Strong fable about how what we do affects the environment around us. Sure, there are a plethora of such tales, especially from Ghibli, but few of the others can tell it with such further and continued enthusiasm. It's acknowledged that we're all trying to survive and thrive, and while there are elements that are left out, the take sentiments are still beautiful. Great animation, mix of styles and inclusion of Japanese culture and lore make for an interesting and intriguing story. It's narrated as if an old school nature documentary about these creatures. Incredibly creative and well done animated film.
Legitimately creepy story about a man running away, and the demon he fights while watching Shomar over a haunted soul. Beautiful lighting and poignant symbolism help subtly tell his story as well as the haunted body's own. Well directed and acted, this low budget ghost story chills and informs, while also producing an important message.
The Russo Brothers burst into the Marvel Universe with what is essentially a perfect superhero movie. Following closely to the fantastic Brubaker comic arc, the Winter Soldier intrigues with its twist to the formula, shaking the foundation of street level story telling in the Marvel Universe and formulas for the stories to come. Not only does it cap-end the first movie's storyline perfectly, but we get more insight into Rogers and how much of a "Boy Scout" he actually is. With a good amount of humor mixed in and fantastic performances all around, The Winter Soldier shakes up Marvel's foundation for the better and sets a very high bar for all big-budget superhero movies.
While a bit unchained and messy, Snyder's vision is definitely one the comic fans deserve. With everything in limbo, and Flashpoint having the potential to franchise reboot, we may never finish Snyder's intended vision, but it's still better than what was initially presented to us. More violent, nerdy, and action packed, what is presented is mostly a delight. Some acting moments and dialogue keep this from being Snyder's best DC outing, but the heart and intent are there, especially on improving the villain and showcasing Cyborg in a big way. This stills important, if simultaneously unnecessary given the current franchise situation. I'm glad it exists.
Excellent drama about finding tranquility when everything is in motion. Riz Ahmed and Paul Raci are both fantastic. It's a beautiful and sad tale, but not without hope. Great sound editing make this character study a profound piece and knowing deaf people, many of the messages hit close. The beginning is a little rocky, but things move quickly, and there were tears.
A charming comedy about Pete Davidson that is lengthy, but doesn't waste your time. A great cast and good jokes keeps the runtime breezy, along with other complex characters and true human moments we expect from Apatow. Burr and Tomei are also fantastic and it's hard to not root for Davidson's Scott when all is said and done. Good movie.
Fantastic animation and dubbing make this modern fable shine brightly. Some themes just don't click with me, but they're inoffensive. The take on blowing up an urban legend into an actual one, and the consequences on both sides, is intriguing and original. Cool moments and good characters help stick the landing with this anime. The filmmakers continuing theme of nature reclaiming the world is a peaceful and welcome one. Good anime.
No matter your take on the royal family, Tom Hooper's drama about the first poignant speech launching WW II is entertaining and insightful. Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush are fantastic in their roles and their chemistry is palpable. Great funny moments pepper what could be a dry boring telling, but it's everything but dull. What comes out is a great story perfectly executed.
So the son ended up being nothing like the father. Brilliant juxtaposition with flashbacks intermingled with the story of Michael's downfall makes The Godfather Part II just as much of an essential watch as the original. It's bloodier and more personal, while Michael is more about business and less about family. Pacino is fantastic and the hole left by Brando's Vito is purposely unfilled by Michael's inability to lead benevolently. Fantastically paced, with everything coming full circle, Part II is a proper close to this chapter of the Corleone's story.
A gorgeous contemplative Americana drama about a woman who lives out of her van, travels and words. Frances McDormand is fantastic as Fern, a good woman who has recently lost her husband when the film starts. She has and makes friends along the way, but prefers to be alone when traveling, enjoying nature and dealing with life's hardships. The film is beautiful and meditative, visual poetry accompanying literal poetry. There's a calmness presented and an understanding of the lifestyle. As someone who loves connecting with nature, forests and the ocean - and should probably do so more - these moments brought joy and calm in ways few films have. It's beautiful. Life is beautiful.
Tarantino's masterpiece, Basterds is as much of a celebration of the Golden-Age of cinema as it is a fun macabre fable about WW II. Waltz steals the show and astounds as the big bad of the movie. Pitt is also very good, though Aldo is a bit one dimensional, intentionally so. Complex and with a good amount of Jewish rage that's rarely conveyed on screen, Inglorious Basterds is one of the brilliant films of the twenty-first century. It feels personal and intimate and claustrophobic, not an epic, but almost a horror thriller. With some great homages to movies and landmark directors, Tarantino paints his masterpiece while acknowledging those who inspired him. For him, it doesn't get much better than this.
Outside of Whedon's stigma, which does linger in this movie in its own ways, The Avengers is a blast of a polarizing superhero movie. It sets up Iron Man as a true hero, while also introducing what causes his ultimate struggle. The tension in the team is palpable, and the fantastic cast make it work. Loki is such a cool villain and the special effects and jokes hold up well. A fantastic movie that is still a blast, with at least one subtle "oh s-!" connection to a later movie that I just noticed.
Holding up remarkably well, The First Avenger remains an intriguing blast as we're introduced to Cap's origin. It's a super fun, action-filled super hero movie that was another chance for young Marvel Studios to flex their muscle with. It's also Joe Johnston's best movie. It remains an exciting introduction to the iconic Marvel hero and a great place for non fans to join in.
An incomplete story that ends way too soon, Earwig and the Witch is a timid, but cool glimpse of what we could expect from Studio Ghibli going forward. Great animation and decent voice acting clash against the odd dubbing and unusual-for-the-studio standard anime score. I understand there will be more, and I'm curious and optimistic as to what will come next. It could be worse.
Beautiful visual diary and essay about our forgotten connections to nature. What transpires is a different type of human experience that starts and ends beautifully. This octopus saves this man's life and the best he can do is tell their story. Wonderfully shot and paced, it's a poetic documentary worth exploring.
A brilliant, raw and honest telling of a peak into a
major Black Panther Chapter. Shaka King's amazingly keen eye makes the small emotional moments properly convey their intended tone, while also providing perfect tension and high stakes moments for the few action scenes. LaKeith Steinfeld and Daniel Kaluuya are brilliant as the titular leads and it's hard to like O'Neal throughout, but you still feel for him. The showing the cops and Feds as members of a murderous mafia also carries heavy weight and poetry along with the daft words spoken by Kaluuya's Fred Hampton. In a rise of important movies telling us stories of how angry people are, Judas and the Black Messiah shows us real moments of action and what it means to forsake those we actually love and care about.
What transpires is a dull, by the numbers thriller that tries to teach us the other side of what the title implies. Interesting shots and edits are strewn throughout and the leads are competent, if a bit bored. Leto and Denzel shine the most, as they have the most to do, while Malek almost seemed like an afterthought, though he does later flex that acting muscle. It does have some of the most creative product-placement I have seen, and the Thomas Newman score slaps and perfectly conveys tone. This would have been better as a Crossing Guard style character study, but what we got is an inoffensive plain-Jane slow burn cop thriller.