Grant Hodges has written 41 reviews for films rated ★★★ during 2021.

  • Gremlins 2: The New Batch

    Gremlins 2: The New Batch

    ★★★

    I'm not sure there's another movie as fucking manic as this. Not a blockbuster studio release anyhow. It's a movie that could never be made today. Not cause of some insensitive jokes at the expense of other cultures (though there are a couple of those if we're being honest) but because Joe Dante was clearly given free rein to do whatever the fuck he wanted with this sequel. And whatever the fuck he wanted was exactly what he did.

    Honestly,…

  • Gremlins

    Gremlins

    ★★★

    It's light on plot (somehow managing to drag at only 106 minutes), tonally dissonant (with Kate's backstory seemingly belonging in a much darker movie), and features a number of plot lines with no apparent payoff (the establishment of Judge Reinhold's character as an antagonist before he disappears entirely probably being the most notable)... but hey, it's Gremlins. The puppets are spectacular, the kills are gory as hell, and the entire back half of the movie is really just a blast…

  • Psycho

    Psycho

    ★★★

    Gus Van Sant's Psycho is honestly kind of morbidly fascinating. It's obviously unoriginal (utilizing much of the same script and shots that made Hitchcock's masterpiece such a success), but since it's more or less the same movie, it's hard to really call it bad.

    In some (admittedly minor) ways, it's actually an improvement over the original. Van Sant uses this unique opportunity to create shots that would have been impossible to do thirty-eight years earlier (the slow zoom into Marion's…

  • The Suicide Squad

    The Suicide Squad

    ★★★

    It's obviously an improvement over the previous film, and I appreciate its nonchalant attitude in reference to that movie's events (i.e. it doesn't reference them), but I'm not sure it's as much of an improvement as I'd hoped.

    I'm not even sure where The Suicide Squad went wrong. James Gunn's direction is solid, the cast is incredible, and there are some really fun ideas on display (the opening massacre, Harley's cartoon gunfire sequence, King Shark's bonding with other aquatic life,…

  • Spider-Man: Homecoming

    Spider-Man: Homecoming

    ★★★

    I couldn’t really decide how I felt about this movie. So here’s a pros and cons list…

    Pros:
    1. Tom Holland is good (and, of course, easy on the eyes too)
    2. The early montage of Spider-Man just assisting every day New Yorkers is the most perfectly distilled version of the comic book character. 
    3. I actually don’t hate the whole “AI in the suit” aspect. I don’t love the fact the suit is made by Iron Man, but having…

  • We're the Millers

    We're the Millers

    ★★★

    “WHY ISN’T THERE ANY BLOOD?!?”

    This probably doesn’t deserve three stars, but hey, it’s better than a two and I’m feeling generous today. While the first and third acts are admittedly pretty rough, the second act is actually a lot of fun (almost entirely due to a stand-out performance by Kathryn Hahn - who regularly manages to be the best part of everything she’s in). It’s not a great movie, I don’t even know if I’d recommend it, but the premise is fun and executed well enough that I wasn’t mad when it ended. The lighting/cinematography is truly awful tho.

    3 Stars

  • Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events

    Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events

    ★★★

    As a big fan of the books growing up and a um… viewer of the Netflix series (I think it started really strong but descended into repetitive low-budget mediocrity by the end), I’ve always been curious about watching this first adaptation. And it’s serviceable? The costumes, production design, and score are actually top notch. There’s a strong influence of German Expressionism in the set design (particularly in that of Count Olaf’s home) that I really love. And it’s hard to…

  • Broadcast News

    Broadcast News

    ★★★

    I really wanted to like this more than I did. It's certainly not a bad movie, touching on the evolution of both news reporting and gender politics in the modern era, but I also feel it just barely scratches the surface of these subjects. So much of the film's runtime is devoted to a relationship that I just don't care much about. The film is endearing (and even contains some laugh out-loud moments - such as Joan Cusack's quest to…

  • Toy Story 4

    Toy Story 4

    ★★★

    Toy Story 4 is a totally competent movie stuck at the end of a series that, up until now, was nearly perfect. It’s not bad, the first and final acts are even quite good, but with the second act being a lot of unnecessary run around, this definitely feels like something that could’ve been a sweet 20 minute short as opposed to a feature length film.

    In addition, this barely feels like a Toy Story movie. Sure, it’s a fitting…

  • Jurassic Park

    Jurassic Park

    ★★★

    Never watched Jurassic Park as a child and therefore have zero nostalgia attached to it. So, in my mind, this movie is based a lot more around spectacle than story. It’s a good thing then that when it comes to spectacle in this movie, it absolutely nails it. While the CGI work on the dinos looks a bit dated, the decision to blend these digital effects with practical puppetry and animatronics adds to the film a real timeless quality - one that…

  • Cars 3

    Cars 3

    ★★★

    Cars 2 does A LOT of things wrong. But, in my mind, its worst offense just might be being so bad that no one wanted to watch its sequel. Which is a real shame. Because, as shocked as I am to be saying this, I actually think Cars 3 is... pretty good.

    In many ways, it actually explores pretty similar terrain to Toy Story 3 - determining what happens when our protagonists begin to outlive their usefulness. And while its…

  • 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…