film reviews


flounderboxd. "this generation's roger ebert"


2022


portrait of a lady on fire

I LOVE THE FRENCH!


thor: ragnorock

watched this with zoe. the only marvel movies I have seen are the avengers, black panther, deadpool and deadpool 2. The last two are like parodies of the genre, and so I don't have much experience with marvel films. it's wild to me that there are like 50 of these movies and they all make like a billion dollars. This one has jeff goldblum in it playing jeff goldblum. It was also directed by Taiki Waititi, who also cameos in it and is sort of a serious director. You also get Stan Lee.


Somewhat distracted by how truly absurd the concept / tone of Marvel movies in general are. Like they have incredibly high stakes but low emotional weight. I like movies with incredibly low stakes but high emotional weight. There is a ton of backstory that I feel like I have to learn. There isn't really any ambiguity here in terms of good vs evil. There isn't really space in the format of them to breathe and explore very much or challenge audiences. None of these are novel insights but I haven't seen many of these movies. I think I feel more critical because this is the first movie I watched after the best movie I've seen in two years (below). Had fun though, especially bc I was texting Zoe throughout (I feel like the movie is designed for this because you don't really have to pay close attention)


everything everywhere all at once

Somewhat late on this one. Watched with my aunt’s family. Absolutely astounding. Probably the best film I have seen since kajillionaire (first entry in this page). Original and perfectly executed. Deeply moving. I have nothing but positive things to say about this, just unbelievably well done movie from start to finish. Really, really, really good


Found out that the same people directed swiss army man, a movie that feels similar but I really did not like — definitely original but not nearly as well executed. Like they took a big risk with swiss army man, and I think mostly failed, but I’m glad they did, because they took even bigger risks with this and knocked it out of the park.


Reading the negative new yorker review: “ Some of the best movies of recent years—“The Future,” “Us,” and “The French Dispatch””. Shockingly bad take. This is thr most braindead thing I’ve read in the New Yorker since the food review for a big mac inspired item where the reviewer never had a big mac and didn’t get one for the review. The future (bad movie) came out in 2015. So richard brody is saying that the French dispatch is one of the best movies in the last 7 years. Is this a joke?????


lilo and stitch

This was one of my favorite movies as a kid, but I didn’t remember much of it. Surprised by how good, heartfelt and original it was. A great movie. Watched it on a flight to hawaii. High schooler next to me on the plane described it as “really old”. Realized now that the movie is 2 years older than she is. Also, Disney needs to bring back hand drawn animation. It looks so much better than CGI, it’s so expressive and fun. This movie poster is fun because you can tell they want you to think of this as a Disney film even though it really doesn’t feel like it. And it’s not really that strong a part of the disney brand despite being a very popular and successful movie.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:LiloandStitchmovieposter.jpg


Kinda crazy that this was written and directed by two white guys. Could not get away with that today. I read that they picked hawaii because they looked at a map of the US and noticed hawaii was really far from everything else. It’s absolutely wild that someone could start from that point and make a culturally respectful depiction of the islands.


Also apparently there was supposed to be a scene where stitch hijacked a boeing 747 but 9/11 happened 2 weeks before production finished and they had to redo it


Learned lilo and stitch was nominated for best animated feature at the academy awards and didn’t win and couldn’t believe it but then found out it lost to spirited away, alright, fair


When i was in elementary/middle school i was obsessed with the lilo and stitch animated series. I had vhs tapes that i would rewatch many times. It’s wild how big of a franchise lilo and stitch became. I wonder if the show held up, probably not. It’s wild how much Disney squeezes money out of its IP. Everyone loves the weird alien dog. I know I did as a kid


The Wikipedia articles on lilo and stitch lore are insanely detailed


Paddington

Enjoyed the last 2/3 of this film with my coworkers


dog

Watched this with my parents and brother and his wife. Channing tatum plays a us army vet taking care of a fallen soldier’s dog. In one scene he strikes out with women at a portland bar. That was my favorite scene. For the first 1/3 of the movie i confused channing tatum with armie hammer and thought he was in sorry to bother you. Learned on wikipedia channing tatum also dorected it


turning red

Saw a bunch of ads for this in san francisco and watched a trailer and watched this. The last pixar movie I saw was Inside Out. This was the first CGI movie I've ever seen where the CGI looks good. The technical detail is astounding, and you could tell there were shots that existed just to show off how hard their physics and computer science PhDs have been working. I repeatedly paused it because I could not believe how detailed some of the scenes were. On top of that, they also seem to be able to keep it cartoon-y, and know where to leave out detail (eg in the characters).


This felt unlike any pixar movie I watched growing up, in that it is very embedded in the real world. Some details: very clearly set in toronto (CN tower often seen, real-looking canadian money). Time is also repeatedly referenced (2002). It's not clear where, e.g. Toy Story takes place, but this film clearly has a time and a place, which makes it feel more personal.


I don't think I can discuss this film without talking about its political/social context. It feels extremely "socially aware". The wide diversity of Toronto is shown (many races, people in religious outfits, etc). It deals explicitly with what would be characterized as "asian-american inter-generational trauma". The director and writer are both asian women. I think it's great that we are seeing this sort of diversity.


I think that all art has the ability to stand in for the universal via the particular, and for a long time, the primary experience was white, european, often male. This film was not just about a certain identitarian experience, but used that particular experience to stand for universal themes about adolescence and family. I thought it was extremely well done, and I wish there were films like this when I was a kid.


The funniest part is when the mom (sandra oh) asks, about a boy band, why it is called 4*town when there are 5 of them


This review maybe sounds insane.


The wikipedia article for this film is kinda bad. I should clean it up


boy's state


also watched this with my friend. really enjoyed it. reminded me of being in high school debate. these kids were much more camera friendly than I was in high school (bad acne, very awkward)


red rocket


watched this with my friend. I had also watched part of tangerine with her (same director). really enjoyed it. very good characters, good set design, good everything.


spider-man and the dark knight


Watched 2 superhero movies with my friends. I’ve only seen spider-man once, I’ve seen the dark knight many times. Both classic movies. Spider-man is corny and self serious in a way that super hero movies now are not. I noticed how much the structure of the dark knight mirrors that of spider-man. I don’t think either film passes the bechdel test


Dune

rambling here

Have been procrastinating watching this because I love the book, it has been notoriously hard to adopt, and I was very skeptical. I have a lot of thoughts. Overall, I think that it was extremely well done within the confines of the style ans format. The book itself is very "chatty", especially in the earlier parts, which doesn't lend itself well to film. I thought some of the character and tone was a bit off: jessica was a bit too weepy, instead of the incredibly poised, strong figure that she is in the novels. I was a bit annoyed at first that a lot of the early exposition got cut, but I think that in the end the structure worked out very well. Timothy Chalamet made a very good paul and I think the characters were good other than jessica. In the books, baron harkonnen doesn't believe paul&jessica are dead, and demands to see the bodies. I think that is better. The set and costume design is really good, but sometimes it felt a bit airy and stiff. Like there is no reason every room had to have a giant stone door. The tone was extremely serious, there are moments of levity and pause in the book that I think could have been welcome. Dune is also about intense political negotiation, and a lot of those moments were captured really well, but I think it would have been better with more political stuff and less action.


I will always compare movie adaptations of books to the books. Some people find this annoying. But I will always do this and also be a little elitist about it. Dune is, objectively, a better and more complete story in a 600 page book than it is in 2 2.5 hour movies. But within the confines of that format, this was a well done and faithful rendition: I could tell that the director respected the text, rather than abandoning it when it didn't suit him. Like aside from my complaints above, I could list aspect after aspect that was really well done. But on some level, it was just "well done", maybe "safe", like it lacked the weirdness of the novel and smoothed over a lot of its rough edges. I am not sure if a better Dune movie is possible. It would require taking some pretty serious risks, and adapting Dune is already itself a huge risk.


I liked this quote from a nyt review:

Throughout “Dune,” you can feel Villeneuve caught and sometimes struggling between his fidelity to the source material and the demands of big-ticket mainstream moviemaking and selling. It’s easy to imagine that he owns several copies of the novel, each copiously dog-eared and heavily outlined. (The movie is relatively free of holiday-ready merch opportunities, outside of a cute desert mouse with saucer-sized ears.) At the same time, Villeneuve is making a movie in a Marvel-dominated industry that foregrounds obviousness and blunt action sequences over ambiguity and introspection. There’s talk and stillness here, true, but also plenty of fights, explosions and hardware.


npr review:

the visuals are stunning but the storytelling feels rudimentary; you get the sense that he's managed his source material without fully mastering it. In some ways, Lynch's Dune actually got closer to the mind-bending strangeness of Herbert's novel; it had a touch of visionary madness that this movie could use a little more of.


maybe george miller should have done it. he already made a movie in the desert


Reflecting more on this. I think a big problem and a symptom of the problem with the film is a lack of color. The book is colorful.


2021


Don't Look Up


Watched this movie with my parents, hadn't heard anything about it before. Extremely heavy-heanded satire. Captures the cultural moment for how we respond to catastrophe (global warming, COVID). Apocalyptic satire along the lines of Dr. Strangelove. Funny and well-done.


Thinking about it more i think i really liked it. Good nyt review:

“ In the end, McKay isn’t doing much more in this movie than yelling at us, but then, we do deserve it.”


seen people compare this to "idiocracy", which is insane, because not only is idiocracy a terrible and unfunny movie, it is also literally fascist in its political orientation.


Chunking Express


Really, really good. Beautiful and almost absurdly romantic.


The French Dispatch


What if Wes Anderson directed a film adaption of an issue of the New Yorker? ("This magazine")


The Social Network


I really enjoyed this the first time I watched it, and rewatched it this year and it was much worse than I remembered. I think it is honestly kind of bad, except for the Trent Reznor soundtrack. The characters are flat, and it doesn't really seem to capture the essence of Mark Zuckerberg or what Facebook is all about. The real Mark is far less smart and cool.


Princess Mononoke


Rewatched this film. As exceptional as I remembered it. Want to watch more Miyazaki. San's character design is striking.


The Net


Bizarre 90s hacker movie I watched on my parents' recommendation. I think Hackers, which came out that year, is better


Shiva Baby


This was my favorite film that came out this year. Intense and hilarious. Who knew that twitter comedian Rachel Sennott is also an exceptional actress. Found out that, despite playing a Jewish character on screen, she isn't Jewish.


2020


Kajillionaire


This was my favorite film of 2020. Based on my Google search, it appears that it lost money.



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