Gh0stman has written 249 reviews for films during 2020.

  • Beginning of the Great Revival

    Beginning of the Great Revival

    ★★★★

    An informative propaganda film that is largely sound in its logic and reasoning if also struck for time due to the massive amount of history and politics it covers. It's somewhat rushed in its pacing and I sometimes lacked context for certain things but I was captivated nonetheless. There's an oddly timeliness in its strange parallels to the contemporary American political situation at the moment which is striking. The parade of movie stars was also very enjoyable, making this a…

  • Superman III

    Superman III

    ★★★★★

    One of the most underrated of superhero movies. Doubling as a parody of free market libertarianism and a sort of inner self-reflection on the duality of its hero, Superman III, for some reason, strikes a nerve towards fans of the character. Perhaps it's the over-the-top tone, even though the franchise is inherently unrealistic despite Zack Synder's insistence that Superman is the most gravely serious character to ever brood in all of fiction. Maybe it's Richard Pryor despite that he gives…

  • Darkman

    Darkman

    ★★★★

    A joyous, exuberant film that's positively ecstatic to be a superhero movie. While it's not as strong as his Spider-Man films, Sam Raimi's Darkman is a great prelude to the style and attitude he would bring to the franchise. Even some of the themes are similar, with a focus on personal relationships, romance, professional and ethical responsibility, revenge, and evil corporate villains ruining the big city. There's also some referencing of Phantom of the Opera and Batman thrown in for good measure. It's a lot of fun.

  • Pain & Gain

    Pain & Gain

    ★★★★★

    One of the great 'Florida' films and certainly a great 'crime doesn't pay' movie. While not without its own unresolved thematic contradictions (which may also be dialectical in nature), this is an intelligent and probing film that puts a filmic microscope on the American male id and its relation to consumerism/capitalism. Bay's film takes the standard power fantasies he's often been accused of pedaling (sometimes fairly, sometimes unfairly) and regurgitates it back at the audience. It's certainly an ugly, repulsive…

  • Mortal Kombat

    Mortal Kombat

    ★★★

    Mortal Kombat is over the top, corny, and dumb but it's also pretty fun. I guess I'm one of those PWSA apologists. This isn't one of his better films but I have to admit I enjoy it. It's quite visually creative and it's got a nice buoyant tone to it. There's a playful aesthetic imagination and innocuousness to a lot of PWSA's movies and that'll go a long way with me. The nostalgia factor is also quite nice. I guess I miss the nineties.

  • Black Coal, Thin Ice

    Black Coal, Thin Ice

    ★★★★★

    As chilling and foreboding as its title suggest, Black Coal, Thin Ice is a phenomenal thriller filled with mystery and genuine existential dread. It's plot is as airtight as a classic film noir and it's got the themes and characters to match it. The protagonist, played by Liao Fan in an exceptional performance that won him the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival in 2014, is as hard boiled, chewed up, and burnt out as they come. He has…

  • Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within

    Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within

    ★★★★

    Kind of underrated. It's got flaws. The graphics are indeed now lo-fi and the story is undeveloped but the themes are compelling and the images have a visionary quality to them regardless of their resolution or unadornment. I kinda think it would've been cool if this ushered in a new wave of Hollywood animation that was more adult-oriented, naturalistic, and adventurous in its style. Instead we get aggressively conservative Pixar movies and mindless Dreamworks animation sequels. I kinda think we messed up guys.

  • Born on the Fourth of July

    Born on the Fourth of July

    ★★★★★

    Born on the Fourth of July is Oliver Stone at the peak of powers with Tom Cruise in a once in lifetime role. To watch the film is to know that film is authentic in every way in its details. From The Fourth of July parade, to the embryonically nationalist schoolyard myth-making of war, to the socially engineered high school innocence, to the ever American fear of failure, to the youthful arrogance of wanting a deep experience no matter what,…

  • 52 Pick-Up

    52 Pick-Up

    ★★★

    52 Pick-Up is a well constructed thriller that's expertly directed by John Frankenheimer with a big problem. The heroes of the film, albeit played by Roy Schneider and Ann Margaret, are essentially cardboard cutouts of the stereotypical hero and the helpless damsel in distress. I'd be more sympathetic but the two are also phony elites who, implausibly, are more skilled at crime and combat than the career criminals that they fight. Despite its nigh-fatal flaw, the film is captivating because…

  • Office

    Office

    ★★★★★

    One of the best modern musicals. That may not be a high bar to clear considering the decrepit state of the genre, and I don't even really care for the music here, but what makes Office a great film is its heartfelt performances, its human story, and its ingenious ways of getting at complex abstractions in the most direct and clear ways. It's a genuinely high minded film, able to be openly and directly political about globalism, neoliberalism, and capitalism…

  • Kindergarten Cop

    Kindergarten Cop

    ★★★★

    Kindergarten Cop is an oddity because it sounds terrible on paper, a children's comedy/cop thriller, but works surprisingly well. Much of this has to do with Ivan Reitman's skillful tonal shifts, the inherent charisma and dutiful heroism of Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the film's bizarre but very serious thematic commitment to making the film about the implacable cycles of child abuse and how they must be stopped at all costs. The villains, a mother and son criminal duo, are disturbingly emblematic…

  • A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

    A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

    ★★★★★

    Sincere and earnest, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is the rare prestige drama that is bona fide and true in its humanistic aspirations. While it's predictable that a film about Mr. Rogers would have these kind of ambitions, what's so startling is that it actually carries them out. The film gradually brings down one's guard and it slowly but surely releases the tear ducts. It's easy to foretell the greatness of Hanks' performance, how easily he would, and does,…