• Compliance

    Compliance

    ★★★½

    A frustrating watch that makes you want to reach through the screen and shake the characters to come to their senses, but are helpless because ultimately this was true to life in a really depressing manner. The acting all around is incredible, as is the pacing as the tension and ridiculousness escalated. With authenticity comes the limitations upon this rewatch, as it doesn’t say much beyond the events themselves which would added more perspective. There were sprinkles of characterization (that exchange about sending private images over text connects with the trust aspect later on), but not quite enough to chew on.

  • The Lost Daughter

    The Lost Daughter

    The messiness of motherhood translates in a really authentic way in this film that feels more like a high-end mumblecore. There are shots that linger on longer than expected, exchanges of dialogues where there'd be audio but no character is speaking, scenes where characters act in nonconventional ways, all adding up to an experience that feels like if you took a trip through someone's unstable dream. I wish there was a bit more backstory with Jessie Buckley so we can get a better understanding of the character, but a really solid debut from Maggie Gyllenhaal!

  • The Insider

    The Insider

    ★★★★½

    An absolute tour de force in the two lead performances + commentary on greed & ethics + thriller elements without violence (inspired by Crimson Tide?) = one of my favs from 1999.

  • No Time to Die

    No Time to Die

    ★★★½

    When Bond clicks for me is when it strives to be more than the standard formula, be it the serious nature of Casino Royale or elegance of Skyfall's personal touch on the villain/climax. No Time To Die strives for more emotion, and while it doesn't always click I really admire the familial aspects it was going for towards the denouement. The plot is a bit of a mess but emotions were on point. Plus the scene in Cuba is fantastic.

  • Inside Out

    Inside Out

    Currently going through all the Pixar I've missed over the past 10 years - and what a unique and imaginative take on a coming of age tale. Similar to Soul, I have some reservations about the difference in aesthetics between the inner world and outer world, and the fact that it's another movie where construct is a character instead of a true character, but who cares when the journey is this well done?

  • The Guilty

    The Guilty

    ★★½

    A strong performance aside, anything added to the story ultimately detracted from the internal emotional battle of the original that made it so special.

  • The Night House

    The Night House

    ★★★★

    Rebecca Hall is magnetic here as a bundle of nerves with agency (like an evolved version of Shelly Duvall in The Shining), and the story admirably compliments her by a really solid level of mystery, double meanings, and inventiveness. I wasn't a fan of The Ritual by David Bruckner, but his other work such as The Signal and segments from VHS and Southbound shows really great promise.

  • God's Own Country

    God's Own Country

    ★★★½

    Raw and compassionate, this was a very well done tale that really made you feel for its characters despite a conventional plot.

  • Soul

    Soul

    ★★★★

    Beyond entertainment, good movies become great when they ultimately transform the way you look at life and your purpose - movies like Arrival, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and now Soul. 

    The aesthetics of the soul world wasn’t quite my cup of tea, besides that this left an impact on me.

  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

    Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

    ★★★½

    The cast is uniformly excellent, and the cinematography captures the chaos with clarity (that's what you get when you have Bill Pope from The Matrix and Edgar Wright movies fame). As with most Marvel movies, it peaks early with a great bus fight sequence and gets a bit overly long and infatuated with endless CGI, but still had a good amount of fun.

  • Zola

    Zola

    ★★★½

    Riley Keough is an absolute force of nature, and the story takes twists and turns with a great balance of tension and humour. Not too familiar with source material and accuracy, but a more fully formed main character and an impactful payoff would've turned this into something really great.

    Also - shoutout to Ari Wegner for her range in filming this + Power of the Dog in the same year. The 16mm choice brings out the vibrancy and docudrama style in an incredible manner.

  • The Power of the Dog

    The Power of the Dog

    ★★★★½

    There is so much thematically to dive into - from toxic masculinity to class to oppression. However, never once did subtext overwhelm the text because the first half is a pure powder keg while the second half and the ending recontextualizes what comes before it and leaves you thinking long after.

    From a technical standpoint, the score supports the anxiety and the setting (giant mountains alluding to obstacles, the ranch creating isolation), all adds up to an excellently crafted movie.

    Well worth a rewatch!