The opening scene to The Villainess employs the same video game POV styling of Hardcore Henry, although here director Byung-gil Jung doesn’t mince any words.
While directed flashy, this opening scene benefits from its frenetic whip pans which hide some shoddy CG blood effects. Five minutes into the film, when the camera pulls back to reveal our protagonist for the evening—the almost mechanically ferocious Sook-hee (Ok-bin Kim)—the camera captures stunt choreography more successfully. Still, the whole scene remains overly frantic and shaky.
Why spend so much time discussing the film’s opening scene? It is Continue reading The Villainess (2017) Movie Review
The novelty of the animated film Loving Vincent is well-known at this point. Over a hundred artists were tasked with replicating Vincent van Gogh’s works as a backdrop for a rotoscoped story exploring van Gogh’s mental health in his final days.
The animation in the film is at first transfixing. The world that is created with the textures and brush strokes is Continue reading Loving Vincent (2017) Movie Review
Note: Yep, spoilers. I’m not bothering to attempt this review without actually talking about the film.
From the first sequence of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, it is clear that what you are watching is going to be a different take on the Star Wars universe. It is a dogfight in the skies of space, with the roguish Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) quipping as he leads a squadron of bombers toward the First Order fleet.
This sequence engages with the formulaic conceit of a Star Wars dogfight, and it even replicates Continue reading Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) (SPOILER) Movie Review
James Franco’s The Disaster Artist could have been the extension of a joke, an acknowledgment of the irony that makes Tommy Wiseau’s historical miscalculation The Room such an audience favorite. That would have been the easy route, and it would have made for a less compelling film.
Instead, The Disaster Artist takes an earnest approach. It aims to convince us that it is the drive of Wiseau’s vision which is truly Continue reading The Disaster Artist (2017) Movie Review
Eliza Hittman’s Beach Rats is sometimes subtly gorgeous, sometimes distinctly hard to watch. It is a brutally sensuous experience of teenage angst in sexual awakening.
Brooklynite Frankie (Harris Dickinson) repeatedly tells older men he meets online that he “doesn’t know what he likes.” He keeps this lifestyle hidden from his family, his drug-hungry friends, and his new girlfriend Simone (Madeline Weinstein). Frankie doesn’t know what he wants, but it is clear in his every facial expression that he wants something that he doesn’t have.
Frankie’s life is comprised almost entirely of emotional repression. In the company of others, his face is stony and dissatisfied. Not only is he Continue reading Beach Rats (2017) Movie Review
Pixar films often run on a formula of a handful of sure-fire tropes. A protagonist with dreams bigger than the present situation, prevented from acting on those dreams by external forces. A sidekick character who either doesn’t talk or has way too much to say. A supporting character who turns out to be evil at the third act break. The hero’s journey, all in pursuit of a theme that revolves around family and/or finding oneself.
Coco does not deviate wildly from this formula, certainly not as much as Continue reading Coco (2017) Movie Review
In Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, a title so laborious and specific that it can’t help but get stuck in your head, Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand) rents out three billboards (they haven’t been used in years, not since the highway went up) and plasters a notice up on them. Black on red. A question aimed at Police Chief Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) asking for justice for Mildred’s dead daughter.
A confrontational pitch-black comedy about reactionary culture and life-altering emotional extremity, Three Billboards delivers one of the Continue reading Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017) Movie Review
It wouldn’t be surprising if you only know of the film Roman J. Israel, Esq. because the poster features the back of Denzel Washington’s head. It’s understandable. It’s not as if the name is particularly catchy. But Roman J. Israel, Esq. is the second directorial feature from Dan Gilroy, the man behind Nightcrawler and the scripts of such films as The Fall and Bourne Legacy.
For someone who appreciated Nightcrawler, it is not unreasonable to anticipate good things from Gilroy’s follow up. Don’t be fooled. Roman J. Israel, Esq.—and I only keep reiterating the name because we are reminded of it time and time again in the film—is not Continue reading Roman J. Israel, Esq. (2017) Movie Review