalism and it’s [sic] systems of distribution and the ecological crisis this has wrought.” But its visuals address its subjects in ways that are by turns too obvious and not obvious enough. When people are depicted, they’re either hyper-familiar powerbrokers (Trump, Putin, Zuckerberg) or unidentifiable comic book clippings. Whoever they are, their significance isn’t addressed so much as…

  • Kill It and Leave This Town

    Kill It and Leave This Town

    ★★★½

    Twelve years in the making, this strange dive into the unsettling environs of Mariusz Wilczyński’s memories is rendered in scratchy ink drawings on dark stained backgrounds. Occasionally reminiscent of Quentin Blake’s illustration work with Roald Dahl, the look sometimes manages to be both bleak and whimsical at the same time, which suits the film’s meandering perspective: lucid observations of passenger train interactions and his mother’s death are juxtaposed with ominous and bewildering warnings from severed heads and talking animals. It’s not a fun ride, but it’s definitely an interesting one.

  • Bill & Ted Face the Music

    Bill & Ted Face the Music

    ★★★

    Sweet, dumb, fun. No more than I needed from it, and no less.