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popojohno has written 56 reviews for films rated ★★★½ .

  • The Two Popes

    The Two Popes

    ★★★½

    I am SHOCKED that I liked this as much as I did (which is: kinda).

    I don't give a fucking tinker's curse about the Catholic Church it can crumble into the sea for all I care. but this movie frames and shoots conversations between boring old men (one objectively terrible, one doing the barest minimum) like Bourne action scenes and that's pretty nifty. Hopkins and Pryce are somewhere between good and very good, but I think not Oscar nom worthy.

  • 1917

    1917

    ★★★½

    I thought all the "it's a video game" takes were just being snarky...but man it's SO MUCH like a video game. 

    All the technical parts are pretty stellar and do, I think, work very effectively in service of a "war is hell" message. Those tightly choreographed long takes, especially when coupled to the earth-shakingly loud soundtrack, were great!

    But I really did feel about as attached to this guy--whose name I've already forgotten--as I do to whomever is holding the…

  • Something Wild

    Something Wild

    ★★★½

    The first 40 minutes of this is SO GOOD and then all the Ray Liotta business is SO NOT.

  • Hercules

    Hercules

    ★★★½

    Hercules's face animation looks like that Jesus shroud that the old lady colored in.

    I like "Zero to Hero" because I am a human who likes to have fun. (But my God it's as dense as some of Hamilton.) And I do really think "(I Won't Say) I'm in Love" is a romp. The rest is...very fine! Lots of the dialogue needed a second pass and I find the meta merchandising stuff to be annoying but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. 

    (Are we saying it's problematic that the Greek muses are an obviously black choir?)

  • Ready or Not

    Ready or Not

    ★★★½

    ...(here) I came. 

    This thing runs like a 1999 Chevy Impala. It rattles along and makes more than a few weird noises and some lurchy movements, but it gets there. It's fun! The plot is *bonkers* and the tone is utterly schizophrenic but it knows and embraces both of those facts. 

    Strays:
    -Samara Weaving is simultaneously: 1) very beautiful 2) a dead ringer for her dad Hugo and 3) a blend of Emma Stone and Margot Robbie and taking in…

  • Good Boys

    Good Boys

    ★★★½

    I'm perversely fascinated by this. It's not as bad as it should be, actually! The plot's inoffensively breezy, the kids are pretty good (Jacob Tremblay, actually, is still a great presence), and I laughed! 

    But I have a couple questions:
    1) Who is the audience for this??? What's the Venn diagram overlap between people who want a raunchy adult sex comedy and people who want a story about 6th graders?
    2) Should I be worried about the consent jokes? The…

  • The Princess and the Frog

    The Princess and the Frog

    ★★★½

    Hmph, that was a little odd. 

    I was SO IN on the first 30 mins. Like 10/10 perfect movie--bursting with life, funny, beautiful, a cast of characters and setting that are new and different, Keith David doing his "Scar if the Pridelands were in the Bayou" voice. I loved it! I was fully slack-jawed at the "Almost There" animation. 

    And then those two got turned into frogs and the movie came to screeching halt while they re-enacted the plot of…

  • The Lighthouse

    The Lighthouse

    ★★★½

    "Rob, I've got a great role for you." "You know me. Just one question. Has the character showered in the last 6 months?" "...nope!" "Then fuck yeah I'm in!"

    It's pretty good! It looks great. Willem Dafoe makes a three-course meal of every line; his sputtering delivery of seafaring nonsense is rivaled only by Bill Nighy in those Pirates sequels (kidding, kinda). 


    And the sound is *incredible.* That loud, omnipresent foghorn got under my skin so fast. 

    But it's also…

  • El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie

    El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie

    ★★★½

    I mean, yeah. I didn't *need* this (and, thinking back, really adored that original final goodbye Jesse, gleefully screaming out his anguish). But it was fun to be in Albuquerque for another 2 hours, and Gilligan keeps the scope nicely narrow, even if some (many) of the individual scenes felt kinda flabby. 

    Nobody shoots mundane American rot like Vince Gilligan. He loves rundown houses and strip malls and chain-link fences and cup holders holding Big Gulps.

  • Looper

    Looper

    ★★★½

    Didn't quite hold up like I hoped. I think the main stumble is that the first act establishes such a fun premise (gimmick?), then has no idea what to do with it and so has to break a drenching sweat to lay out and execute all the TK and Rainmaker and three farms!! business. 


    Johnson really matured as an action director between this and TLJ. Everything's edited all to hell here, plus some really bizarre close-up choices. And then he…

  • Kiki's Delivery Service

    Kiki's Delivery Service

    ★★★½

    I spent the first 20 minutes in slack-jawed awe at how beautiful this is (and it's older than me!). And I hung on tight through the meeting of Dopey Miyazaki Boy and the first delivery. Then I realized how episodic (and long!) this was going to be and I kinda lost interest. Jiji is funny and cute as hell, though. 

    (Can't hold it against the movie, but oof the dub is vile.)

  • The Last Black Man in San Francisco

    The Last Black Man in San Francisco

    ★★★½

    Mmmmmmm I'm struggling here because, like, intellectually I appreciate that this is well-directed and nicely written and beautifully shot and all of that. But the shaggy, episodic, almost ADD structure is just really not my thing. It's formally really good!! Just not my flavor.