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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

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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-

The Top 101 Songs of 2018

10 Jan

101. Death Cab for Cutie, “60 & Punk”

100. Lily Allen, “Three”

99. Jon Bellion, “Conversations with my Wife”

98. Laura Marling & Mike Lindsay (LUMP), “Curse of the Contemporary”

97. Courtney Barnett, “Charity”

96. Noname feat. Smino & Saba, “Ace”

95. Lake Street Dive, “Good Kisser”

94. Waxahatchee, “Takes So Much”

93. Let’s Eat Grandma, “It’s Not Just Me”

92. Christine and the Queens, “Doesn’t Matter”

91. Half Waif, “Lavender Burning”

90. Wye Oak, “It Was Not Natural”

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The Top Film Performances of 2018

9 Jan

15. (TIE) Julia Roberts, “Ben Is Back” & Joanna Kulig, “Cold War”

14. Regina King, “If Beale Street Could Talk”

13. Melissa McCarthy & Richard E. Grant, “Can You Ever Forgive Me”

12. Daveed Diggs, “Blindspotting”

11. Olivia Cooke, “Thoroughbreds”

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The Top 15 Television Shows of 2018

7 Jan

15. Who Is America? 

14. Atlanta

13. The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

12. Killing Eve

11. Better Call Saul

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