Category: Movies

2016, Movies

Christine (2016, Antonio Campos)

This is an excellent film about the person behind an infamous moment in US television history. It’s a drama with a great sense of place, an excellent cast and a really strong lead performance. I recommend you watch it but I also recommend that if you are interested in watching this film and don’t know …

2019, Movies

Knives Out (2019, Rian Johnson)

For someone like me, there are few things more pleasing than a really well-done genre film. But genre conventions can be pretty tired, so that one thing that is more pleasing than that, is a genre crossover that really works. For me, comedy is often the most reliable genre to mashup. (I am a big …

2012, Movies

China Heavyweight (2012, Yung Chang)

Basically the Chinese boxing equivalent of Hoop Dreams, this film follows two boxing coaches and two boxers over a couple of years or so as they attempt to use boxing to get out of rural life in China and as one coach decides to come out of retirement.

2017, Movies

Logan Lucky (2017, Steven Soderbergh)

This is a very enjoyable heist comedy full of quirky performances and fun cameos. It’s a pretty silly film – some have called it a “hill billy” or “red neck” Ocean’s Eleven and the film itself calls it “Ocean’s 7-11” – but it’s pretty funny and manages to also be enjoyable as a heist movie, …

1965, Movies

Chimes at Midnight aka Falstaff (1965, Orson Welles)

Like many of Welles’ later films, the strange history of this film is almost as interesting as the movie itself. It’s the kind of saga that makes me want to read a biography of Welles though I think there’s a documentary that just came out, isn’t there? Anyway…

2017, Movies

Blade Runner 20149 (2017, Denis Villeneuve)

I’ve seen the original Blade Runner 2 or 3 times over 10 years ago but I’ve yet to be completely sold on it. Before I watched, multiple people (critics, friends) told me it was one of the best movies ever made. I liked it more the second or third viewing, but I’ve never come around …

2018, Movies

Vice (2018, Adam McKay)

With some slight reservations, I called The Big Short the most important film of its year. So, when this trailer came out, I literally said “YES!” out loud. It felt like my catnip. I normally don’t like reading much about a movie I really want to see, because I worry about how expectations affect my …

2014, Movies

Inherent Vice (2014, Paul Thomas Anderson)

I have never read this book, but I have three of his other novels, and one thing I can say about Thomas Pynchon, is that his novels strike me as unfilmable. There’s so much going on and so much of it isn’t the kind of thing that would work on the screen. I like to …

2018, Movies

I Still See You (2018, Scott Speer)

This is a PG-13 thriller with horror/science fiction elements which steals ideas from other movies and books, and which cannot even come up with its own vocabulary for its internal world. Had I been less tired when I watched it, I no doubt would have figured out who the main bad guy was immediately, simply …

2019, Movies

The Panama Papers (2018, Alex Winter)

This is a rather workmanlike documentary about the infamous “Panama Papers” which exposed a Panamanian bank’s tax evasion services for the super rich and for politicians. I watched it on a plane three weeks ago so I am not 100% sure of my comments.

2019, Movies

Avengers: Endgame (2019, Anthony Russo, Joe Russo)

Note: Due to the nature of this film – concluding this “phase” of the Marvel Cinematic Universe – and also its plot, it’s impossible to talk about it without heavy spoilers for the entire set of 20 odd movies, particularly Infinity War, as this is a direct sequel to that movie. You’ve been warned. (Of …

1964, Movies

Children of the Damned (1964, Anton Leader)

A long time ago I read something which told me to add this film, and not the earlier film, to my list. Watching this movie now, I have no idea why someone thinks this is the better movie. Because this film is worse in basically every way.

1960, Movies

Village of the Damned (1960, Wolf Rilla)

This is one of those horror classics which has aged pretty poorly, with both the script and the effects having dated kind of horribly. But the production values outside of the effects are otherwise excellent and it really is on the good side of horror films of the period.

2019, Movies

The 2019 Toronto International Film Festival

Once again I only saw 5 movies this year. As with previous years, the reason for that will become apparent in a month or so. But, as usual, we managed to do a pretty good job picking movies and only saw movie I wouldn’t recommend seeing, which is a pretty good ratio.

2019, Movies

Incitement (2019, Yaron Zilberman)

This is a nearly flawless dramatization of the radicalization of the man who assassinated Yitzhak Rabin in 1995. It is apparently the film time a film has been made about the assassination, likely because of how raw the wound still is 25 years later. But I would say that this is absolutely the film to …

2016, Movies

Deepwater Horizon (2016, Peter Berg)

Peter Berg excels at a kind of hyper competence, where his films are technically extremely well made and impressive but which lack subtext or critical thinking. I often hate his films even though I have to grant that they always have exceptional production values. But this one is (a little) different. I think this is …

2019, Movies

A Herdade (2019, Tiago Guedes)

This absolutely gorgeous film is one of those epic films which attempts to tell the history of a place or country though the experiences of a family. It’s the kind of high concept we might associate with classic Hollywood. But it is not a classical film in terms of the content.

2019, Movies

Lyrebird (2019, Dan Friedkin)

Do you ever watch a film with high production values and, from the opening scenes, you’re thinking, ‘this is is not going to be good’? Well, Lyrebird is such a movie. It’s the kind of movie you spend wondering if it’s the director’s first film (it is) because nothing works like it’s supposed to. SPOILERS …

2019, Movies

Mano de obra [aka Workforce] (2019, David Zonana)

This a very well-made, fascinating drama about manual labourers in Mexico City which threatens to become a thriller but consistently subverts your expectations and ends up having more in common with classical tragedy. It’s a debut, so I was very wary of choosing to see it, but this is a remarkably self-assured film. I strongly …

2019, Movies

Heroic Losers (2019, Sebastián Borensztein)

This is an enjoyable, albeit flawed, heist comedy about a group of townspeople whose dreams of resurrecting their town’s granary are devastated by the “Corralito”, a reaction to a run on the banks during the Argentine Great Depression. It’s hits the standard heist movie beats, but it is refreshing both because of how funny it …

2014, Movies

Children 404 (2014, Askold Kurov, Pavel Loparev)

Ever since we all started recording ourselves, there has been an absolute trove of material for filmmakers to use to cover basically any subject they want. I don’t know when this started exactly, but I feel like this must have been one of the earlier films to take full advantage of this new facet of …

1938, Movies

The Childhood of Maxim Gorky (1938, Mark Donskoy)

This is the first part of a three part adaptation of Maxim Gorky’s autobiographies, released in the years after his death. I don’t believe I have ever read any Gorky, but I know he’s considered one of the greats of his era.

1954, Movies

Chikamatsu monogatari (1954, Kenji Mizoguchi)

Aka The Crucified Lovers aka A Story by Chikamatsu This is one of those Japanese tragedies where two lovers are prevented from living happily ever after by the strictures of society. Yes, this is a universal story, but the Japanese have a lot of these stories and there is a particular tenor to the Japanese …

2007, Movies

Chicago 10 (2007, Brett Morgan)

The trial of 10 people after the demonstrations outside the 1968 Democratic Convention is certainly a notable trial in the history of civil liberties abuses in the United States. And it is a story that deserves to be told. But I’m not sure if this ADD movie is the right vehicle for it. Moreover, it …