• Kong: Skull Island

    Kong: Skull Island

    β˜…β˜…β˜…Β½

    I think a lot of folks are pretty unfair to this one. There's a hell of a lot of visual flair and some actual thematic development and character work. Really the thing that sings here is the island itself. Like Edwards, Vogt-Roberts understands the visuals carry a film like this.

  • The Hobbit

    The Hobbit

    β˜…β˜…β˜…Β½

    A lot of very dodgy voice work and pacing- but it's tough to match the absolutely manic energy Rankin and Bass give to some of these characters. Gandalf's introduction is completely unhinged and all the more delightful for it, Gollum's design is just how I imagined him as a kid, and the songs are (nonstop and) terrific. Just a splendidly little imperfect piece of animation.

  • King Kong vs. Godzilla

    King Kong vs. Godzilla

    β˜…β˜…β˜…Β½

    Some stray thoughts:

    - Godzilla's first foray into color is surprisingly good. The miniatures work is top notch, and Godzilla's suit is spectacular. I miss the more radiation-burn inspired version, but the more reptilian look is undoubtedly iconic.

    - the pharmaceutical company subplot is clearly played for laughs, but its the most realistic thing in the whole movie.

    - the octopus scene fucking rips. Real octopus on a miniature set, Kong getting drunk and passing out - the movie peaks…

  • Godzilla Raids Again

    Godzilla Raids Again

    β˜…β˜…β˜…

    Unironically and unfortunately, some of the most exciting stuff in this one is literally in-fiction replays of the first film without sound. Not a bad sequel, though, and certainly sets the stage for what would become one of the most venerable and beloved franchises of all time: by not being overly faithful to the original (particularly in tone), they set themselves up to go anywhere and everywhere- which they did and indeed continue to do.

    Anguirus is pretty fuckin' cool, too. I wish he was my friend.

  • 2001: A Space Odyssey

    2001: A Space Odyssey

    β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

    I'm on record multiple times giving this a hard time - I really would, most days, prefer to watch nearly any other Kubrick to this, and I don't think you lose all that much narrative-wise by skipping the first 90 minutes of this either.

    It's still a perfect film. The barebones dialogue improves it all the more, the visual fidelity is a treat even over 50 years later. I desperately need to go see this in the theater.

    I've been…

  • The Great Escape

    The Great Escape

    β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

    This is a new camp. It has been built to hold you and your men...we have in effect put all our rotten eggs in one basket. And we intend to watch this basket carefully.

    You will not be denied the use of facilities. Sports, the library, the recreation hall, and for gardening we will give you tools. We trust you will use them for gardening. Devote your energies to these things. Give up your hopeless attempts to escape, and with…

  • Onward

    Onward

    β˜…β˜…β˜…Β½

    If they'd actually wanted to include a queer character, they should have ditched the blink-and-you'll-miss-it cop (i actually did miss it) and just made Louis-Dreyfus' character bi and had her partner up with Octavia Spencer's character.

    Perfectly middling Pixar honestly- a bit hard to believe that the same folks released Soul a year later.

  • Pinocchio

    Pinocchio

    β˜…β˜…β˜…Β½

    Honestly surprised that Disney didn't just go out and adapt Pilgrim's Progress after this.

    Also that whale is still scary as hell.

  • The Phantom of the Opera

    The Phantom of the Opera

    β˜…β˜…β˜…Β½

    I think we're a little unfair on this one, though I also recognize its faults and that this is baaasically the only musical I like so there's some bias there. Here's a random list of stuff I love in this version:

    * The opening sequence and kickoff into the overture is incredible and Big Theater Kid energy brought to life with a large budget. That main theme itself has so much manic energy to it that it's no wonder they…

  • Soul

    Soul

    β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…Β½

    There are a handful of visual sequences here that are flat out the most incredible thing Pixar has ever done, both from a technical standpoint and an artistic one. Really loving their push towards more abstract premises- this one slightly escapes itself towards the end, but still a marvelous film all around, one of their best.

  • Monsters, Inc.

    Monsters, Inc.

    β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

    Using fear to maintain an unsustainable status quo? Released 2 months after 9/11? No wonder we grew up radicalized

  • Cinderella

    Cinderella

    β˜…β˜…

    Honestly? Entirely too much animal shenanigans. And that's coming from someone who likes animal shenanigans. Literally the first half is virtually entirely Tom & Jerry style hijinks. The animation doesn't have the same magic as some of the other early Disney stuff either - the gorgeous background paintings of Sleeping Beauty or Snow White blow this one out of the water.