16 10 / 2012

Hey guys, it’s my review of Seven Psychopaths.
You should go see it. It’s one of the best movies of the year. Read the review for more. To elaborate would be criminal, because giving away too much spoils the joy of discovering the genius of the movie.
Seriously, just go check it out.

Hey guys, it’s my review of Seven Psychopaths.

You should go see it. It’s one of the best movies of the year. Read the review for more. To elaborate would be criminal, because giving away too much spoils the joy of discovering the genius of the movie.

Seriously, just go check it out.

25 9 / 2012

My review of Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master.
I intend to write more about this at a later date, as I address it again as part of the ongoing Directed Viewing project, but I feel like at first blush this review more or less stands on its own. The movie, while certainly a new direction for Anderson, ends up being a further examination of a prototypical American malaise that has made up his entire filmography to date. It just does it in interesting, sometimes difficult, ways.
Either way, check out the review, and be sure to catch the movie! It’s absolutely gorgeous and should be seen in a theater.

My review of Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master.

I intend to write more about this at a later date, as I address it again as part of the ongoing Directed Viewing project, but I feel like at first blush this review more or less stands on its own. The movie, while certainly a new direction for Anderson, ends up being a further examination of a prototypical American malaise that has made up his entire filmography to date. It just does it in interesting, sometimes difficult, ways.

Either way, check out the review, and be sure to catch the movie! It’s absolutely gorgeous and should be seen in a theater.

10 9 / 2012

My review of Cosmopolis. 
This one was tough, because it wasn’t until I was writing the review that I decided I liked the movie. It’s an obtuse, over-ambitious, train wreck of a nightmare of a movie: definitely to be respected, but perhaps never loved. I know people will hate it, perhaps even more of them all told, than who will love it, but really I can’t help but be mesmerized by this vision. 
Cannot recommend people make up their own minds enough.

My review of Cosmopolis

This one was tough, because it wasn’t until I was writing the review that I decided I liked the movie. It’s an obtuse, over-ambitious, train wreck of a nightmare of a movie: definitely to be respected, but perhaps never loved. I know people will hate it, perhaps even more of them all told, than who will love it, but really I can’t help but be mesmerized by this vision. 

Cannot recommend people make up their own minds enough.

03 8 / 2012

My review of Beasts of the Southern Wild.
There’s a lot of words behind that link if you want them, but let’s be real: this is the best movie I’ve seen so far this year. Just go see it. Easy as that.

My review of Beasts of the Southern Wild.

There’s a lot of words behind that link if you want them, but let’s be real: this is the best movie I’ve seen so far this year. Just go see it. Easy as that.

06 7 / 2012

My review of Savages.
I have to admit, I’m a fan of screenwriter Don Winslow’s writing but haven’t read the book to this going in, so seeing the low key modern noir set on beaches and bright afternoons felt familiar, but overlaying it with Oliver Stone’s insane sense of rapid-fire aesthetics and wild tonal shifts between deathly earnestness and winking self-parody was a little like an entire movie built around making me feel everything was fevered and unreal.
Needless to say, I think the movie is pretty great. More in the review, but it’s one of those glorious damn messes of a film, a go-for-broke attempt at making something big and different and unsafe, that teeters on the razor-thin line of collapsing in upon itself. Hell, maybe it does to a different person. This is a movie that could best be described as Not For Everyone, but I think it’s Stone’s best movie in a long time and a wild reminder that hard-boiled storytelling can and should be immediate and risky. 

My review of Savages.

I have to admit, I’m a fan of screenwriter Don Winslow’s writing but haven’t read the book to this going in, so seeing the low key modern noir set on beaches and bright afternoons felt familiar, but overlaying it with Oliver Stone’s insane sense of rapid-fire aesthetics and wild tonal shifts between deathly earnestness and winking self-parody was a little like an entire movie built around making me feel everything was fevered and unreal.

Needless to say, I think the movie is pretty great. More in the review, but it’s one of those glorious damn messes of a film, a go-for-broke attempt at making something big and different and unsafe, that teeters on the razor-thin line of collapsing in upon itself. Hell, maybe it does to a different person. This is a movie that could best be described as Not For Everyone, but I think it’s Stone’s best movie in a long time and a wild reminder that hard-boiled storytelling can and should be immediate and risky. 

02 7 / 2012

Reviewing new release movies as a job gets me out to the theater far more often than I used to, but sometimes I get nearly desperate to go see an ‘art’ movie. So I found myself last Saturday going to the local arthouse theater to see the Russian film Elena, knowing nothing about it outside of a vague premise. It’s rare that I see a movie without knowing much about it, so I was very excited.
Sadly, the reality turned out far different. It’s not a bad movie, but it’s rather exhausting in its affectations. Glacial comes to mind, if it wasn’t so overused. Ponderous. Words such as these. There’s good here, but it requires a high tolerance for not a whole lot going on (whether that’s profound or dull is mostly to taste, I think) to get at it.
Either way, here’s the review.

Reviewing new release movies as a job gets me out to the theater far more often than I used to, but sometimes I get nearly desperate to go see an ‘art’ movie. So I found myself last Saturday going to the local arthouse theater to see the Russian film Elena, knowing nothing about it outside of a vague premise. It’s rare that I see a movie without knowing much about it, so I was very excited.

Sadly, the reality turned out far different. It’s not a bad movie, but it’s rather exhausting in its affectations. Glacial comes to mind, if it wasn’t so overused. Ponderous. Words such as these. There’s good here, but it requires a high tolerance for not a whole lot going on (whether that’s profound or dull is mostly to taste, I think) to get at it.

Either way, here’s the review.

22 6 / 2012

My review of Pixar’s latest film, Brave.
I liked Brave for things Pixar didn’t sell it as. The fascinating second act (that doesn’t even appear in the trailers). That it managed to have surprises that overbearing marketing didn’t spoil. How genuinely funny it is, something I feel they’ve lost in a lot of their modern output. That it manages to be in many ways their greatest looking movie. 
The problem is they decided to sell it as some sort of revolutionary female empowerment princess story, and it’s actually pretty terrible at being that thing. I get into it in my review at length, but basically it’s another example (Wall-E's entire second half was nearly ruined for me because of this) of Pixar forgetting that message works when it's not ham-fisted moralizing shoved down our throats through cliches that Disney and Dreamworks don't even sink to anymore.
It’s a pleasant enough fairy tale yarn, but I think it’s become very clear that Pixar needs to decide whether they want to just tell mass market kids entertainment (not a bad thing, honestly) or if they want to grow past it. This middle of the road stance is sabotaging all of their original output, and I have an increasing lack of patience for it.
Either way, check out the full text of the review (here, again, if you missed the link at the top) for more specific thoughts on the movie itself. 

My review of Pixar’s latest film, Brave.

I liked Brave for things Pixar didn’t sell it as. The fascinating second act (that doesn’t even appear in the trailers). That it managed to have surprises that overbearing marketing didn’t spoil. How genuinely funny it is, something I feel they’ve lost in a lot of their modern output. That it manages to be in many ways their greatest looking movie. 

The problem is they decided to sell it as some sort of revolutionary female empowerment princess story, and it’s actually pretty terrible at being that thing. I get into it in my review at length, but basically it’s another example (Wall-E's entire second half was nearly ruined for me because of this) of Pixar forgetting that message works when it's not ham-fisted moralizing shoved down our throats through cliches that Disney and Dreamworks don't even sink to anymore.

It’s a pleasant enough fairy tale yarn, but I think it’s become very clear that Pixar needs to decide whether they want to just tell mass market kids entertainment (not a bad thing, honestly) or if they want to grow past it. This middle of the road stance is sabotaging all of their original output, and I have an increasing lack of patience for it.

Either way, check out the full text of the review (here, again, if you missed the link at the top) for more specific thoughts on the movie itself. 

08 6 / 2012

My review of Prometheus. Entirely spoiler-free.
I wanted to like Prometheus, I really did. It’s a gorgeous film, and it hinted at some amazing concepts as its story slowly builds. It could have been great. Fassbender does some amazing (even for him) work, and Scott is on his game in a way he hasn’t been in ages.
But David Lindelof’s script is an infuriating mess, full of bad decisions and even worse thematic laziness, and takes a bunch of great concepts and just refuses to do anything with them. I have never been so angry with the script of a movie I otherwise liked, and I don’t know if a movie has ever made me so torn.
The takeaway? I truly think people should see Prometheus. In a theater and in 3D, even. It uses the technology well, and it’s visually rich in a way science fiction films never get the budget to be anymore. It’s pretty incredible when it works, I just wish it did it more often, and didn’t land with the thudding idiocy of a screenwriter who can’t write. 

My review of Prometheus. Entirely spoiler-free.

I wanted to like Prometheus, I really did. It’s a gorgeous film, and it hinted at some amazing concepts as its story slowly builds. It could have been great. Fassbender does some amazing (even for him) work, and Scott is on his game in a way he hasn’t been in ages.

But David Lindelof’s script is an infuriating mess, full of bad decisions and even worse thematic laziness, and takes a bunch of great concepts and just refuses to do anything with them. I have never been so angry with the script of a movie I otherwise liked, and I don’t know if a movie has ever made me so torn.

The takeaway? I truly think people should see Prometheus. In a theater and in 3D, even. It uses the technology well, and it’s visually rich in a way science fiction films never get the budget to be anymore. It’s pretty incredible when it works, I just wish it did it more often, and didn’t land with the thudding idiocy of a screenwriter who can’t write. 

01 6 / 2012

My review for Snow White and the Huntsman. Spoiler: if you read the review, you’ll probably feel okay not seeing the movie. 
I really wanted to like this one. I did. I liked Mirror Mirror nearly despite itself sometimes, and I was always ready for a better spin on the material. Not to mention I think Hemsworth is a charming guy, and Charlize Theron is coming off of Young Adult, a movie I adored up and down. 
Unfortunately, what we end up with is an exercise is robbing your betters blind. Stealing from Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, and even Princess Mononoke of all places, SWATH is a two hour slog of carbon copied set pieces and lazily checklisted plot points. Insulting, boring, and barely worthy of the anger it deserves.

My review for Snow White and the Huntsman. Spoiler: if you read the review, you’ll probably feel okay not seeing the movie. 

I really wanted to like this one. I did. I liked Mirror Mirror nearly despite itself sometimes, and I was always ready for a better spin on the material. Not to mention I think Hemsworth is a charming guy, and Charlize Theron is coming off of Young Adult, a movie I adored up and down. 

Unfortunately, what we end up with is an exercise is robbing your betters blind. Stealing from Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, and even Princess Mononoke of all places, SWATH is a two hour slog of carbon copied set pieces and lazily checklisted plot points. Insulting, boring, and barely worthy of the anger it deserves.

16 5 / 2012

My review for The Dictator is live. Despite dismissing them completely when they came out, when I watched Sacha Baron Cohen’s first two movies earlier this year I found that I really liked them. They’re smarter than anyone gives them credit for. Is The Dictator as good, despite some terrible trailers? 
Click through to find out! 
Spoiler: no. But read the review anyway!

My review for The Dictator is live. Despite dismissing them completely when they came out, when I watched Sacha Baron Cohen’s first two movies earlier this year I found that I really liked them. They’re smarter than anyone gives them credit for. Is The Dictator as good, despite some terrible trailers? 

Click through to find out! 

Spoiler: no. But read the review anyway!