Grant Hodges has written 80 reviews for films rated ★★★ .

  • Maurice

    Maurice

    ★★★

    E.M. Forster’s Maurice has long been one of my favorite novels. Its exploration of the feelings of a gay man, in a time when it was illegal to be exactly that, is heart wrenching (and made even more so when one considers that its subject matter was so taboo when it was written that it was not allowed to be published for another fifty six years). So I’m not quite sure why it took me this long to get around to…

  • Finding Dory

    Finding Dory

    ★★★

    I must be in the minority when it comes to Finding Dory because I really don't enjoy this film. Sure, it's not the worst movie ever. But it also barely has enough story to validate its existence - feeling more like DLC for the first movie than a worthwhile sequel.

    So much of this movie just feels like we're revisiting things we've already seen. I mean, hell, Marlin gets so little to do in this movie that he's relegated to…

  • The Good Dinosaur

    The Good Dinosaur

    ★★★

    More like the bad dinosaur, am I right? 

    Nah, I’m just kidding. I actually really like this movie. Don’t get me wrong, it’s got its flaws (the second act is a nonsensical run-around featuring weirdly designed side characters I couldn’t care less about), but if you stop comparing it to Pixar’s earlier work, you might actually find a lot to love.

    Arlo is a rare case of a child protagonist that you’re not only not annoyed by but actively empathize with,…

  • Inside Out

    Inside Out

    ★★★

    I feel like the common consensus surrounding Inside Out is that it’s “the movie that saved Pixar”. But I’m honestly not so sure I agree. For one, with the exception of Cars 2, I’m not sure Pixar even needed saving in the first place. Sure, Brave and Monsters University are weaker entries in the Pixar catalogue but neither are even close to being terrible. For another, I don’t think it’s necessarily fair to apply that amount of pressure to a…

  • In The Heights

    In The Heights

    ★★★

    Light on plot and heavy on characters, In the Heights still manages to be a damn fun time. Sure, the movie is far too long (even after cutting multiple songs from the musical - many of which I’m sad to see go), but when it gets things right, it really gets them right. Songs like “Paciencia y Fe” are even more heartbreaking in this version than they were in the stage production and “96,000” is a technicolor spectacle that feels…

  • The Breakfast Club

    The Breakfast Club

    ★★★

    Hardly the quintessential high school movie I thought it was in my teenage years, The Breakfast Club may actually be one of the weaker entries in John Hughes’ filmography (at least as far as movies where he was in the director’s chair go). Of course, “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” is an iconic song and the cast does an incredible job slipping into their roles, but that doesn't mean the film is free of flaws.

    John Hughes has gone on…

  • Monsters University

    Monsters University

    ★★★

    There’s something to be said for a movie that gets better as it goes, and Monsters University is a prime example of that. While the opening is actually fairly solid (featuring an effective hook with our now-protagonist Mike wanting to become a scarer… as well including a ton of fun cameos of monsters using their abilities in different ways), the entire second act of this movie is insanely middling. In fact, basically everything centered around the actual college setting just…

  • Brave

    Brave

    ★★★

    Brave is a classic "less than the sum of its parts" movie. Because there's so many great things in here: the soundtrack, the animation, the (heartbreaking) relationship between Merida and her mother, the physics of the hair and arrows, the focus-pulls in the directing, the way Queen Elinor's mannerisms seemlessly translate to her animilistic form. But, when it ends, you're kind of left feeling nothing.

    I would never agree with those that hate the movie (in fact I really think…

  • Solo: A Star Wars Story

    Solo: A Star Wars Story

    ★★★

    It's funny how Solo, a movie literally centered around a protagonist from the original trilogy, somehow feels like more of a standalone movie than Rogue One ever did. Yes, there are obviously elements that tie into past movies, but these are relatively minor and (with the exception of one final cameo) presented in such a matter-of-fact way that it feels like the movie is not being overly reverent to its source material - instead just simply telling the story it…

  • Curious George

    Curious George

    ★★★

    Jack Johnson's soundtrack is doing a lot of heavy lifting here.

    3 Stars

  • The Haunting

    The Haunting

    ★★★

    After falling in love with The Haunting of Hill House miniseries (as well as the novel on which it was based), I was curious about seeing the story’s first adaptation to the screen. And yeah... it’s good. Perhaps that’s unfair. There’s a lot to love here - from the stellar cinematography and production design to the pacing and positive lesbian representation (something that’s really obvious in the film but merely hinted at in the novel). It just feels like the film…

  • Enchanted

    Enchanted

    ★★★

    It’s cute. The first half has some fun homages to (and subversions of) classic Disney tropes - with Amy Adams’ portrayal of the princess archetype being absolutely hilarious and Patrick Dempsey’s portrayal of the typical straight man being equally brilliant. But, let’s be honest, this whole thing peaks with “That’s How You Know”. It’s not only well choreographed and catchy as all hell but also so much better than the underwhelming finale that follows. 

    If there were a few more…