+ MOVIE

Here is where I will list the films I see on the big screen (or original streaming films) and provide an extremely brief thought on it. That’s about it.

TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE (2018) – Jenny Han’s book (which I haven’t read, but now want to) becomes a tender and funny teen romance on screen that openly compares itself to the classic canon of Hughes, 80’s teen films – and comes up to par, wonderfully realizing the experiences of teenagers in 2018. 8/23/18

CRAZY RICH ASIANS (2018) – A delightful movie full of pathos and steeped in its own beautiful blend of Asian and Asian-American cultures. It’s exciting to see a film so boldly tell its story and do so with a game ensemble of interesting characters we never get to see. Lovely. 8/21/18

MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: FALLOUT (2018) – Watching a 55-year-old risk his life for our enjoyment sounds like it would be nerve-wracking – and it is, because the craftsmanship and dedication on display here is staggering. Definitely features the best stunts in the series and is perhaps the cleanest story-wise since the original. 7/29/18

SKYSCRAPER (2018) – This is a disaster movie where no one is in danger. Bizarre, boring. 7/17/18

SORRY TO BOTHER YOU (2018) – Comrade Riley! No movie is like this. Break up the banks, seize the means of production, and trip balls doing it! Era-defining movie. 7/12/18

UNCLE DREW (2018) – A little disappointing that this boils down to “let’s get the band back together” but Lil Rel Howry is such an unparalleled leading man. It’s impossible not to like him and throw all your heart into his characters. And this is a great vehicle for him and some other great comedic performances – Nick Kroll and Chris Webber stand out. Tiffany Haddish mis-used here I think. 7/9/18

ANT-MAN AND THE WASP (2018) – So visually flat, and full of blathering characters. Evangeline Lily’s second bill is totally nominal. She deserves more, and this concept deserves more. But I can’t really hate this thing, there’s nothing really here. Marvel-lite. 7/5/18

INCREDIBLES 2 (2018) – It pops visually, as we all expected, but I was kind of flabbergasted by how hard the story falls on its face. You can’t expect much with a sequel ten plus years after the fact, but I found this film either not caring what was happening with its characters or occasionally reaching for some thematic concepts it couldn’t really wrap its fists around. 7/4/18

WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR (2018) – I like a good documentary about entertainment figures. I also like optimism, and I adore much of Fred Rogers’ philosophy. But this is a pretty shallow documentary, and doesn’t seem interested in some very obvious contradictions in this complicated man. Wanted more. 6/30/18

HEREDITARY (2018) – WOW! It’s scary, and it’s harrowing and sad. It’s evocative of films like THE EXORCIST that pull at a deep uncomfortable place and plays like gangbusters (if that’s a term). This blew my head off. *snicker* 6/25/18

JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM (2018) –  I saw this twice for some reason. The first time, it was with a big audience on opening weekend, and I was along for the kooky ride. The second time I was not. The last third of the movie is a great Hammer horror film. Eh. 6/23/18

DEADPOOL 2 (2018) – The Deadpool movies should be for me, but they just don’t seem to be. I like this much more than its predecessor though. I just don’t think the writing is at the level of cleverness it could be. 5/26/18

SOLO (2018) – This movie is fine, Ron Howard took the challenge with gusto and delivered something fun. Han Solo doesn’t need an origin story. These Star Wars side stories are pesky to me. 5/24/18

YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE (2017) – Wow, it’s nice to see one of these hitman-saves-a-little-girl thrillers attempt something of greater consequence. Joe (Joaquin Phoenix) is a frightening, endearing, believable soul. We need more Lynne Ramsay. 5/21/18

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR (2018) – Yeah, it’s just an unparalleled attempt at large scale filmmaking. It works. Thanos is scary. It doesn’t mean terribly much. But it works, incredibly well.  (4/26/18)

A QUIET PLACE (2018) – This is the kind of movie I submit to, that I sink my teeth in and gnaw on my fingernails for. I don’t think we can expect constant hits like this from John Krasinski, but it’s definitely a feat in excitement, sentiment (if a little too white bread), and tension. 4/13/18

ISLE OF DOGS (2018) – I genuinely feel that Wes Anderson is operating on constantly draining goodwill. This film is so obstinate in its treatment of the Japanese characters, and though beautifully crafted, can’t carry a thread from beginning to end. 4/7/18

READY PLAYER ONE (2018) – It’s severely lacking a likable bunch of characters, but Spielberg’s effort to humanize the consumption of media in a landscape of corporate authorship is admirable, if maybe foolhardy. I am also onboard with the dreary dreamscape that he and cinematographer Kaminski craft both in and outside the game. 3/29/18

PACIFIC RIM: UPRISING (2018) – I wasn’t the biggest fan of the first one, but I have so much respect for it after the fact, for not making itself a military parade like this sequel does. We’re supposed to marvel at the efficiency and machinery of the institution, and look down on those who don’t want to participate. Weird, weird, boring. 3/24/18

NINE TO FIVE (2018) – Had never seen it before. What a great rallying cry for women in the workplace. Though, the lack of a prominent black woman limits its palpability. Wonderful cast, devilishly fun conceit. 3/21/18

GAME NIGHT (2018) – There’s more filmmaking going into this one than I expected. It has a poppy vibe and great physical gags. The puzzle at the heart of it isn’t too fun but the cast is game (pun intended), and Jesse Plemons is a standout. 3/19/18

TOMB RAIDER (2018) – Yeah, the legacy of the character isn’t much to remark on positively, but we still deserved better than this slog. Female Indiana Jones shouldn’t be hard to do but here we are. 3/16/18

THOROUGHBREDS (2017) – This one didn’t do much for me, beyond some occasional moments of inspired shock value. Not the rousing sendoff for the late Anton Yelchin that we would’ve liked. 3/12/18

ANNIHILATION (2018) – Pretty, grotesque, and stirring film. I’m not sure it will benefit from repeat viewings, but for now, I will keep the strange world of the Shimmer in my head for a long time. 3/3/18

PHANTOM THREAD (2017) – As a huge fan of his work up through THERE WILL BE BLOOD (see MAGNOLIA below), I am still figuring out how to watch PTA’s recent stuff. But I was engaged and delighted in varying amounts. 2/4/18

MAGNOLIA (1999) – One of my favorites. The bigger the screen you see this on, the better the film. 1/17/18

THE GREATEST SHOWMAN (2017) – I thought we were all on the same page re: P.T. Barnum and circus shows exploiting the differently-abled?? Apparently not?? No. Pass. 1/14/18

THE POST (2017) – You can get giddy watching it, and still be aware of how old-fashioned and somewhat corny it is. Even more, there are sprinkles of true surprise and invention. Overall, this is just an inessential reminder that no one really does American optimism like Spielberg. 1/13/18

THE COMMUTER (2018) – This movie needs very little explanation. It’s fine, even pretty diverting. Hammy, hammy, hammy. 1/12/18

I, TONYA (2017) – This is a riveting treatise on American media, class, and all kinds of abuse. Perfectly cast and interestingly told. Margot Robbie’s best performance so far. I also liked it’s approach to unreliable narration, bucking the obnoxious trend of “anti-American Dream” true stories we’ve gotten these last few years. 1/11/18

MOLLY’S GAME (2017) – I like seeing powerful women build empires. And Sorkin’s dialogue is addictive. It’s not a beautiful piece of work, but it takes you on an impressive, vindictive ride. 1/9/18

THE SHAPE OF WATER (2017) – A lush, visual wallop. Del Toro doesn’t make his creature as human as it needs to be, but I appreciated so much of this film, and Sally Hawkins is a wonder. 1/7/18

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME (2017) – I was desperately excited for this and ended up a little let down. I didn’t fall in love with the characters as much as they fell in love with each other. But there are truly no remarkable flaws in this exquisitely told story. 1/3/18

ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD (2017) – It’s an impressive surgery job, re: Christopher Plummer. Also works as a twisted nativity story, giving some empowerment to the Virgin Mary character blah blah blah; worth exactly one watch. 1/1/18

THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI (2017) – A pretty underwhelming exploration of revenge and systemic incompetence that’s a little too blunt for how nuanced it thinks it is. 12/17/17

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI (2017) – Wow. Wow. Wow wow wow. Wow. Wow. Gasps. Claps. 12/14/17

THE DISASTER ARTIST  (2017) – James Franco gives us a pretty benevolent take on THE ROOM auteur Tommy Wiseau in a surprisingly touching story, but one that feels pretty inessential in the grand scheme of things. 12/9/17

COCO (2017) – I’ve never had a lump in my throat for the entire last act of a film. COCO puts you in a high of emotions: longing, mourning, laughing, and smiling. 12/1/17

LADY BIRD (2017) – A wonderful, dense and rich exploration of a young woman’s life and her relationship to her mother. Leans a little too much on coming-of-age tropes in some of the side stories but Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut leaves the air in the theater humming. 11/18/17

JUSTICE LEAGUE (2017) – This latest entry in the DCEU so blatantly and clumsily abandons the tone set by its predecessors that it was actually pretty fun to watch. But these movies have not been really good and probably won’t be good. 11/16/17

MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS (2017) – A well shot and watchable mystery that builds no tension whatsoever. We need to have opinions about the “Who’s” in a whodunnit, and no A-list performance in this film can muster up much charisma except director-star Kenneth Branagh. 11/15/17

THE FLORIDA PROJECT (2017) – A beautifully made film that despite featuring authentic performances can’t render the motivations of its characters authentically. 11/14/17

THOR: RAGNAROK (2017) – Taika Waititi makes a Marvel movie that feels like it earns its breeziness. That’s because the breeze is blowing in a certain direction. 11/3/17

BLADE RUNNER 2049 (2017) – Look. This movie is a perfect example of white male filmmakers having wonderful but limited imagination. And I loved it with every fiber of my heart. Will never stop thinking about it. 10/8/17

THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US (2017) – Okay, I have to admit for being gullible. When I saw the trailer for this, I really genuinely thought the sexual chemistry between the leads was only going to be alluded to. I WAS WRONG. I WAS SO WRONG. This is a silly, steamy movie that barely qualifies as a survival thriller. Thumbs up. 10/7/17

COLUMBUS (2017) – It takes a while to get comfortable with this movie’s style, but once you do, you’ll find yourself exploring the hypnotic town of Columbus, Ohio with these wonderfully rendered characters. The dialogue is a bit stilted at times but the great performances smooth it over. 10/1/17

BATTLE OF THE SEXES (2017) – The problem with sports movies is that the stakes are so technically low that they can only work if you fool us into feeling like they’re actually paramount. That should have been easy with this film, but the filmmakers want us to sympathize with Steve Carrell too much. I appreciate showing misogynists as fallible human beings, but it spreads the movie so thin all over the place. Still a good watch though. 9/30/17

AMERICAN MADE (2017) – This film has an adequate amount of Tom Cruise’s bum. It also moves along great and genuinely slick. Doesn’t really make you think as much as it would like but I will admit it proved a good history/politics lesson of the 80’s for someone who didn’t read enough in school. 9/29/17

GALAXY QUEST (1999) – A favorite of my family’s and a close-to-perfect adventure film. I’ve seen this movie probably fifty times since a very young age and I continue to find inspired things about it. Truly timeless. 9/28/17

STRONGER (2017) – I went in expecting something bland but cry-worthy, but got something that showed some wonderful directorial restraint but had even less going on than I expected. Also, not quite as xenophobic as I thought it would be. 9/24/17

KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE (2017) – It’s silly to say a Matthew Vaughn movie went “overboard” but I don’t need Elton John as a major character in any movie nor the third use of John Denver’s “Country Road” in a blockbuster this year. Taron Egerton is here to stay. 9/21/17

MOTHER! (2017) – This is a movie I will watch exactly once. But man was that a watch. 9/14/17

IT (2017) – There is a whole lot to like with this movie but the entire middle section is simply frustrating – loosely connected scare moments without much actual story progression. The film is bookended by two incredible sequences though. 9/11/17

INGRID GOES WEST (2017) – I might have to see this one again, but I had some very negative feelings, and I found this film somewhat irresponsible. Hating Instagram and avocado toast doesn’t make you smart. 9/3/17

LOGAN LUCKY (2017) – A fantastic, if maybe just a bit underwhelming, return for Soderbergh. This works best as an actors’ vehicle – and by vehicle I mean a huge bus with countless big names each doing something you haven’t seem them do before. 8/27/17

GOOD TIME (2017) – It will not be for everyone, but GOOD TIME scratched, clawed, and burrowed into my head. I won’t forget this macho, adrenaline-and-neon-soaked odyssey for a long time. 8/26/17

DETROIT (2017) – White filmmakers try to see how much they can torture black characters (and audiences), most of which are impossible to see because they are shot to look like dark blobs with no life beyond the violence inflicted upon them. 8/20/17

WIND RIVER (2017) – A rather haunting exploration of tensions between white America and the people of the First Nations. I left thinking I really liked it, but now think I love it. 8/19/17

THE DARK TOWER (2017) – Not as bad as everyone says, but still pretty bad, and a squandered opportunity. Elba and McConaughey were well cast in-theory but they are given such boring material. 8/7/17

KIDNAP (2017) – Deliciously low budget and surprisingly engaging, but Halle Berry deserves better. 8/4/17

LE SAMOURAÏ (1967) – Stylish, French thriller to which every following film in the genre owes a huge debt. 8/3/17

LABYRINTH (1986) – This was an incredible delight to see on the big screen. I watched this a bunch as a kid and it felt like coming home. I am proud to say that I lead the applause when David Bowie made his entrance. 8/2/17

A GHOST STORY (2017) – Strange, simple, and powerful. Hard to stomach Casey Affleck. 7/30/17

THE EMOJI MOVIE (2017) – Appropriately, I have no words. 7/28/17

ATOMIC BLONDE (2017) – It takes a significant amount of time for Charlize Theron’s action-espionage thriller to get going. But when it goes, it really goes. You will not see a cooler fight scene this year than the centerpiece, one-take shootout through the streets of East Berlin. This will be better on a second viewing, I predict. 7/27/17

GIRLS TRIP (2017) – This is a fun movie that deserves all the attention that it’s getting. Maybe runs a little long but it’s got such a great mischievous energy, embodied by Tiffany Haddish, who is absolutely our next comedy star. It’s rounded out with strong and sincere performances from Jada Pinkett Smith, Regina Hall, and Larenz Tate. 7/24/17

DUNKIRK (2017) – Wow. It’s easy and even reasonable to be uninterested in this movie for being yet another grayscale, white-men-during-WWII flick. But Nolan’s latest is a massive, ambitious undertaking, playing with scale, distance, and time. Few words are spoken and your heart skips a few beats. See it on the big screen. 7/23/17

THE BIG SICK (2017) – Sweet and funny romantic comedy that doesn’t quite work on a story level at the end of the day. It makes up for it in fresh characters and perspectives. Will write about this one. 7/21/17

VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS (2017) – Imaginative and full of scenes each with more ideas than most blockbusters have in their entirety. Very bad choice in Dane Dehaan, awkward plotting, and some pretty problematic characters. 7/20/17

THE BEGUILED (2017) – Engaging enough, with weird spots of comedy that often work, and surprisingly tense when it needed to be. But it is a strange vision of history, and feels incomplete. 7/15/17

WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES (2017) – A stunning example of filmmakers putting care and compassion into ideas that are silly on the surface, while not coming off as overly serious. 7/13/17

SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING (2017) – I have a lot of thoughts on this one. Fun. Should be an article in foreseeable future. 7/6/17

BABY DRIVER (2017) – Everything that can be said about this thing has probably been said. Its joys are front and center, pure and simple. This is what happens when passion for cinema is complimented by a deft understanding of character. 6/27/17

ROUGH NIGHT (2017) – A really good way to spend a Saturday night. Poorly paced and structured, and oddly constrained in scope, but contains 5 extremely funny women working the laughs and slapstick. 6/24/17

TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT (2017) – Mysogyny, paranoia, and fethistic ballistics come pouring out of Michael Bay’s head as the fifth entry in this series is dropped on us. All of the above is deafeningly true, and yet, I can’t help but feel these movies are more earnestly themselves than, say, the Marvel movies. 6/22/17

DAVID LYNCH: THE ART LIFE (2017) – Pleasant documentary that treats its subject like it should: as a human, and an artist, but not as an icon. 6/20/17

THE BOOK OF HENRY (2017) – Who asked for this? Who was this for? This film feels produced in a vacuum where logic, sentiment, stories, and humans don’t exist. 6/19/17

IT COMES AT NIGHT (2017) – A skillfully composed and stunningly performed thriller that just barely justifies its existence in the saturated Post-Apocalyptic genre.  6/17/17

THE MUMMY (2017) – A laughable start to the Universal Monsters Shared Universe Thing (which could in theory be fun…), and a sad end to Tom Cruise’s reliability as a movie star. 6/12/17

WONDER WOMAN (2017) – An average superhero film that has come to the party far too late. We should have gotten this a long time ago. Let’s get some more of these, and even better, please. 6/1/17

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES (2017) – A dry, motionless adventure with nothing to offer except a somewhat touching subplot involving Geoffrey Rush. This franchise (and Depp) has got to go. 5/25/17

BAYWATCH (2017) – No clear intention, no skill. Dull, sexist, trash. The Rock manages to go unscathed however. 5/24/17

THEIR FINEST (2017) – Fun, richly built period drama that is an ode to both filmmaking and the ones who are wrongfully kept out of filmmaking. Gemma Arterton and Sam Claflin should be in everything. 5/23/17

A QUIET PASSION (2017) – A deceptively strange biopic about Emily Dickinson with pretty incredible performances and awkward inter-titles. Beautiful, boring. 5/22/17

ALIEN: COVENANT (2017) – Wacky, half sci-fi horror, half gothic romance, with lots of disposable characters and two irreplaceable ones both played by Michael Fassbender. Plenty of good gooey bloody bits. 5/18/17

THE WALL (2017) – Lean, entertaining action/war thriller with hazy politics and a silly ending. 5/13/17

COLOSSAL (2017) – Inventive, engaging dark comedy that is the most creative use of the kaiju since it’s invention. 5/11/17

THE CIRCLE (2017) – Poor Tom Hanks tries his best but nothing can stop a bad script and bad direction, and bad American accents. “Boyhood” boy’s prospects past “Boyhood” looking dire. 5/10/17

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 (2017) – A movie with a big, open heart that fails to engage in any tangible conflict until it’s too late. But when it shows up, it shows up. 5/4/17

FREE FIRE (2017) – Ben Wheatley knows how to effortlessly blend texture and character, and create delicious tension in between. But once the initial shootout occurs, this movie just becomes a plodding exercise in how grueling twelve people with guns can be. Maybe that’s the point, but it gets boring fast. 4/23/17

WOLVES (2016) –  Weak-structured, unintentionally silly, cobbled from other sports and crime dramas, with a standout performance from Carla Gugïno and a great deal of empathy for every character. 4/21/17

THE LOST CITY OF Z (2017) – Slow but worthy exploration of colonialism and dreams. Rich world and solid performances. 4/21/17

YOUR NAME (2017) – Exciting, funny, tender story about love and friendship. Animated. Lots of montages backed by J-rock. 4/20/17

THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS (2017) – Really cool action, Jason Statham is a treat, but series is losing its warmth and earnestness. 4/13/17

THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH (1976) – Excellent David Bowie performance. Too much Rip Torn peen. 4/13/17

GHOST IN THE SHELL (2017) – Not good. Cool visuals here and there. They reeeaallly needed like, even just one Japanese person in the writer’s room on this one. 4/3/17

LIFE (2017) – A watchable if pedestrian “Alien” clone. Reynolds is fun. Gyllenhaal and Ferguson kind of disappoint. 3/26/17

POWER RANGERS (2017) – This one… needed help. But I didn’t hate it. While I couldn’t care about a single character, I did find myself rooting for the team as a whole. I would down for a sequel with a much more knowledgeable director and screenwriter, willing to inject millennial vive into the earnest silliness of the original series. 3/25/17

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (2017) – I had so many problems with this movie, from the uneven production design, queasy cinematography, some bad casting, and my god, the autotune. And yet – by the final reprise of “Tale as old as time” it kind of had me. Dan Stevens is great!! 3/18/17

KONG: SKULL ISLAND (2017) – You know, this one surprised me. It’s a visual delight, and it manages to truly be about nothing. I cared about no one. But it was still so damn exciting. Will probably avoid a second watch. 3/9/17

GET OUT (2017) – What I could say about this movie can and has been said better by many others. Fantastic modern piece of socially charged horror. 3/6/17

LOGAN (2017) – Quite a treat. Full of longing and pain. Perhaps revels in its violence too much; it’s too fun, going against its purpose. 3/4/17

LA LA LAND (2016) – On second viewing, it maintains its transcendent charm and warmth. This movie puts a gulp in your throat, and I think it deserves a proud place in our cultural memory. But I don’t fault someone for being unable to look past the movie’s whitewashed view of jazz’s history and future. 3/1/17

THE GREAT WALL (2017) – Matt Damon really has some soul searching to do. The opposite is true for the Chinese film industry, which has nothing but soul (albeit a propagandistic one) in this crummy action fantasy. 2/17/17

SPLIT (2017) – This movie varied between pretty good and lame UNTIL THE LAST 45 GODDAMN SECONDS IN WHICH IT ACHIEVED NEXT-LEVEL BALLSY STATUS. 2/11/17

THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE (2017) – Wow. This is both funnier and more heartfelt than the original THE LEGO MOVIE, but the latter somehow manages to work better as piece of art. Still, wow. 2/10/17

JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2 (2017) – Much of what made the original a cinematic marvel has really been removed this second time around. And yet, action, and action STARS, just don’t get better than this in American and even international movies. Keanu forever. 2/9/17

PATERSON (2016) – Pleasant. And actually pretty poignant and heartbreaking. I love that something as simple as this could have an astoundingly clever ending. 2/5/17

20TH CENTURY WOMEN (2016) – Nothing to say just watch this!! 2/4/17

MANCHESTER BY THE SEA (2017) – This movie destroys you in the middle. But I’m not sure if its ending justifies its length and breadth. Definitely worth a watch. And even though his performance is good, fuck Casey Affleck. 2/3/17

JACKIE (2016) – Beautiful everything. 2/1/17

HIDDEN FIGURES (2016) – This will be a staple in elementary and middle schools and I mean that as a compliment. Taraji P. Henson is just awesome, and so is the rest of the cast. 1/30/17

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close