jackkyser has written 65 reviews for films during 2021.

  • The Tragedy of Macbeth

    The Tragedy of Macbeth


    My nearly sold-out cinema burst into applause as soon as The Tragedy of Macbeth ended last night - which is notable considering that it was a crowd of folks who had gathered at 9:30pm on a Monday night to experience a black-and-white Shakespeare adaptation.

    So, yes, this film is impeccably well-made. What's always astonishing about well-performed Shakespeare is how we understand the meaning of a scene not necessarily through total comprehension of every line, but through the feeling and delivery…

  • Being the Ricardos

    Being the Ricardos


    Framing this as a story about someone attempting to create a marital home - and only being to be able to do it within the confines of an enclosed television set (as beautifully articulated by that final shot) - is a strong move by Sorkin, who characteristically compresses a historical timeline to put these creative powerhouses in a pressure cooker.

    Being the Ricardos perfectly captures the experience of gnawing uncertainties in one’s personal life feeding into endless, obsessive finagling over…

  • Don't Look Up

    Don't Look Up


    “We really did have everything, didn’t we?”

    Those freeze frames at the end really get me. Second viewing confirms this as one of my favorites of the year.

  • Guilty by Suspicion

    Guilty by Suspicion


    A buried gem of a De Niro performance. His scene with Scorsese makes one long for a feature-length buddy movie with their two characters hightailing it to Europe to avoid the blacklist. Come for the intelligent adult drama, stay for the elegant Michael Ballhaus cinematography!

  • Manhattan Murder Mystery

    Manhattan Murder Mystery


    There’s nothing more pleasing than Allen, Keaton, Alda and Huston very loudly trying to solve a mystery together at dinner, with the rest of the restaurant watching them in puzzlement. Nobody ever stops talking in this movie, which I quite loved.

    Also, while this film couldn’t be more different tonally than Husbands and Wives, Allen and Carlo Di Palma continue their early 1990s experimentation with jittery, handheld camerawork, which actually works really well with the madcap nature of this whole thing.

  • West Side Story

    West Side Story


    Nobody does it better than Spielberg. The “rumble” two-thirds of the way through the film is one of the most astounding and electric set pieces of his career.

    I’ll admit I initially questioned the necessity of this remake. But Spielberg (along with key collaborators Tony Kushner and Janusz Kaminski) make this endeavor feel essential from the first frame to the last. It’s a big, colorful and emotionally wrenching time at the movies.

    Full review:

    Nobody does it better than Steven…

  • Don't Look Up

    Don't Look Up


    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    This is Adam McKay's best film. It'd be one thing if the entire movie felt like a lecture (I love Vice and The Big Short, but both films admittedly slip into this tendency) - but there is real emotional heft to this thing.

    At first glance, it appears the entire film may be DiCaprio and Lawrence exhaustively warning the powers-that-be of the impending natural disaster. But then McKay turns it in an interesting direction - DiCaprio's character gets attracted to…

  • The Royal Tenenbaums

    The Royal Tenenbaums


    Makes me cry every time. “I’ve had a rough year, dad.”

  • C'mon C'mon

    C'mon C'mon


    Holds up beautifully on a second viewing. A few scenes that touched me deeply: Norman asking Phoenix why he’s not married, and the way Phoenix responds by dipping in and out of the bedtime story he’s reading, ultimately admitting he doesn’t know why his last relationship ended; Phoenix’s reaction upon learning his sister had an abortion; Norman’s immense sadness upon realizing he won’t remember most of his travels with his uncle by the time he gets older.

    It’s true -…

  • Licorice Pizza

    Licorice Pizza


    I adored this movie.

    It didn’t hurt that our post-screening Q&A with Alana Haim was scrapped and our audience was invited to an impromptu Haim concert at the Highball instead. Those girls can sing!

  • Belfast



    Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast, the director’s semi-autobiographical tale of growing up in Northern Ireland in the late 1960s, is a vibrant, warm and evocative film. It’s currently poised as a major contender for this year’s Best Picture Oscar, and it’s easy to see why – it’s an upbeat and jubilant affair with memorable performances and striking black-and-white cinematography.

    Buddy (Jude Hill) lives with his parents Ma (Caitriona Balfe) and Pa (Jamie Dornan) in a working-class neighborhood in Belfast. It’s the early…

  • King Richard

    King Richard


    I know some folks have dismissed King Richard as hagiography, but I was honestly surprised by how annoying Richard Williams is in this movie. His stubbornness yields mostly great results, but sometimes he's just flat-out wrong and off-putting - which is a lot more interesting to watch. Will Smith does an excellent job in rendering a complex portrait of this man. Also, as far as I can tell, every actor in this film can play tennis really well - it's fun to see the matches filmed in unbroken wide shots!