Clayton has written 352 reviews for films during 2020.

  • The Wolf of Wall Street

    The Wolf of Wall Street

    Unsparingly well-made and acted, but I had a fucking migraine in the theater when this ended. For all the inspired comic hyperbole and late career fuckyou Scorcese brings to the project, I could not help the sense that the film ultimately condones Belfort's excess by matching with its own, hammering the same note over and over and over again for three hours of pointless, hedonistic repetition. Those who will go on to tell me that was the point, fine. I did not find it stimulating and was thoroughly exhausted by it.

  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

    How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

    ★★★★★

    Does more in 26 minutes than similarly themed feature films dare dream. The 1966 animated holiday treatment of the Dr. Seuss classic is a triumph of the written and visual imagination, chock full of artistic wit* and draped by a beautiful sense of warmth. It's one of the rare films that believes in what it's doing and makes you believe it too.

    "You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch" is so masterful as a complement to our lime-skinned scoundrel's shriveled black…

  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

    Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

    ★★★★½

    Magic. The handmade quality still astounds and endears in equal measures all these years later. Even the casual bit of choppiness to the animation lends it a tinkering, knick-knack quality, as if we're watching the fruits of grown up children that used to spend eternities staging figurines in the bedroom, unspooling grand adventures with rich characters as only the pliable canvas of the young mind could conjure.

  • The Devil All the Time

    The Devil All the Time

    ★★½

    There are some impressive narrative mechanics to the daisy-chain, generational violence in this sprawling backwoods sin-a-thon, but nothing that coheres into a full-fleshed statement of purpose or intent. If a world is going to be this artificially inflated with the corrosive menace of rotten apples, a point is customarily expected to emerge. I would have preferred to spend more time with Bill Skarsgård's PTSD damaged, bruising good ol' boy because Tom Holland, sweet and talented the boy may be, isn't…

  • Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

    Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

    ★★★★

    Wolfe renders August Wilson's wintry play with the hot, sticky sweat of a Chicago Summer. The acting is consistently compelling and delivered as if the camera were the stage and the film crew hovering around like satellites the unseen adoring crowd. 2020's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom is a vital piece of bottled theater not only for the vibrancy with which it transmits the origins of arguably the great American art form, but for the outline of the African American experience itself. Intelligent, passionate entertainment.

    Chadwick. Oh Chadwick. You had it, King.

  • Die Hard

    Die Hard

    ★★★★★

    The better movie about a bartender released in July of 1988.

    One of those "if you don't like this I fundamentally don't understand you as a human being" movies.

  • Nomadland

    Nomadland

    ★★★★

    *Note - adjusted to 4 stars from 4.5 stars after seeing Zhao's The Rider, not a perfect film but I feel is superior to Nomadland.

    Gorgeous examination of a late life and country at a crossroads. Nomadland pays a loving eye to "nomads", folks that have, for one reason or another, eschewed a fixed existence and rubber-tramp about in search of a simpler life and a deeper connection with nature. "Simpler" is a tad misleading. Stripped-down, we'll say. Chloé Zhao's…

  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

    Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

    Despite some strong performances, I didn't believe a word of it.

  • Home Alone 2: Lost in New York

    Home Alone 2: Lost in New York

    ★★★

    Night 2 of 2 with arguably cinema's worst nuclear family.

    Sure, it's a direct lift of its predecessor and might be the most shameless box office money grab in sequel history. Hell, it may has as well be the first film encased in Kris Kringle carbonite. Still, it achieves more or less what it's after with some tradeoffs and trade-ups. Give me the Big Apple and that gorgeous macro photography over America's most privileged suburb. Give me the delightful Brenda…

  • Home Alone

    Home Alone

    ★★★

    Too ludicrous to truly love, but possesses too much evil genius to completely dismiss. High praise for the inspired, mischievous score from John Williams and an all-time screen scream from Daniel Stern, as if that well-placed arachnid were the Devil himself.

  • The Forty-Year-Old Version

    The Forty-Year-Old Version

    ★★★★

    rahdaMUSprime spittin' straight fire.

    The Forty-Year-Old Version is a candid, hilarious, at times powerful exploration of second chances and the ambivalent vortex of artistic compromise. Radha Blank's directorial debut sparkles with both world-weariness and bubbling verve while also wielding a ferocious, fresh narrative voice. The dreamy black and white photography suggests a stab at the timelessness of the artistic struggle until it resolves late in the picture with a glint of vibrancy and the whispers of renewed inner strength. I couldn't help but smile. Unquestionably one of the stronger narrative films I've seen this year.

  • The Social Dilemma

    The Social Dilemma

    ★★★½

    The Social Dilemma is a vibrant red flag stuck into the ground by the very people who once had an interest in our perception of both red and flags. The documentary's advantage over competitors in the "social media will destroy us all" awareness campaign is that the very people speaking to us about the unprecedented tactics explored by said media were themselves at one point designing the strings that vie for governance over our self-determinism, whether they knew it at…