Movieman630 has written 13 reviews for films rated ★★★★ during 2020.

  • Tenet

    Tenet

    When reviewing films I tend to forgive flaws if they are a result of risks being taken. As such, Tenet is the exact kind of film that I will review more kindly than others. The plot is very difficult (though not impossible) to follow, but that is due to the driving force of the film being a cool new idea. As a narrative, the plot is a bit too complicated and exposition driven for its own good, but as an…

  • Soul

    Soul

    I mean, it is Pixar. Soul continues their ever ongoing trend of blending heart and humor into an accessible and meaningful package for viewers of all ages. Soul's story, about a musician who dies before his big break and struggles to return to his body, is tailor made Pixar, something that can be used to ease kids into understanding more adult themes, which adults will instantly latch onto. The film's ultimate message is a powerful one, and one that led…

  • Emma.

    Emma.

    This film is a lot of fun. It's more of an entertaining trifle than a swooning romance, but it's a credit to director Autumn De Wilde that this feels more like a positive than a negative. The story doesn't necessarily nail all of its emotional beats, but it moves along at a good clip, never bores and successfully uses the language of film to elevate several moments.

    Really holding the film together is Anya Taylor-Joy. She manages to say so…

  • Mank

    Mank

    Mank is an impeccably crafted film that suffers a bit from which aspects of its subject’s life it chooses to focus on. Fincher is one of the strongest directors working today, and so it’s no surprise that Mank manages to be incredibly entertaining and a visual feast. The decision to make the film using the film and sound styles of the day help put you right in the time period with the characters.

    As well, every single actor brings their…

  • Mank

    Mank

    Mank is an impeccably crafted film that suffers a bit from which aspects of its subject’s life it chooses to focus on. Fincher is one of the strongest directors working today, and so it’s no surprise that Mank manages to be incredibly entertaining and a visual feast. The decision to make the film using the film and sound styles of the day help put you right in the time period with the characters.

    As well, every single actor brings their…

  • The Invisible Man

    The Invisible Man

    Keep in mind that this film is nearly 90 years old. Coming with that, you can expect some over-the-top performances, no nuance whatsoever, and a very inconsistent sense of plot progression, all remnants of the very early days of filmmaking. That said, it is an incredibly engrossing film.

    There are largely two factors for why the film is so interesting. The first is, of course, the effects. Though they seem very simple in this day and age, the effects still…

  • Pride & Prejudice

    Pride & Prejudice

    This is a very pleasant film. It's sometimes hard for me to get invested in period romances, but I didn't struggle with this one for a second. The characters are fully developed and three dimensional, and the traditions of the times serve as a solid conflict in and of themselves. What really makes the film work is Joe Wright's directing. This isn't the only time he's made an energetic film out of material that could have been stuffy. He uses staging and camera to keep things from becoming static.

  • I'm Thinking of Ending Things

    I'm Thinking of Ending Things

    I’m thinking of ending things is a bit aimless, very difficult to decipher on even a surface level, and also really really good. I certainly didn’t understand the film until some time after it was finished, but I didn’t really care. There’s some very strong filmmaking at play here from writer/director Charlie Kaufman. It’s clear that the film is saying something, even if you’re not always sure what. Excellent performances all around add to the experience, and make it hard to dismiss or look away from. More than a film, this is an insanely uncomfortable and fascinating experience.

  • A Fistful of Dollars

    A Fistful of Dollars

    The start of Sergio Leone's "Dollars" trilogy is a far more quaint affair than you might expect if you're only familiar with the more famous third part "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly." Fistful's story, in which Eastwood's nameless drifter pits two rival families against each other for his own benefit, is a very straightforward tale. However, it perfectly sets up the black-and-grey morality that would come to define the Spaghetti western as a genre, as well as giving…

  • Hail, Caesar!

    Hail, Caesar!

    Interestingly, this is a film who's plot occasionally gets in the way of the real appeal here. Though the film is ostensibly about the kidnapping of a major star during the heyday of the Hollywood studio system, the real appeal is in viewing the Coen Brothers' recreation of the world and films of the era. They find the perfect blend of accurate recreation, modern hindsight and no small amount of dramatic irony. The film also benefits greatly from a deliberately…

  • The Last Samurai

    The Last Samurai

    A good old fashioned historical epic, The Last Samurai is bolstered by a refreshingly old-school approach to most of its storytelling. The film's look at samurai culture may be "rose tinted," but it still comes together to tell a great story about respecting the past as you move forward. The film's greatest asset is Ken Watanabe. His performance as the head of the samurai absolutely makes the film, and Tom Cruise is no slouch either. Though the white savior elements hold the film back, the film is still focused enough on its samurai leads to function as a solid piece of historical storytelling.

  • Mandy

    Mandy

    Mandy is a weird film in a very beautiful way. There is a sense of true artistry, a product of a filmmaker who doesn't feel the need to constantly explain himself. As odd as it is, it's difficult to look away from. Though disturbing, the film is very evocative. Interesting cinematography and a very strong performance from Nicolas Cage make this one very worth checking out.