Category Archives: Leave it

Movies I wish I had skipped. This could be for any number of reasons: the film was made sloppily, the narrative didn’t engage me, or I simply could not connect with the film in any way for whatever reason.

Men in Black: International (2019) Movie Review

Men in Black: International is the rare reboot picture that makes me question whether any film in the franchise was any good to begin with. It looks and feels like the preceding trilogy. The setting is a comic book world populated by covert aliens, some of which are hunted by or hunting equally-covert agents of the law donning black shades and slick suits. The appearance of energy comes in the form of quippy Men in Black, distinct alien character designs, and shiny silver weaponry that shoot beams of colored lights.

Perhaps the original Men in Black has more of a narrative backbone than this. But I don’t remember Continue reading Men in Black: International (2019) Movie Review

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Dark Phoenix (2019) Movie Review

Dark Phoenix, instead of soaring into theaters with a fiery majesty, landed to roost with an unceremonious whimper. Battered by poor reviews and poorer box office returns on its inaugural weekend, this final (unless The New Mutants ends up finally getting a release) Fox X-Men release is limping its way to the finish line.

But Dark Phoenix is by no means the worst X-Men film of the franchise. In fact, it succeeds in crucial ways at which the previous film Continue reading Dark Phoenix (2019) Movie Review

Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) Movie Review

Say what you will of kaiju films, the best of them thrill and excite. They combine large-scale, city-devastating set pieces with the ground-level desperation of humanity to prevail in the face of armageddon.

The original Godzilla has in its cast of characters a dramatic blend of family dynamics, romantic interest, and political proliferation. The blend may appear shallow in terms of character depth, but it provides us with names and relationships that we want to see succeed.

All the while, it provides the Continue reading Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) Movie Review

The Wandering Earth (2019) Movie Review

There is a shot during what functions as the prologue chapter to The Wandering Earth whose awesome nature leads one to believe that this is more than merely some basic re-skinning of the sci-fi dystopian concept. Much of the film’s effects appear as the computer generated facades that they are, plasticky backdrops and accoutrements. So does this shot, but the gooey melting plastic of a planet in motion away from a star has a cosmic majesty to it, which director Frant Gwo captures superbly.

The planet in the shot is Earth itself, being propelled away from the sun of our solar system to avoid the Continue reading The Wandering Earth (2019) Movie Review

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019) Movie Review

I don’t understand the meme in which serial killer Ted Bundy is lauded for his physical attractiveness in spite of his villainy. Netflix is the prime source of the “hot Bundy” memes, and the memes do not do Netflix’s latest, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, any favors. Midway through Joe Berlinger’s film, a series of women are interviewed during an intermission from Bundy’s murder trial, and they stumble through statements that exult the alluring presence of Bundy in the court room.

If that isn’t enough proof that the film aims to capitalize on Bundy’s Continue reading Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019) Movie Review

Teen Spirit (2019) Movie Review

“Teen Spirit” is an American Idol-esque pop reality competition in which teens sing and dance in hopes of achieving a record contract. Violet (Elle Fanning) is a seventeen-year-old who sneaks out at night to perform to a near-empty dive bar. She croons to one listener, silhouetted by a neon heart sign. “I was a fool,” she repeats until the song fades, and the one man (Zlatko Buric) claps.

When Violet decides to register for the “Teen Spirit” competition, she enlists this man—she later finds out he is a former opera singer—to Continue reading Teen Spirit (2019) Movie Review

The Mustang (2019) Movie Review

My favorite film of 2018 was Chloe Zhao’s The Rider. It is, in my mind, a transcendent experience of intimacy and empathy whose connection to reality enhances its visceral, heartfelt case study of cowboyism.

While watching Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre’s The Mustang, I couldn’t shake the memory of watching The Rider for the first time. Both involve plot mechanics involving horse training and thematic notions of disillusioned masculinity. They both attempt to take a quiet, restrained look at one man’s emotional growth, as well.

When it comes to analysis, a comparison of the two films will Continue reading The Mustang (2019) Movie Review