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Long Shot Review

10 May

Needs to be at least 20 minutes shorter and isn’t quite as political commentary-savvy as it would have you believe, but it for the most part manages to avoid the frat bro comedy that sank The Night Before (And let’s be honest, the premise here seems like an extension of that). But surprisingly, the story is decently interesting, the humor lands some fun punches, and Theron holds it all together with aplomb. She’s the star here and has the strongest hold on the comedy in the script. It’s a fun one.

GRADE: B

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High Life Review

13 Apr

Very disappointing. Shoves the most interesting element of the story into the final 15-20 minutes, which is a shame because it fills the remaining time with nonsense of the highest caliber. After a decently compelling start, it descends into a haphazard bombardment of images that only have the pretense of saying anything about sexuality and imprisonment. The flashbacks are jarring, the dialogue is overly expository, and the entire project comes together in the most lifeless manner possible. Pattinson, one of the most exciting actors alive, is unable to do much with the material. Certain *shocking scenes* only pay lip service to the aforementioned themes but don’t actually interrogate then beyond intense surface level displeasure, this because it’s all too poorly constructed to lay the foundation for anything deeper (not that it needs to, but it sure is trying).

Denis is right when she says it isn’t sci fi, but it’s hardly anything else either.

GRADE: C+

Us Review

22 Mar

Certainly demonstrates (in case we didn’t already know) that Peele is an incredible directing talent with a unique vision and an irresistible energy. Technically, this film fires on all cylinders. The performances land a great mix of humor, intensity, and creepiness. The score is a stunner and ensures that even if the story has trouble resonating, the visceral experience remains steadfast. Many scenes are thoroughly effective at building tension, and there’s a chaotic energy to it that works.

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How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World Review

3 Mar

It was always going to be a tough task to top the magical first installment, but this finale still manages to capture some of that wondrous, soaring energy that accompanies watching these dragons glide through the air. The best scenes in this film see Toothless and Light Fury engaging in a wordless dragon courtship, getting to know each other amidst the backdrop of Powell’s beautiful score and the dazzling visuals (once again, anything Deakins touches turns to gold). The ending is also really lovely. What stops this from being truly great is a one note villain and occasionally a lack of focus on the central relationships and characters. The Hidden World itself gets shortchanged in the process. Nevertheless, I have nothing but respect and admiration for this trilogy and the ways in which it stayed true to its characters and themes, carving out an unmistakable space for itself in a Pixar dominated world.

GRADE: B

The Top 25 Films of 2018

21 Jan

25. Cam

24. Vox Lux

23. The Miseducation of Cameron Post

22. Leave No Trace

21. Cold War

20. Skate Kitchen

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The Top 15 Film Scenes of 2018

15 Jan

15. (tie) Thoroughbreds, “The Technique”, and Searching, “Opening”

14. You Were Never Really Here, “Surveillance Cameras”

13. Wildlife, “Ending”

12. Blindspotting, “The Garage”

11. The Favourite and Suspiria, “The Dance” (yes these scenes are very different but this was my way of including both)

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On the Basis of Sex Review

13 Jan

It’s pretty basic and exactly what you’d expect going in, but it focuses on such a titan of history that it sometimes manages to overcome its repetitive blandness. Case in point is Leder’s work with the courtroom scenes toward the end, which are certainly cliche but still deliver their themes with cogency and emotion. I feel like we would’ve gotten a more interesting film had Ginsburg’s nephew not written this, but I do applaud him for only focusing on one period of time rather than losing the story while trying to cover her entire life. That’s a problem that many biopic screenwriters don’t avoid.

GRADE: B-

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