Green Book

greenbook

There’s probably a great movie to be made about Dr. Don Shirley, the closeted classical piano virtuoso as he embarks on a tour of the south in the segregated 60s, but Green Book isn’t it. While the film itself is well produced, and leads Viggo Mortensen and especially Mahershala Ali are amazing, this film is more interested in showcasing and normalizing the casual racism of Mortensen’s Tony Vallelonga as he operates as Shirley’s driver. If you want to see a white-savior movie where a black guy learns about Little Richard and fried chicken from a white dude that uses “eggplants” as a pejorative then have at it, but this film made me feel more uncomfortable than anything.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under movies

Free Solo

free solo

Sometimes movies where the conclusion is known can be robbed a little bit of their momentum, but in the case of Free Solo, there was a fascinating tension throughout. The gorgeously-shot documentary film covers the intention of Alex Honnold to become the first person to ever scale the 3000 ft. wall of El Capitan in Yosemite with no ropes or gear of any kind. As the film tracks Honnold’s quest, his training, and his relationship, it also showcases the beautiful scenery of the mountains he scales, and somewhat surprisingly, there’s never a dull moment. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under movies

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

spideyverse

By lunging headfirst into the Spider-Man mythos and poking fun at its tropes while continually reinforcing them, Into the Spider-Verse is a silly, heartfelt fun ride, that is as bold and engaging as it is dense and impenetrable. Amidst a story full of time-travel, parallel-universe hokum, the film nonetheless pulls at the right heartstrings while highlighting the universality that made the original Spider-Man an everyman hero.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under movies

The Favourite

favourite

While eschewing historical accuracy, The 18th century epic The Favourite plays like a political All About Eve, decorated with crowns and powdered wigs. Purporting to tell the story of Queen Anne (a deliriously grand Olivia Colman) and her dueling subjects, confidant Sarah (wryly malicious Rachel Weisz) and new servant Abigail (earnestly aggressive Emma Stone), the film veers into a seedy sexual triangle of one-upmanship. With lush backgrounds continually magnified through fish-eye lenses, the style of the film is only surpassed by the game performances of its three leads.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under movies

Boy Erased

BoyErased_1200x600

It’s difficult to pinpoint what doesn’t quite work about Boy Erased. Written and directed and co-starring Joel Edgerton, it’s the dark, uncomfortable story of Jared Eamons (Lucas Hedges), a young boy with overly religious parents who send him off to a conversion camp when he admits that he’s gay. Based on the true-story of Garrard Conley who wrote the book the movie is based on, the film tackles an urgent matter, is performed delicately and expertly, and is as harrowing as it is hopeful. And yet, there’s just something about it that feels a little unfinished.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under movies

Suspiria

Suspiria

Suspiria is a weird movie. It’s the kind of film that strives for mood over cohesion and revels in the revolting, delights in the disgusting, and cares more about the shock than the awe. That doesn’t make it a bad movie. I was reminded a bit of Mother! the awful, masturbatory fever dream of David O. Russell that was all titillation, zero fascination. Suspiria, thankfully, at least has a story, albeit a thin one.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under movies

Can You Ever Forgive Me?

forgive

Melissa McCarthy has spent the past few years of her movie career urging audiences to like her, to laugh along with her willing, do-anything antics, sometimes showing the sad side to a sweet character. In Can You Ever Forgive Me, she flips the script, leading with the caustic, brusque and deceitful and keeping the sensitive buried deep. It’s a somewhat slow, but engaging true story about a woman running out of options who finds a unique yet dishonest and illegal way to develop her craft.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under movies

Bohemian Rhapsody

bohemian

I think a deep dive into the character of Freddie Mercury and his bandmates in Queen could be an interesting topic for a film, but whatever good will the movie had is wasted on a completely uninspired approach that, despite a great central performance, deteriorates under the weight of its own anachronisms and an overall disinterest in actual history. Originally directed by Bryan Singer who was fired in the middle of shooting and quickly replaced by Dexter Fletcher who finished the film, it’s hard to know who to blame for this mess, but the end result is a weak outing that checks every formulaic biopic box and falters with every forced conversation that you know never happened in real life.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under movies

Beautiful Boy

beautiful-boy

Like most addiction stories on film, Beautiful Boy follows a particular formula, tracking the cycle of drug abuse from recovery through relapse and back again. Based on the memoirs of father-son Nic and David Sheff, and realized by co-writer Luke Davies and co-writer/director Felix von Groeningen, the film is unflinching in showcasing the effects of abuse on both the abuser the family that cares for him. Filled with quiet, honest performances, the film is affecting and uncomfortable, but also a bit too exhausting, feeling a bit like emotional porn (a big-screen, more focused “This is Us”).

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under movies

Bad Times at the El Royale

elroyale

There are worse things than Drew Goddard (co-writer and director of The Cabin in the Woods, writer of The Martian and Cloverfield) doing his best Quentin Tarantino impression, but “Bad Times at the El Royale” is an earnest effort that is exceedingly long and a bit too ambitious. It’s still an entertaining film, and worthy effort, even if it would’ve been a greater movie with a few edits and someone trying to reign the director in a bit.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under movies