David has written 96 reviews for films during 2016.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 2016
Revised with some more spoilery thoughts:
I really do still like Redmayne's performance/the whole idea of the introverted Newt Scamander as a reluctant hero. The movie doesn't give him much of a hero moment, but at the big climax, he does what he's done best throughout: listens.
The rest of it is a goddamn mess that presupposes deep knowledge and affection for Potter lore, which is a trick many franchises pull these days, but that doesn't make it any more…
20th Century Women 2016
"Do I seem...stuck to you?"
"How do you mean?"
"Well, I guess I wouldn't know, would I?"
La La Land 2016
Neither of 'em can really sing. The middle sags like hell and is in desperate need of a showstopper that doesn't arrive. But dammit, it still plays like gangbusters--and, as you've probably heard, the final 20 minutes, well, they have the range.
editing to add my piece at The Atlantic on the film's uncommon understanding of the strengths, and drawbacks, of nostalgia
Perfunctory script, drags a lot, but my oh my is it gorgeous, with a wonderful score, performances that feel molded to the storytelling. Wisely never leans into scenery-chewing, knows its tale is "holy shit" enough to not require outlandish, tearful overacting. Ending lands like a ton of bricks, of course. A fine debut for Garth Davis, but I think he can do so much more.
The Lost World: Jurassic Park 1997
the most fascinating misfire. a director misunderstanding the appeal of his own biggest hit just four years on. there's so much to dig into. next season on blank check. also fuck trump
Just tremendous. Life, 'ordinary' but deeply felt, with magic bleeding in on the edges, with each tiny moment of tragedy and delight lingering in the brain. Maybe Jarmusch's most humane film, maybe the best performance of Driver's career--and good lord, in both cases, that is saying something. This one's going to sit very well with me, I'm sure of it.
updated with my review at The Atlantic.
The Eyes of My Mother 2016
Spirit of the Beehive, but if Ana had watched The Texas Chainsaw Massacre instead of Frankenstein. Also, not as good (duh). But gorgeous! Such poise! Such chutzpah! Too often feels like an exercise, but in closing minutes, you feel it, so I tip my cap. Boy, how bout that barn!
Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk 2016
Incredibly staid, obvious and polemical where it should be full of ambiguity, and mostly visually unexciting, which is just maddening. There's a lot of films this year that do a good job telling a very internal story. This is not one of them.
Garrett Hedlund good tho
Michael Moore in TrumpLand 2016
Well-intentioned, but incredibly excruciating. Scary Halloween viewing as the polls tighten, but I do not recommend.