Alex has written 17 reviews for films during 2017.

  • Batman Returns

    Batman Returns

    ★★★★

    A festive rewatch!

    The Burton Batmen do a good job of exploring different psycho pathologies. The first one was obsessed with Thanatos, Batman Returns, by contrast, is hung up on Eros.

    What I like best about ‘Batman Returns’ is that Batman isn't in it all that much for a Batman movie. The villains are the real stars of the show, and because there are 3 of them, screen time ends up having to be used for maximum efficiency.

    Danny DeVito's…

  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi

    Star Wars: The Last Jedi

    ★½

    It’s nice to see Laura Dern continue to have outrageous hair in 2017.

  • Inside Llewyn Davis

    Inside Llewyn Davis

    ★★★★½

    Quite possibly my favorite Coen Brothers film. It has an almost Italian neo-realist perspective in its portrayal of the bleakness that an artistic life can sometimes engender but is then punctuated by sublime moments of the surreal. Some critics and viewers wince at this movie because of the inherent unloveliness of the titular character. I think this is wrong. He's not a bad person per se (though he does do some bad things), or a good person, he's just a person, driven by desperation, trying to make it. I think this movie probably rings very true for many working musicians.

  • The Duellists

    The Duellists

    ★★★★½

    I love this movie, particularly the central conflict between the two leads which seems to represent the innate tension within the key factions behind Bonapartism. I feel like a lot of the modern world is still wresting with the contradictions that the period unleashed.

    That scene in Russia in 1812 in particular is incredible filmmaking. You can almost feel the cold and desolation. The ending is also absolutely perfect.

    It only improves with each watching and really underlines the brilliance of Ridley Scott's early career purple patch.

  • The Beguiled

    The Beguiled

    ★★½

    What could have been an interesting meditation ends up being undone by being painfully dull. The performances are all fine, but lack real vitality. Part of the problem is that the script does not create enough character moments to really make you care about any of the characters, so instead it ends up feeling like a slow moving costume drama that seems more intent on accurately dressing Kidman, Dunst et al in accurate period wear and accents rather than building…

  • Star Wars

    Star Wars

    ★★★★★

    A movie about an older man who takes a younger man to a bar.

  • Inherent Vice

    Inherent Vice

    ★★★★½

    I think that this film functions almost flawlessly for what it is: a meta-narrative about the idea of detective work told by and for stoners. Despite all the noir trappings that are employed, in the end, the film manages to tie everything up with a quasi happy/ quasi listless bow without the agency of any of the participants, and most notably its lead, mattering all that much. Like in a noir, the characters are all doomed from the outset, but…

  • The Killing of a Sacred Deer

    The Killing of a Sacred Deer

    ★★★½

    A film which does for the nuclear family what "The Lobster" did for relationships, Yorgos Lanthimos "The Killing of a Sacred Deer" is an evocative deeply black deadpan comedy. While the film as a whole holds together well, one can't help but feel an intense sense of deja-vu if they have previously seen "The Lobster".

    Lanthimos seems to be making the same movie over and over again, merely shifting the context and subject slightly. This includes everything from the use…

  • The Other Side of Hope

    The Other Side of Hope

    ★★★★

    While not my favorite Aki Kaurismäki, or even my favorite Kaurismäki film dealing with the plight of refugees (2011's "Le Havre" felt like it had a greater sense of stakes), even Kaurismäki on semi auto-pilot is better than no Kaurismäki.

    That said, the cast remain wonderfully realized and their interactions are delightfully deadpan as only Kaurismäki and perhaps Jim Jarmusch can manage.

    Even without terribly high stakes, the film ends up being fairly moving in demonstrating the (darkly humorous) cruelty…

  • Moonstruck

    Moonstruck

    ★★★½

    This was a first time watch for me and not really something that I would have selected on my own. It starts off agonizingly rehashing New York Italian stereotypes, until the point at which Nicholas Cage is introduced. With Cage, it is often a question of whether we will be treated to sleepy Cage or Unhinged Cage, with the latter clearly being the preference. No worries, we get Unhinged Cage, who even better has a wooden arm that he brandishes…

  • The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)

    The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)

    ★★★★

    An intimate portrait into a family's dysfunction, this worked on a number of levels. Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller and Eliza Marvel are excellent as the aggrieved siblings, while Dustin Hoffman brings the thunder as the overbearing and narcissistic patriarch.

    Interesting subtext abounds on the nature and innate value of art vs its commercial appeal without being central. While trauma inflicted by Meyerowitz senior certainly leaves its marks on his children, it is nice to see Sandler's character bucking the trend…

  • Paris, Texas

    Paris, Texas

    ★★★★★

    RIP Harry Dean Stanton.