Category Archives: Like It

Movies I liked but likely won’t watch again. Something was off that I wish had been done differently.

Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers (2022) Movie Review

In Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers, the new re-imagining of the ’90s cartoon IP, the eponymous rangers are washed up celebrities, has-beens of an earlier time only faintly remembered by the few fans who wax nostalgic. Mostly, though, no one has any clue who they are. Chip (John Mulaney) has retired from the spotlight and has made a good go of it as an insurance salesman. Dale (Andy Samberg), meanwhile, still clamors for the high of fame at fan conventions at a booth in “Retro Alley.”

Like most characters in the film, I have only vague recollections of Chip ‘n Dale — if anything, I have more of a memory for Continue reading Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers (2022) Movie Review

Men (2022) Movie Review

I have a distinct feeling that Alex Garland planted things in Men, the writer-director’s new film starring Jessie Buckley and a bevy of Rory Kinnears, which I have not entirely picked up on. Namely, allusions to religion and mythology which fly outside my knowledge structures. Yet what I did understand about Men, what was left after those allusions are stripped away and narrative and theme remain, was altogether so blunt and superficial that I in moments thought I was watching a parody of a specific breed of arthouse film. A parody of the exact film Men is.

This is not a case of I didn’t understand the film, therefore I don’t like it. On the contrary, Continue reading Men (2022) Movie Review

George Carlin’s American Dream (2022) Movie Review

Every once in a while, you might see something online about how the late comedian George Carlin was ahead of his time. That if he was still around he would eviscerate America in its current state. That he in some ways already did eviscerate modern America by criticizing topics decades ago that are still relevant today. These sorts of comments speak to the staying power of a singular comic figure. Similarly influential and boundary pushing comics — Lenny Bruce, for instance — don’t seem to get the same retrospective appreciation. What did Carlin do, exactly, to allow his comedy to seemingly transcend time?

The new documentary from Judd Apatow and Michael Bonfiglio, George Carlin’s American Dream, seeks to tap into this question as it examines Continue reading George Carlin’s American Dream (2022) Movie Review

Happening (2022) Movie Review

Audrey Diwan’s Happening, which won last year’s Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, finds itself with a U.S. release date incidentally coinciding with legislative changes which make it all the more timely. It is a frank film about unwanted pregnancy and rigid abortion laws in 1960s France. Viewing it with American eyes, I imagine one’s appreciation for the content in the film may rest on individual politics. That, or one’s patience for quiet drama and arthouse chic.

Anne Duchesne (Anamaria Vartolomei), after discovering she is a few weeks pregnant, seeks out the possible channels for an abortion. Doctors steer her Continue reading Happening (2022) Movie Review

X (2022) Movie Review

An idealistic group of pornographers are looking to find stardom and profits in the late-1970s, just as the home video market is knocking on the door. But this is not Boogie Nights. The group of (mostly) young couples land at a remote homestead in rural Texas to run-and-gun this film, where the threat of violence seems to be just outside the frame. But this is not The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, either.

In 1979, six Houston natives rent a guest house from an elderly couple in rural Texas. The homeowners are wary of the young folks — they certainly wouldn’t take too kindly to them shooting an amateur adult film on their property.

Nevertheless, producer Wayne (Martin Henderson) assures Continue reading X (2022) Movie Review

The Batman (2022) Movie Review

With many iterations of DC Comic’s caped crusader littering the last 40 years of blockbuster cinema, Matt Reeves’ The Batman may seem at first blush simply another go around the same old song and dance. It is certainly not without its comparisons. Most clear among them is this film’s affinity with Christopher Nolan’s trilogy, which DC has taken noticeable steps to visually and tonally distance itself from in recent years. Perhaps that is why this critic—more a fan of Nolan’s Batman than Zack Snyder’s—was immediately more engaged by Reeves’ take on the character.

But The Batman is no carbon copy of The Dark Knight. It comes with its own style. Nolan’s sleek and wide vision of Gotham City is replaced here with a decidedly more Continue reading The Batman (2022) Movie Review

Kimi (2022) Movie Review

As we are now two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, it only stands to reason that the entertainment industries are beginning to react to it with films and television which occur, diegetically, during the pandemic. Kimi is not the first, of course. Rob Savage’s Host, the Zoom-call horror movie, received quite a bit of attention on its release for its ultra-low-budget pandemic conditions. A fine, if not thin, riff on the found footage setup.

I bring up that Kimi features an in-fiction COVID pandemic only because its existence has impacted the agoraphobic protagonist, Angela Childs (Zoe Kravitz), at a fundamental level. While most people around her have moved on with their lives, returning to office life, riding public transit, most not wearing masks, the thought of leaving her flat sends Angela into a panic attack.

Luckily, Angela works as a tech troubleshooter for the Kimi AI, an Alexa clone whose success is leading its company to Continue reading Kimi (2022) Movie Review

Death on the Nile (2022) Movie Review

Kenneth Branagh’s sleek Agatha Christie adaptation, his second after 2017’s underwhelming and overly staid Murder on the Orient Express, is a delight, just so long as you are patient with it.

For a murder mystery, Death on the Nile takes its sweet time getting to the murder. The script almost teases you with this delay. The characters are introduced (or reintroduced in some cases) with a coy monologue which lays out the backstories which establish each person’s potential motives. Establishing shots are occasionally interrupted by sudden acts of animal violence, as if to say, murder is in the nature of this world — just give it time. One poorly staged false start nearly takes the head off of the love-struck heiress Linnet Ridgeway-Doyle (Gal Gadot).

This heiress has jilted her childhood friend Jackie (Emma Mackey) by stealing Continue reading Death on the Nile (2022) Movie Review

2nd Chance (2022) Movie Review

2nd Chance premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival

Ramin Bahrani is a director known primarily for fiction filmmaking. He made the Fahrenheit 451 adaptation for HBO. Last year, his script for The White Tiger was nominated for an Academy Award and a BAFTA. It perhaps does not come as a surprise then that Bahrani was initially approached by producers to make the story of Richard Davis, the Michigan man who developed the modern bulletproof vest, into a fiction film. And Davis’ tale could potentially make for an engaging fiction, given how outlandish aspects of it are.

This film could focus on Continue reading 2nd Chance (2022) Movie Review

Emergency (2022) Movie Review

Emergency premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival and is competing in the festival’s U.S Dramatic competition.

Carey Williams’ 2018 film Emergency won Sundance’s Special Jury Prize for short-form filmmaking. He adapted this short, with KD Davila serving as screenwriter, into a feature film of the same name. The film is one part buddy comedy, one part coming-of-age movie, and one part drama reflecting on multiple tensions present in the American conscious. If this sounds like three things which do not go together, you aren’t wrong. The extent to which one buys into the tonal tightrope walk Emergency is attempting is crucial to the enjoyment of the film.

I bought in. Perhaps not hook, line, and sinker. But taking this film on its own terms, following it through its kinks and lumps, I was met with a Continue reading Emergency (2022) Movie Review