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Tim has written 72 reviews for films rated ★★½ .

  • Jacob's Ladder

    Jacob's Ladder

    ★★½

    There are so many great ideas stacked on top of one another, piled so high they threaten to tumble down.  The resulting film is the end result of that collapse with the rubble of a really intriguing story about PTSD presented as a biblical allegory.  This film feels like a 90s precursor to mother! but possibly without the awareness or demented minds behind it to really give it it’s due.

    When characters start meeting and proposing theories about what is…

  • Velvet Buzzsaw

    Velvet Buzzsaw

    ★★½

    This film feels caught between two great ideas and ideologies for a film, and it’s attitude feels reactionary in the way that Roman J Israel felt like a reactionary 180 from Nightcrawler.

    There’s a straight comedic, cheesy 90s film about pretentious art critics and haunted paintings. You see it most clearly in how out there Gyllenhaal and Russo go in their big performances or how silly and scathing the film’s rabid sense of humour is. A critic crouches over a…

  • Passengers

    Passengers

    ★★½

    The strangest thing about this film to me is that it only has one writer listed on the screenplay in Jon Spaights when it feels like the product of studio mandated rewrites.  I’d be curious to see if the screenplay looked the same before it was casted.

    Despite how weirdly miscast the two leads are, the first hour is an interesting, human, and dark sci-fi film about a man losing his mind, weighing a terrible decision, and then hiding from…

  • The Dinner

    The Dinner

    ★★½

    There are some great moments throughout this, Steve Coogan gives a deeply vulnerable performance, and the way it confronts parenthood makes for an interesting and uncomfortable discussion point.

    The problem really comes in the very slippery presentation. Every scene feels over written and over directed. I have not read the book upon which this is based, but I get the impression that a lot of this movie's problems come from its inability to adapt to the film format.

    There's clearly…

  • Happy Death Day

    Happy Death Day

    ★★½

    This is so overproduced and overwritten and overeverything.  It’s the most 90s movie of all time, embodying all the worst instincts and tropes of films from that troubled period.

    It takes an obvious but simple and promising concept and somehow doesn’t know how to tell it.  

    I can’t spend too many brain cells writing this.  It was such an empty film where it feels like the writers and director actively sought out every tired cliche they could find.

    The ONLY…

  • Scream 2

    Scream 2

    ★★½

    The ultimate problem with this sequel is that while it openly acknowledges and mocks the tropes of horror sequels, it ultimately succumbs to them.  Where the first film used its tropes to manipulate the audience and craft something unique, the second film just references the tropes but does nothing with them.

    The one stark difference that was really refreshing was the way it handled its suspects.  In the first one, there is a deliberate and brilliant utilization of the suspects.…

  • Burnt

    Burnt

    ★★½

    This film made me genuinely angry which I'll admit is an extreme reaction for such a mediocre piece of work.  But it is precisely that mediocrity that was so infuriating.  This film advertised itself as some sort of Kitchen Social Network.  And it's clearly written that way.  A tyrant genius chef in a high pressure world in a film presenting us with an unlikely dramatic thriller.  It's a fantastic premise with a fantastic ensemble.

    But this film was not written…

  • 2 Days in New York

    2 Days in New York

    ★★½

    A whole lot of zaniness, culture clashing, and familial awkwardness played for laughs that's really more excruciating than anything else, amongst a bizarrely directed backdrop, and pushed along a narrative that never follows through on anything it sets up.

    The only thing keeping any of this going is Chris Rock's effortless presence. He's the voice of reason and he's had enough of this shit almost immediately. And while he's greatly toned down, enough of his personality still manages to shine…

  • Okja

    Okja

    ★★½

    Imagine if Studio Ghibli decided to make a live action film about the meatpacking industry, full of profanity and heavy adult content and themes, but still pretty clearly intended as a kids movie.  There's nothing innately wrong with that idea, but in this case the execution isn't quite there.

    The performances across the board have that same condescending level of animation that so many other live action kids movies do.  Where everyone and everything is Zany with a capital Z…

  • Shimmer Lake

    Shimmer Lake

    ★★½

    This is a fine, disposable film with big unfulfilled ambitions.  The cast is primarily composed of comic actors whose dramatic work typically extends to comic relief roles in dramedies, and here most of them struggle to convincingly get through the dialogue.
    The gimmicky use of the reverse structure here was frustrating and felt somewhat misused as the film went on, which isn't great when that's the selling point of the film.

    First, what are some of the hallmarks of a…

  • Aliens

    Aliens

    ★★½

    I think the ultimate sin of this film is in its treatment of the titular aliens.  They used to be terrifying.

    In Alien, one Xenomorph was horrific.  It looked scary, it was fast, agile, dangerous, and almost impossible to kill.

    In Aliens, we have hundreds of Aliens, but they aren't the threat they once were.  A burst of gunfire and they're dead.  The only danger is in how many of them there are and the team not knowing exactly where…

  • The Godfather: Part III

    The Godfather: Part III

    ★★½

    The one strength of this misguided and difficult film is it's ending. That Michael is forced to actually experience grief as a man for the first time since he entered into his father's business. He doesn't get vengeance, he doesn't get even, he suffers. It's a poetic end.

    The problem is everywhere else. Everything is a shadow of what came before. I think the core behind a lot of the film's failings comes in it's release. The film takes place…