• Down with Love

    Down with Love

    ★★★★

    For anyone who likes Doris Day films this is a must see. Part spoof / part homage it is an enjoyable comedy which uses Day’s past films as a direct cookie cutter (including the standard animated opening credits with a whimsical song). It somehow pays tribute to the films of yesteryear but also gives humorous social commentary about the clear chauvinism in such 1950s films. Zellweger and McGregor are good in the leading roles but Sarah Paulson steals every scene. It wears a bit thin towards the end but if you go into this not expecting too much you may be pleasantly surprised.

  • Doctor Sleep

    Doctor Sleep

    ★★★★

    Although not a perfect film it is still one of the better Stephen King movies I’ve seen. I haven’t read the book so I can’t speak to how close it is to the source material but Mike Flanagan has crafted a very good movie which pays particular homage to Kubrick’s version of The Shining. This is a “horror” film which shows that scenes can be intense, disturbing and fascinating without jump scares or loud pounding music at every turn. I…

  • The Lighthouse

    The Lighthouse

    ★★★★

    I’m not quite sure what I watched or exactly how I want to interpret it yet but what a fascinating ride. It uses the small aspect ratio to its advantage/ places the viewer in the same claustrophobic setting as the two leads and the black and white cinematography is fantastic. The movie also further shows that Robert Patterson is the real deal and further proves that Willem Dafoe is an acting juggernaut. How has this man (and Joaquin Phoenix) not…

  • Dolemite Is My Name

    Dolemite Is My Name

    ★★★★

    The entire cast of Dolemite Is My Name is fantastic but Murphy and Wesley Snipes in particular give awesome, hilarious performances which are worthy of award nominations. This film is in the vein of Ed Wood and Disaster Artist and is equally as funny, with a sharp, crass script. It is probably my love for the cinema process in general that I always appreciate these underdog filmmaking movies. I’ve actually never seen Dolemite but I’m probably going to start it…

  • Jojo Rabbit

    Jojo Rabbit

    ★½

    Well, this movie was a huge nope for me. Waffling tonal shifts between serious drama, satire and Wes Anderson-type whimsy just didn’t work and I am scratching my head as to the purpose of doing so in the first place. It seemed like Waititi took broad stroke ideas from numerous prior (better) WW2 films about Nazism and smashed them all together (Diary of Anne Frank, Life is Beautiful, Inglorious Bastards, to name a few) and spewed out incomplete ideas. The…

  • Booksmart

    Booksmart

    ★★★

    Essentially Superbad with female leads this is a mildly amusing but extremely unrealistic film which seems more focused on presenting high school as a place of warm-fuzzy inclusion versus the harsh realities of often times nasty human behavior, alienation, bullying, and legal ramifications to improper decisions. I get that this would stray from the light-hearted feel of the film but it made the movie come across more as a fairytale utopia versus a regular day teenage / people setting. Granted…

  • It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

    It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

    ★★★★

    The first time I saw this film years ago I didn’t care for it much, not understanding the allure of a 3 hour comedy with a relatively thin plot but on reassessment it is the extreme excess of absurdity on all levels which makes it work so well. To sum it up, the plot involves a mad chase across states to get to a supposed $350,000 buried treasure. Of course, mayhem ensues. It is unfortunate that most people nowadays wouldn’t…

  • Gretel & Hansel

    Gretel & Hansel

    ★★★★

    It seems that people tend to either appreciate or hate this new wave of methodical, slow paced horror (The Witch, Midsommar, Hereditary, etc.). For the most part I am a fan but also understand that the measured unravel of such films is too much for some viewers. Gretel & Hansel falls into this type of horror - it is a short (87 minute) film which feels longer but also made me want more at the end - more in terms of…

  • Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)

    Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)

    ★★★½

    I appreciate that this film is completely over the top and takes an almost complete irreverence towards all prior comic book films - the tone doesn’t work through the whole movie but it is nice to see a refreshing take on what was becoming a somewhat tired, monotone genre. Robbie’s complete buy-in to the lead character keeps things moving along and it is nice to see her portrayal is more in line with the Harley Quinn origin of the awesome…

  • Waves

    Waves

    ★★★★½

    What an emotionally powerful film. It’s not easy to watch / feels like a gut punch a lot of times as it deals with some pretty heavy issues (drug use, teen pregnancy, emotional abuse, physical abuse) but it also shows the importance of human sensitivity and understanding. It is extremely well-executed on all levels (directing, camera-work, acting and writing in particular) and just overall feels fresh in its narrative approach. Taylor Russell, Sterling K. Brown and Kelvin Harrison Jr. easily…

  • S.O.B.

    S.O.B.

    ★★★½

    Even though Blake Edwards is best known as the director of the Pink Panther movies, The Great Race, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s, if you were to look at his entire filmography you’ll notice he dipped his toe into all sorts of genres, not to mention, a lot of his comedies touch on the humor of some pretty dramatic situations. It is obvious that he directed comedies but he also directed a handful of film noir, a musical (Victor/Victoria) and a…

  • Before Sunset

    Before Sunset

    ★★★★★

    Each film in the Before Trilogy is either very good or great but as a collective whole they could be viewed as a masterpiece. Somewhat similar in scope to Boyhood (also directed by Richard Linklater), I actually thought Linklater relied too much on the gimmick of Boyhood being filmed over the space of 15 years versus natural dialogue and interesting happenings. I ultimately felt Boyhood was too hollow. It probably would have been better if it was filmed like these…