agamboi has written 34 reviews for films rated ★★★★½ during 2019.

  • Little Women

    Little Women

    ★★★★½

    Gerwig's adaptation brings out the best in Little Women. She avoids route recitation in favor of thoughtful and near-spiritual engagement with the novel. Her narrative structure splits the story into two lines of equal weight. The teenage sisters (filmed in brighter, amber yellow light), alternate back and forth, scene by scene with their young adult selves (filmed in colder, cobalt blue tones). The change is subtle — I was the only one in my family who noticed the color palette…

  • Meshes of the Afternoon

    Meshes of the Afternoon

    ★★★★½

    imagine watching this with your mom

  • Marriage Story

    Marriage Story

    ★★★★½

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    Infuriating and beautiful. I seethed with hatred at every single thing that happened in this movie. But that was Baumbach's goal. Divorce is one of the worst things that can ever happen to anyone involved in it. Divorce is the pain of a car accident, but not an accident, stretched over months, from someone you loved, ruining your life in order to get their fair share of their own. Divorce is inherently selfish (which is sometimes good, like escaping physically…

  • The Lighthouse

    The Lighthouse

    ★★★★½

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    Sprinting down the mountain, a madman runs into a small village and barely catches his breath. “God is dead!” he declares. The townspeople look confused, muttering about him to one another. “God is dead,” he says again, “and we have killed him!” This scene from Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra is not saying that God used to be alive and now he has passed away — for Nietzsche, an atheist, God was never alive. Instead, he means that our modern society has rendered…

  • Saint Frances

    Saint Frances

    ★★★★½

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    Milwaukee Film Festival 2019

    Earlier this year, the studio that brought you God's Not Dead and God's Not Dead II and God's Not Dead III released the anti-abortion movie Unplanned. Worthless as it was on every technical level, the worst problem with Unplanned was not its audio mixing (garbage), its cinematography (also garbage) or its acting (...) etc. The worst problem was the unfair and shallow portrayal of everything its directors didn't like. If you weren't convinced of the pro-life…

  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

    Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

    ★★★★½

    Nicolas Cage as Spider-man Noir may be the single greatest casting decision of all time.

  • Climax

    Climax

    ★★★★½

    what the fuck

  • Monos

    Monos

    ★★★★½

    Lost some magic on second view. Still magical.

    Monos presents itself as taking place nowhere in particular, notime in particular, a contextless fable set to describe universal themes. You never hear the name of the country, or the name of the broader paramilitary group of which Monos is a cell. But this doesn't really work. There isn't a universal theme and the context turns out to be crucially important. Landes said in this interview that Monos comments on the Colombian civil…

  • Midsommar

    Midsommar

    ★★★★½

    I left the theater shaking and sat in my car in silent shock for twenty minutes. This is what horror should have been all along.

  • Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father

    Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father

    ★★★★½

    Heartbreaking and, as a film, such a terrific work of Art.

  • Cold Case Hammarskjöld

    Cold Case Hammarskjöld

    ★★★★½

    Chicago Critics Film Festival 2019

    If the claims in this documentary are true, they have major political ramifications. So major that maybe the director should have worked harder to verify those claims. But as I am not in a position to evaluate the truth of Cold Case Hammarskjöld, I will say instead that it is a very effective and very fun documentary. The narrative style as well as the various suspenses and payoffs — they work! I was laser focused on this film all while shocked and incredulous at its bombastic claims. This is such a spectacle that you simply must watch it.

  • Pink Wall

    Pink Wall

    ★★★★½

    Chicago Critics Film Festival 2019

    You have never seem impressionism like this in film. Tom Cullen's directorial debut follows the slowly disintegrating relationship of Leon (Jay Duplass) and Jenna (Tatiana Maslany). Cullen gives the actors near-total freedom in improvisational acting and it overwhelmingly works. Only a few lines in the film fail. This creates a central realism to Pink Wall that is itself striking.

    But more striking, and what makes the film so impressionistic, is the wildly experimental cinematography which…