pablocatepetl has written 250 reviews for films during 2020.

  • And the Ship Sails On

    And the Ship Sails On

    ★★★★

    A film from late in Fellini’s career, yet it is still full of rich creativity and inventiveness. Fellini creates these beautifully detailed tapestries with beautiful costumes and sets and unique looking actors to inhabit them. He is an artist for whom the story is a needless distraction. All he wants you to focus on is the splendor of his visuals: the milkiness of the ship, and the purple-hued beauty of the sky, as seen through a lens of shameless artificiality.…

  • Downfall

    Downfall

    ★★★★½

    Downfall is an excellent dramatization of the fall of the Third Reich. Bruno Ganz’s intelligent, realistic portrayal of Hitler is one of the most startling transformations of an actor into a historical figure, up there with Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln and Sir Ben Kingsley as Gandhi. Ganz beautifully plays a cruel selfish tyrant, blinded by hubris, as his empire crumbles and his citizens needlessly suffer. Included as an emotional, sympathetic anchor to the Nazi-infested world of the film is Alexandra…

  • Soul

    Soul

    ★★★★

    Very cute, whimsical, and full of imagination, as Pixar can always be relied upon being. There's something very mature about this one. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ score was a particular highlight. I watched this one with my mom, and she forced me to put it on the Spanish dub, so I wasn't able to appreciate the vocal talents of Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey. I’m sure they did a fine job, though.

  • Wonder Woman 1984

    Wonder Woman 1984

    ★★★

    I enjoyed this. I got a lot of Sam Raimi Spider-Man vibes from it. Parts of it also reminded me of the wholesomeness of Richard Donner’s Superman. The film is not afraid to lean into the sillier aspects of the comic book lore while still having the confidence to approach it with a certain amount of earnestness. Patty Jenkin’s version of the 80s aesthetic has a splashiness to it. It has a nice, sarcastic edge to it. It deviates somewhat…

  • Amarcord

    Amarcord

    ★★★★½

    I’m impressed at how Fellini was able to sustain my attention across the 2-hour runtime of this film, seeing as how it’s all a series of disparate vignettes. Much like a Robert Altman film, Amarcord is an ensemble piece in which a large cast of actors has assembled to live out the director’s nostalgia on film. With no central character to latch onto, I sort of emotionally zone out from these sorts of movies, but Fellini’s visual craftwork is so splendid…

  • Who Killed Captain Alex?

    Who Killed Captain Alex?

    ★★★★

    Where to begin with this film? The great thing about the film, Who Killed Captain Alex is that it’s just so full of energy and fun. Is it a silly movie? It is. This groundbreaking Ugandan action film is infamous in internet lore for its pervasive use of outdated chroma key effects, cheap-looking photography, and over-the-top martial arts performances. Still, the sheer passion for storytelling and entertainment that oozes from every frame will awaken the spirit of creativity in any…

  • Bad Day at Black Rock

    Bad Day at Black Rock

    ★★★★

    Engaging little thriller. A unique cross between a noir and a western. Stars Spencer Tracy as a man who steps off a train into a podunk, one horse town on the outskirts of the American West. Immediately he’s met with hostility by a townsfolk that have something very dark they’re trying to hide. Story deals with themes of prejudice and xenophobia.

    The film is quiet, simple, theatrical, but still emotionally involving. It’s moderately paced and slowly executed, but surprisingly it…

  • Mortal Kombat

    Mortal Kombat

    ★★★½

    I like this movie because it very shamelessly has the barest minimum of plot and the absolute cardboard stockiest of characters. And it doesn’t matter! Screenwriting gurus will often say that story is king, but that isn’t true. Spectacle is king, and Mortal Kombat has a lot to offer. The movie jumps right into the action and is so much fun to watch. The quality of the special effects varies from being very cool (Goro and his practical puppet effects…

  • I Vitelloni

    I Vitelloni

    ★★★★★

    Watched this with my dad, and halfway through the movie he pointed out how relatable it was to him living as a young man in a remote village. It’s a movie about a group of men walking around their small town with nothing to do but drink, gamble, slack and cheat on their wives. It’s a movie about unmotivated losers with no direction in life, slowly being forced to become mature and responsible adults. I was taken aback by how…

  • Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith

    Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith

    ★★★

    The dialogue and action are particularly not good in this one. So much noise and explosions, it feels like a Michael Bay movie. But the fan service is pretty fun and it’s very satisfying to see the rise of Darth Vader, as awkwardly conceived as it may be.

  • Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones

    Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones

    ★★★½

    I am now firmly in the camp that even a bad Star Wars film is pretty good and enjoyable. I even enjoyed The Rise of Skywalker, which was almost  universally panned, at least by the online community. Does Attack of the Clones have a weird, consulted plot? Yes. Is the romantic subplot tacky and unconvincing? Yes. Are the characters basically just flat, two-dimensional characters. Yes! But the reason all these movies works, the glue that keeps them together, is the…

  • Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace

    Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace

    ★★★★

    I actually really enjoyed this on the rewatch. The prequels are a different experience from the OT. They’re ambitious. Star Wars fans were way too hard on George Lucas for not remaking the series the same way Disney did years later on. In the Phantom Menace, we see the genius, art house loving, USC trained mind of Lucas attempt to combine two things: the kitschy, pulpy Flash Gordon world of his original Star Wars creation with the epic scope of…