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  • 1917

    1917

    ★★★★★

    Sam Mendes’ ode to his grandfather’s service in WWI ran the risk of feeling like a gimmick. The film is presented as though it is one very long shot. While clearly it isn’t, the effect here is deeply and starkly immersive. The film’s story (in broad strokes, the simple tale of two soldiers tasked with delivering a message across enemy lines) is rendered propulsive by the immediacy. I’m certainly guilty of being the sort of film geek who sits up in…

  • Jojo Rabbit

    Jojo Rabbit

    ★★★★½

    It seems like a staggering amount of the discussion surrounding this movie is less about what actually occurs in the film itself and more about what each critic thinks the tone of a Hitler Youth comedy should be. Some decry it as too light or funny for such “heavy“ subject matter. Others complain that it’s not a searing enough indictment of fascist ideology. If you want to talk about how it should be done, make a movie yourself. I’d rather talk about…

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  • Fantasy Island

    Fantasy Island

    ★½

    One could imagine how this movie might have been enjoyable as the premise is appealing. In reality, however, this is mostly a dud. Blumhouse's model of, in effect, giving director's significant freedom at limited costs sometimes fails to click. Here the notion of an island that magically allows folks to play out their fantasies only taken to bleak extremes is likable enough to drag the viewer through some chintzy feeling filmmaking and very broad acting.

    See my full length reviews at Loud & Clear: Bernard's Author Page

    2020: First to Worst

  • The Rhythm Section

    The Rhythm Section

    ★★★

    I evidently liked this film more than basically anyone else - I thought Lively was reasonably effective and I particularly enjoyed the movie's training sequences. It feels overlong and meanders a bit, but I felt it a surprisingly engaging revenge/spy thriller.

    See my full length reviews at Loud & Clear: Bernard's Author Page

    2020: First to Worst

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  • Corpus Christi

    Corpus Christi

    ★★★★

    Corpus Christi’s director is 38 and its writer is 27. I don’t think the average American viewer, even one seeking out foreign films, has sufficient knowledge of recent Polish history to understand the sort of experience these two have had. Collectively, they have experienced the fall of the USSR and the related economic and cultural shocks. They’ve seen their currency eviscerated by efforts to quickly westernize in the early 90s. I distinctly remember going to Poland with my father when…

  • A Rainy Day in New York

    A Rainy Day in New York

    ★★★

    It has become impossible to evaluate a Woody Allen movie in a vacuum as he so obviously continues to troll his critics. Here we see Timothée Chalamet do his best Allen avatar shtick (it’s not great) in a universe that sees his 21, but younger looking, girlfriend played by Elle Fanning (very broad and not effectively so) hit on by a star actor, a star writer, and a star director. The director is “subtly” named “Roland Pollard” which is, of…