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Waves (I) (2019)
More than your average family drama. Cinematic, experimental, and most of all, deeply moving
1 December 2019
I'm in love with this film. I was highly anticipating it after the fantastic trailer, but even I was surprised by the film it turned out to be. Emotionally moving and devastating it surely was, but the technical filmmaking on display here continues to prove that Trey Edward Shults is a director to watch for. I'm also in love with his two prior outings (Krisha and It Comes at Night), but for me this may be his best yet. This could have been made in a more typical straightforward way and still been powerful because of the strong writing and acting at the core, and yet Shults wanted to do more than that. That may mean that he may frustrate viewers and may prove to make his film more divisive, but as far as I'm concerned, the experimental-like cinematography, score (as well as the existing musical pieces) and editing really make this become a near-masterful film. It all culminates to create the most emotionally taxing and moving film I've seen this year.

As for the acting, wow at Kelvin Harrison Jr. I liked him in It Comes at Night, but it was a role that was almost faded into the background of all of the drama occurring around him. With Luce and now this film, he's proven to be an incredible actor worthy of a long career ahead of him. Sterling K. Brown is, unsurprisingly, fantastic. Taylor Russell gives an incredibly sensitive, restrained and completely captivating turn as well. All three stand out among the finest performances of the year. What a shame that award bodies are going to ignore this film.
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Knives Out (2019)
Absolutely thrilling
30 November 2019
This film is such a great deconstruction of the whodunnit genre, in so many fantastic ways, left be a great ensemble cast.
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The Irishman (2019)
Long, but oddly intrigung throughout
28 November 2019
No one was in a rush to watch another mobster film, so the fact that Scorsese makes this work as much as he does it a testament to his skills. It's fantastic, with the three men at the core giving it their all.
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Honey Boy (2019)
Incredible acting
22 November 2019
When I first watched the trailer and learned Shia was involved, I thought it would be some vanity project. However, I was pretty taken aback by how personal it ended up being. Deeply personal, in fact. One of the most personal films I've seen in recent years. I loved it. I thought it was simple enough without trying to bombard too many things into one film, but managed to really hit home the dynamics of the central relationship. The screenplay is strong, but so is the directing. Alma Har'el has a unique visual flair and there are many scenes here that are beautifully directed and likely to stay in my mind for some time. That Spirit Award nomination was well deserved!

The acting was incredible. Shia should be up for awards contention. You can tell he had a very specific portrayal of his father in mind and he delivers it fiercely and boldly. But I was perhaps most taken aback by Noah Jupe. A star in the making. He's phenomenal. I hate that he's going to be campaigned as "supporting" all season long, but I really want him to get attention for his work here. Lucas Hedges is also really good, but weirdly enough he's the most "supporting" of the three. The film spends more time in his past than in the present.
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Luce (2019)
Fantastic acting
18 November 2019
The best reason to see this is the acting, which is tense and taut and always leaves you in the dark when necessary.
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Heartbreaking and fantastic
8 November 2019
This is a great and necessary addition to the horror genre, and is very much worth a viewing for those who think horror genre can't blend with realism and fantasy to create a metaphor of beauty.
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The Lighthouse (I) (2019)
Absolutely bonkers.
28 October 2019
This was guaranteed to be one of those films I absolutely love. The premise is just enough. One location, two great actors descending into madness... This kind of story has been done so, so many times and it will never get uninteresting for me. I. LOVED IT. On an entertainment level, it's just completely bonkers. It starts out crazy and it just gets crazier. The technical aspects are of course great (score, cinematography, the gorgeous production design), but I continue to be amazed by the kind of atmosphere Eggers can conjure up. He did it with The Witch, something his film-brother Ari Aster has also continued to do with his two horror films. This is the definition of THE perfect midnight movie. Despite this thing being done before, Eggers still finds a way to shock and surprise us. It's definitely less subtle than The Witch and more of a pure roller-coaster. Whether that's a better or worse thing will remain to be seen, but in terms of judging first viewings, this one is easier to love on first watch than The Witch. What was surprising was the effect it had after it was over. The Witch was more terrifying while watching, but this one lingered over me as I got back home and really creeped up on me. The entire film feels like a nightmare. Fantastic.
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Fantastic conclusion to this saga
11 October 2019
Was this film necessary? Not really, no. Does it continue the annoying trend of every single show of the past being brought back, even when most of the times it's not needed? Yes. Is it a good film? Perhaps. Is it a good chapter in the Breaking Bad saga? Definitely.

If Felina had been the penultimate episode of the series and this had aired a week after, like the official series finale, then it would have fit right along with the series. All of the show's trademark aspects of it are here (the pacing, the cinematography, the score). Technically, it's a really well-accomplished piece of story. The problem is that, years later for it to air as a single film, it does feel more unnecessary than it would have had it aired when the show was still going on. It's basically an epilogue to Jesse's story and it clears any ambiguity there was about his future going forward after the series finale. Although I did enjoy it, I can absolutely understand anyone thinking it wasn't needed and doesn't add anything new. For me, I'm glad it exists and I'm glad I know what happened. I think most of it works, although there are sections that do feel dragged on without purpose. A lot of the flashbacks can also be seen as basic fan service to have all of these past characters/actors pop up, but they're really well-written (as to be expected).

Overall, not necessarily an essential film that was ever needed (unlike the Deadwood movie from earlier this year), but as an epilogue to the Breaking Bad saga, it works well. It's nice to see Aaron Paul doing his usual great work.
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Joker (2019)
Well filmed but empty
11 October 2019
What can I say about it that hasn't already been said? It's not a terrible film, but it's not a great (or even a really good one) either. The technical aspects are great. The score and cinematography are really good. Many individual scenes are also good. But as a whole, it just feels unnecessary. Not just that, but tone deaf as well. What it's trying to say about mental illness is problematic. Why? Because it's not really sure what it's trying to say or if it's even trying to say anything about it at all. Instead, it was added in there because, well, it's easy right? Joaquin Phoenix really does excel in many scenes of the film, but I'm not sure I would want him winning an Oscar for this. Overall, it's also just not that interesting. It's kind of... boring at times. And for a Joker film to be boring? That's a crucial offense. And I guess everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I seriously wonder if those people calling this a "masterpiece" have even seen Taxi Driver or The King of Comedy.
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In Fabric (2018)
Very unique
25 September 2019
There's no doubt this film fits the style it is going for very well. The directing and aesthetic is really well done.
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Ad Astra (2019)
Fantastic and heartbreaking
21 September 2019
This film, like most of James Gray's filmography, is pretty understated and will likely not make a dent with mainstream audiences for that reason. However, it is highly recommended.
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Fun but very messy
7 September 2019
This isn't as coherent and as narratively satisfying as the first was, although it's still a lot of fun to a degree.
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Parasite (2019)
Absolutely riveting
2 September 2019
Wow. What a film. The experience of watching it is surely one to behold and one to remember. What is especially striking about the whole thing is just how well-constructed it is. A film like this, trying to do this much both narratively and thematically, could have easily fallen apart in the hands of most directors. Bong Joon-Ho is incredibly skilled in how he handles this script and his fantastic directing. Really amazing piece of work that I hope gets a ton of accolades.
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Ready or Not (I) (2019)
A lot of fun
28 August 2019
This was a lot of fun. Don't expect greatness, but definitely go in expecting a good time.
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Predictable, but a lot of fun and gets the job done
24 August 2019
I don't think this is a great horror film the way others from earlier this year (Us, Midsommar) are. It's pretty formulaic and predictable in its narrative and story, but while I wish we could have an actual anthology horror film that directly adapts the scary stories from the book (ideally in black and white!), this is still a pretty good, very fun and entertaining horror-lite film that gets the job done. It could have been a lot worse. It takes the success from similar children-led stories (Stranger Things, It) and tries to recreate its own story, with mostly success. The characters are easy to like and root for, but while I wish there was more meat to their story and development, the horror pieces of the film really do work. I think it has quite a bit of really suspenseful and scary scenes (a lot of the jump scares done well) and in a way it's great that the film was able to get away with so much while being PG-13. I don't think this is an incredibly original or masterful piece of horror (that high praise goes to Midsommar), but it's done well and it's comfort horror in the way those other horror stories (Stranger Things, It) are. I do recommend it.
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Audacious and ambitious
1 August 2019
This is yet another Quentin Tarantino film, for better or worse. It has some standout scenes but also a lot of flaws.
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Missing Link (2019)
Another great entry for Laika
29 July 2019
This isn't the near-masterful animated film Kubo and the Two Strings and Coraline were, or even Paranorman, but it's still a really well written tale with memorable characters and amazing animation.
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The Farewell (I) (2019)
Realy fantastic
28 July 2019
This is a film that various types of audiences can sit down, enjoy, and relate to. The film is sensitively directed and very well acted.
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Very disappointing
11 July 2019
This doesn't match the greatness of the first film, the greatness of the original Sam Raimi films, or even the greatness of Spiderverse.
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Midsommar (I) (2019)
An unnerving nightmare
3 July 2019
This was a doozy. One thing that you can tell right off the bat is that it feels like an Ari Aster film through and through. To be able to make your distinct voice/vision be apparent with just two films is really impressive, but he achieves it. He's a great director. He knows how to frame scenes, what to shoot, what to capture on camera, what kind of feeling to give. He's an incredibly visceral filmmaker and his strengths are captured here. I don't think this is as complete a picture as Hereditary (that was a near-masterful horror film) as I do think the biggest thing weighing this down is its runtime and sometimes a less clear focus. However, even with that said it's an incredibly impressive film. It's perhaps even less conventionally horror than Hereditary (and if audiences hated that, they will absolutely hate this. My audience hated it) but the entire journey and ride is one very much worth taking. By the end, it also feels very much like Hereditary in both content and style, with an ending that does leave you with the same feeling as Hereditary. Florence Pugh is really great here too. She commands the screen, and it's interesting to see her play this kind of role after Lady Macbeth where she has to give off a very different screen presence.
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Absolutely fantastic adaptation of the beloved novels
1 July 2019
As a kid, I was in love with the novels. The film came along and I enjoyed it, but it wasn't exactly all that faithful to the books. By being given more time and three seasons to tell its story, this show not only serves as a pretty near-perfect adaptation of the books, but it is a fantastic, delightful show in all its own right. Its tone fits in with other shows of its type from the past (Pushing Daisies comes to mind) and the writing is just as witty and well-structured. Even for an adult this proved to be a great addition to the Netflix catalog.
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Toy Story 4 (2019)
Absolutely fantastic.
25 June 2019
Warning: Spoilers
This was a fantastic, fantastic film. Although there are some more noticeable flaws than in past TS films (the handling of Buzz being the biggest flaw, as I thought it was a downgrade to his character), I think the highs of the film are up there with the highest highs of the entire franchise. The same trademark humor, dialogue, and emotion is in this film as we've come to know from the past, with perhaps even funnier scenes than in past films. The adventure at its core is handled brilliantly, and the new characters are incredibly well-developed and have some of the best arcs of the franchise (Gabby as an example). With that, however, comes a much smaller role with the characters from the past we've come to know and love, although this seems fitting in a way considering the way the film ends. This is Woody's story through and through, even more than in past TS films. Although many thought this would be un unnecessary films considering the perfect conclusion of the third film, this story that serves as an epilogue actually does feel necessary now that all is said and done. At least for Woody's character, it closes his arc beautifully, in a way that opens another chapter in his life. In many ways this really would be the final ending, but it could also serve as a new beginning for its main character and I could see them continuing the franchise (although I really, really hope they would stop).

As another note, Bo Peep is such a great character but she also seems completely different from how we knew her in the first films (and I don't just mean after all of the years have passed, but even in the scenes that take place in the past).
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Extremely disappointing
20 June 2019
I think this film's biggest sin is that it pretends to be a statement on the male gaze and how problematic it is while still using the male gaze to its fullest capacity, in every cliché imaginable. It's quite transgressive and an example of just how male-dominated this business still is. I can't imagine at all a woman directing this film this way. In terms of technical aspects, it's not all that bad. The editing is a bit messy, and the music choices also messy and uninspired. Its premise could have made for an interesting film, but when it isn't being offensively sexist (including when it's also being pretentious about it, a word I very rarely use) it's quite dull. There are some interesting scenes scattered throughout, but by the first hour it had already annoyed me so much that I couldn't quite get into it, even if certain scenes might work out of context. Andrew Garfield's character is also quite unlikeable, which makes the entire experience even more tiresome. He does what he can with the role (not his fault), but he's at a disadvantage.

I knew the reviews were mixed but was really hoping to find a lot of worth in here, at least technically. But there really isn't a lot here. It's not even original, which was something I kept hearing even from the criticisms. It seems like all of the horror-debut directors of the last few years are having sophomore films that don't disappoint (Jordan Peele with Us, Ari Aster with Midsommar, and seemingly Robert Eggers with The Lighthouse). As It Follows is probably a horror film I love even more than those directors' first films, this is a huge disappointment.
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One of the greatest TV sitcoms of all time
19 June 2019
I personally believe this is one of the best TV comedies ever, for the pure reason that it's pretty consistently hilarious, wacky, and oh so entertaining. It's almost to the level of 30 Rock, and that's high praise.
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Poetic and lyrical, told with so much affection
19 June 2019
This was a fantastic film. So tenderly made, dripping with so much love and warmth, told so poetically and elegantly. On a technical level it's pretty great, but the story and characters at its core also really hooks you as the film goes along. To me the stand-out in the cast was the co-lead Jonathan Majors. What an incredible performance. I really hope the film is able to take off with award groups, but most of all for Majors' performance to be recognized (although I do wonder if award bodies will instead place him as supporting and whether people here will agree or disagree with that placement).
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