Grant Hodges has written 147 reviews for films during 2020.

  • Wonder Woman 1984

    Wonder Woman 1984

    ★★★

    When everyone was making their wishes at the end, they really should have had a cutaway to the Kents wishing for a son - only for that to cause Krypton to blow up.

    In all seriousness, Wonder Woman 1984 is a movie I had next to no interest in watching. The first one, despite being fairly well-received overall, didn't do much for me personally. And had this been released in theaters as originally intended, I likely wouldn't have ever watched…

  • Akira

    Akira

    ★★★

    Gotta be honest... I'm not sure I really got Akira. Anime's never been really been my thing anyway, and the story here - though simple enough on paper - gets a bit too convoluted for its own good by the end. The Blade Runner-esque visuals and faux camera movements are legitimately very impressive, and there are some really out-there ideas on display here (some of which really make me wonder how they would adapt this into live-action if that unfortunate decision ever came to fruition), I just didn't love it as much as everyone else, I guess.

    3 Stars

  • Misery

    Misery

    ★★★★

    Kathy Bates' performance in this has been talked to death, and for good reason, but I really think James Caan gives a much subtler, mostly reactionary performance that must've been equally hard to pull off. Of course, the movie is incredibly tense. There's a couple of really viscerally violent moments that literally caused me to look away from the screen. And I love all the screentime that's given to the character of the sheriff and his wife - often bringing…

  • Soul

    Soul

    ★★★★

    Regardless of whether or not you think Soul accomplishes its goals, I think it’s hard to deny that this is the ballsiest movie Pixar has made in quite some time. From the legitimately trippy visuals of the Great Beyond to the dark concepts like those of the lost souls, this is likely the least child-friendly movie they’ve ever put out. And I love it for it.

    That’s not to say this movie is without its light moments - a large portion…

  • Doctor Who: The Time of the Doctor

    Doctor Who: The Time of the Doctor

    I'm not really sure what possessed me to rewatch this today, seven years after its initial airing. Of course, it is a Christmas episode... but its also the ending to Matt Smith's tenure on the show, who - at the time - was one of my very favorite doctors. And though my opinion of him (and the show in general) has soured over the years, I think this episode is really what turned me off.

    So how has my opinion…

  • Whiplash

    Whiplash

    ★★★★★

    Damien Chazelle's second feature and it's already a fucking masterclass in filmmaking. It's dramatic, hilarious, anxiety-inducing, and just a hell of a ride. The pacing is incredible, the score is even better, and J.K. Simmons' performance as Fletcher has made him one of the most memorable roles of the last decade (aided, of course, by a script that turns what could easily be a one-dimensional monster into a beautifully nuanced - but still unwaveringly cruel - character). There's really not…

  • Whiplash

    Whiplash

    ★★★★

    It may only be fifteen pages of a feature-length script, but this short is still a marvelous sign of things to come. In fact, in some capacity, I think I actually may like this more. The set, lighting, and cinematography all feel so much more natural here. And though I'm aware the changes to make it feel more claustrophobic were intentional, I actually do appreciate this natural look.

    Of course, we have J.K. Simmons giving an equally brilliant performance as…

  • Saving Christmas

    Saving Christmas

    This isn't the worst movie ever made. But it may very well be the most offensive.

    Now, for starters, I'm not Christian. But even if I was, I can't imagine anyone being able to properly defend this movie. Kirk Cameron appears so disillusioned, contriving with the most backward logic ways that Christmas - a holiday built around pagan tradition and commercialization - is actually all related back to Jesus. By arguing this, he not only straight-up lies to the audience…

  • Edward Scissorhands

    Edward Scissorhands

    ★★★★

    Tim Burton has made an entire career basing movies around characters that are societal outcasts, but Edwards Scissorhands might be his most successful. The monochrome look of Edward and the gothic architecture of his home are juxtaposed beautifully against pastel suburban color scheme. In fact, essentially every technical aspect of this movie is incredible. Bo Welch’s production design is otherworldly - the interior of Edward’s gothic castle clearly taking much inspiration from German Expression. Stefan Czapsky’s cinematography creates some morbidly…

  • Black Christmas

    Black Christmas

    ★★

    “The calls are coming from inside the house”

    Man, what an instantly iconic scene. Honestly, the final act of this film is just fantastically terrifying. It’s just a shame the rest of the movie isn’t anywhere near as good...

    I understand that it’s an important movie, effectively bridging the slasher film gap between the likes of Peeping Tom and Halloween (the latter clearly taking a lot of inspiration from this). But that doesn’t necessarily make up for the fact that…

  • White Christmas

    White Christmas

    ★★

    “Hey, you can sing. Ever thought about being a movie star?” - every movie producer in the ‘50s, apparently

    I don’t know. White Christmas isn’t necessarily a bad movie, but it’s a pretty bad musical. None of these songs are all that memorable with the exception of the titular song... and that wasn’t even written for this movie.

    Despite the music and zany screwball comedy atmosphere, this whole thing just feels so dull. The female characters lack any sort of…

  • TRON: Legacy

    TRON: Legacy

    Last week, I rewatched the original Tron, not really enjoying it and the whole time just thinking about how superior its successor was in comparison. Now that I've rewatched Tron: Legacy, however, I think the first film might actually be better. Don't get me wrong, that movie still isn't good. But at least the ideas are original and the design of the grid is unique. Here, the grid looks aesthetically pleasing, but it just feels so uninspired - more like…