Tim Brayton

Tim Brayton

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UW-Madison PhD student, and film critic at AlternateEnding.com

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  • Luca

    Luca

    ★★★

    Pleasant and nice in ways that make me feel like I'll barely remember that I watched it 48 hours from now, and isn't that what we hope for out of every Pixar film. Other than the breathtaking lighting effects, this is unexpectedly flat-looking; in particular, the character design, which unhappily marries Miyazaki and the Cartoon Network "bean mouth" aesthetic, feels awfully high-effort and elaborate for something that ends up being so banal, impersonal, and at times even ugly (the human…

  • In The Heights

    In The Heights

    ★★★

    The opening number fails in an uninteresting way, mostly because of how badly Jon M. Chu has been defeated by the extensive direct address. He's come up with no less than five different strategies, applying them fairly indifferently and inconsistently, and it is to profound misfortune of the film as a whole that the one that ends up sticking is a godawful framing narrative of the protagonist on a beach, narrating his history to several insipid children. But even when…

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  • Judas and the Black Messiah

    Judas and the Black Messiah

    ★★★

    In retrospect, of course Warner Bros. wasn't going to put out a movie that genuinely grappled with Fred Hampton's revolutionary politics, and it's on me that I was idiot enough to wonder if they might. Instead, despite a couple quotes from Marxist literature, and one appearance each by the words "socialism" (at the start) and "proletariat" (at the end; also, I might have missed a "proletariat" in there, I wasn't really thinking to count it), this mostly turns Hampton into…

  • Detainment

    Detainment

    So first, I can't imagine how damn stupid you'd have to be to think you could get away with telling this story this way without getting life rights from the survivors, or heavily anonymising the details, or ideally both.

    Let's say you've decided not to care about any of that. That still leaves the question of what reason there is to tell this story. What is the viewer supposed to get from this? Is it just to grind our faces…