• The Trial of the Chicago 7

    The Trial of the Chicago 7

    ★★★★

    As a movie this is excellent, very successful, very brilliantly assembled particularly in the editing and dialogue. Although The cinematography is fairly pedestrian. The performances are just utterly superb across the board.

    And as a demonstration of a corrupt court system being fantastically racist and unjust, it is tremendously good at that goal.

    But it assumes a facility with the now legendary 68 convention riot and its obscure personalities that I simply don’t possess, even as a political junkie that…

  • Flushed Away

    Flushed Away

    ★★★★½

    Yup still one of aardmans top features and one that seems to be overlooked. Terrific voice acting, wonderfully inventive visuals and a solid and fun bit of save myself-to-save the day plot.

  • Mank

    Mank

    ★★★★

    Just superb to look at and brilliantly edited this is a film so richly steeped in a presumed knowledge of Hollywood history that Chaplin is an aside cameo and Thalberg isn’t even named in his own funeral.

    The film is at its best in its grotesque and propulsive structure, teasing out the why Mank bites the hand that feeds him like tracking down the meaning of Rosebud. And then the film abruptly loses momentum once that is revealed descending into…

  • Soul

    Soul

    ★★★★★

    Just a stunning gem of a film with inventive wonderful animation and a unique style both in the real world and the great before. It’s consistently brilliantly funny and at times scathingly profound. It both romanticizes passion “your spark” and undercuts it. The cinematography and lighting is superb, and the editing is crisp and flawless and the performances are absolutely stellar. 

    The beautiful emotional places the film reaches with 22 in the end are truly special.

    If there’s one serious…

  • The Stolen Heart

    The Stolen Heart

    ★★★★

    Nice little allegory fable about a trickster stealing a towns music, before the instruments come to life and bring it back. Terrific use of music and sound to Reinegers style that makes the most of her evocative animation.

  • The Two-Alarm Fire

    The Two-Alarm Fire

    ★★★★

    Really good Popeye cartoon that has he and Bluto in a relatively friendly fire fighting rivalry. The comedy is generally on point (the ridiculous repetition of Olive screaming from every window in succession, or Popeye and Bluto hauling their fire trucks by hand) and the violence isn’t that severe and it also lacks the usual sexism (other than the damsel in distress). Relative to most Popeyes this is downright palatable!

  • Minding the Gap

    Minding the Gap

    ★★★★★

    Stunning documentary on skating and friendship and poverty and abuse and growing up. Incredibly impressive often brilliantly lensed, and edited brilliantly weaving together three young men’s lives as they twist and diverge around each other.

  • Harlequin

    Harlequin

    ★★★½

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

    A nice three reel silhouette puppet animation from Reineger. Wonderful figure detail and pantomime acting, but the fairy tale love triangle plot is a little slow and frequently moderately confusing. But the ending when the loverboy is executed, and his angry love takes up his chains and the bashes satan over the head with them when satan tries to claim her lovers body, that was awesome.

  • Gremlins 2: The New Batch

    Gremlins 2: The New Batch

    ★★★

    Delightfully grotesque and frequently bizarre, the sequel steers hard into the comedy of it all, constantly escalating the threat with literal genetic mutations by way of a mad scientist. It even breaks fourth wall Burning a hole through the film.  It’s still got a lot of cruelty and meanness to it but it’s softened by everything being demented. 

    It also almost has a delicious satire on trump like Reagan era corporate monsters, but it totally pulls the punches there and…

  • The Adventures of Dr. Dolittle: The Lion's Den

    The Adventures of Dr. Dolittle: The Lion's Den

    ★★★★

    The articulation and natural movements of such a huge variety of animals are truly incredible. animation, even with rotoscoping, wouldn’t match the realism Reineger captures with puppet cutouts for decades.

  • Doctor Dolittle and His Animals

    Doctor Dolittle and His Animals

    ★★½

    Doctor Dolittle treats some patients, rescues a boy and takes a boat to africa. Some nice animation and variety.

  • Hair-Raising Hare

    Hair-Raising Hare

    ★★★★★

    Bugs bunny. Big orange monster. Nail salon. People?!?!?!