Josh Hornbeck

Josh Hornbeck

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I'm a playwright and theatre director living and working in Seattle, WA.

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  • Stille Nacht I

    Stille Nacht I

    ★★★

    FIRST THOUGHTS:
    Really eerie imagery. With such a short timeframe, the narrative bones are enough to sustain our attention, but a minute forty-five isn’t quite enough to do more than whet our appetite. Still, the gathering metal fillings are deeply disturbing, as are all of the spoons that suddenly have a life of their own. There’s a bit of a twisted Victorian puppet show aspect to their work - which I admire - but I still find myself at more of a distance than I do most of the other surrealists and experimental filmmakers.

  • Rehearsals for Extinct Anatomies

    Rehearsals for Extinct Anatomies

    ★★★½

    FIRST THOUGHTS:
    Again, filled with striking images and haunting sequences, though the more I watch the Quay Brothers’ films, the more convinced I am that it’s more about the imagery than the meaning behind the imagery. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but each of these films contain tantalizing glimpses of narrative possibility - this one in particular features two melancholy figures that I want to know more about. But there’s not enough narrative to be satisfying and too much to be truly surreal and avant garde.

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  • Bohemian Rhapsody

    Bohemian Rhapsody

    ½

    This may be the worst Best Picture nominee since I started really following the Oscars in 1990. It’s not just an insipid and formulaic rock biopic, it’s an incompetent, insipid, and formulaic rock biopic - lifeless, inert, and sanitized. The treatment of the long-suffering and supportive ex-wife borders on the misogynistic and the film simultaneously pathologizes Mercury’s sexuality - until he settles down with a nice boy. The emotional beats are unearned, they consistently find the least interesting way to shoot scenes, and the film never gets beyond a surface level exploration of any character.

  • Mr. Thank You

    Mr. Thank You

    ★★★★★

    Initial thoughts:

    Another sweet, tender, and evocative film. A great and funny little microcosm of Japanese society in the '30s. It doesn't flinch from the troubles of life, but it also does a great job of allowing for hope.

    A really great film.