RSS feed for J. J.
  • Little Women

    Little Women


    Like it better than the Hepburn one for inexplicable reasons... nearest I can come to it is that it feels less of a piece with the era's typical lit adaptations, somehow both old fashioned and more modern? I don't know. But I connected here more than I did with that older one regardless.

  • The Night Porter

    The Night Porter


    Really complicates and problematizes the John Wick mythos in unexpected ways.

  • John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

    John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum


    Liked it marginally better than Chapter 2, but any threads that were starting to wear before are getting increasingly bare here in terms of the mythology surrounding this world and the narrative leading John Wick through it. Beyond the obfuscation of the world's semi-arbitrary rules and codes, there is the feeling that a lot of this is being tossed together on the fly. For this film, the plot may just be, as it sometimes feels, no more than an excuse…

  • Pokémon Detective Pikachu

    Pokémon Detective Pikachu


    So... it's fine? I'm not a person who grew up with Pokémon, so I've got no particular fondness for the franchise's characters apart from their appearances in other games like Smash Bros. or in Pokémon Go. That said, I enjoyed how most of them appeared here, because well... how could you not? They're cute and lovingly rendered (give or take a Lickitung or Mr. Mime) and it's cool to see them walking around and doing things in this weird London-by-way-of-Tokyo-and-Blade…

  • The Hole in the Ground

    The Hole in the Ground


    Uneven, too obvious too often when it should trust in the strength of its (genuinely quite good) imagery and sense of doom. It starts effectively enough, trends up and down for a while, and ultimately runs itself aground towards the end, but Kerslake is very strong and I can only imagine her and Cronin both getting some Hollywood attention from this as a calling card.

  • Destroyer



    Badly misjudged neo-noir that tries to have its pulp and eat it too but loses itself in a needlessly convoluted chronology that further breaks down what's already written to be an episodic story. Kidman's fine when the makeup/etc. doesn't get in the way, and she's more than capable of hitting the right notes for what would typically be a male role. It's just that there's not an emotion in the piece, however hard the script tries to force them in.

  • The Hustle

    The Hustle


    Yeeeeah. Not good. I've got no special reverence for Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, so don't think that's coloring my feelings on this remake. Suffice to say it's a very obvious, often painfully unfunny film that, for me, is let down severely by both a mediocre, lazy script that botches the whole point of its gender-reversal, and by ineffectual direction that can neither reign in its stars' worse impulses nor effectively set-up and deploy most of the film's gags. This is extra-surprising…

  • Long Shot

    Long Shot


    This is sitting somewhere between a 2.5 and a 3 for me, and while I walked out feeling more like a three, I'm now heading back down.

    The issue is, the movie works from moment to moment, sometimes quite well. I think the romance, on the surface the least believable aspect, actually works waaaay better than the political stuff (which is a MESS). Theron and Rogen's coupling is largely well-handled, and while a LOT in the movie skirts believability (let's…

  • The Last Waltz

    The Last Waltz


    One of my favorite things about watching older movies (documentaries especially) is seeing how differently people aged and thought of age back then. Van Morrison appears in this concert, filmed in 1976, meaning he could be no more than 31 years old. Carly Rae Jepsen is 33 now. Van Morrison looks like a middle-aged elder statesman type, with blues/soul cred and no questions asked... almost a living legend already. Jepsen, now, is treated like an avatar of a certain kind…

  • The Kid Who Would Be King

    The Kid Who Would Be King


    Probably would have been my favorite book from the book fair when I was like 10 years old, if it were a novel, but as a film at 37 it's only just about fine. Cute and well done, but I'm definitely no longer the target audience here and it's playing at a level that isn't meant for adults despite a slightly-too-long 2hr running time. I get why it struggled to find an audience, as it's ALSO not really pitched on…

  • Game Night

    Game Night


    Second viewing, up a half-star. Why? Because this movie fucking WORKS. Still hilarious, still well-directed and with a sense of style, still performed PHENOMENALLY well by all involved. This is the best studio comedy in memory IMO and frankly I should have had that newly-added half-star there from the start.

  • The Happy Prince

    The Happy Prince


    Not without its moments, and I admire Everett's intentions and dedication to bringing this to the screen. Hearing interviews with him made me really want to like this film, but alas. It's a dark, draggy slog, taken down a peg by Everett's nominally good performance, lost as it is under makeup and a certain monotony of delivery. Just a hard film to get on with, I'm afraid.