• My Octopus Teacher

    My Octopus Teacher

    I wanted to check here to get a sense of how this piece of beautifully photographed, anthropomorphized garbage became an Oscar frontrunner and instead the main Letterboxd review page for this documentary is 50 people making the exact same two jokes.

    Yes. The octopus is more his friend than his teacher.

    Yes. He wants to fuck the octopus and it's gross.

    You're all hilarious.

    Sincere question: Is "My Octopus Teacher" intended as a parody of the countless nature documentaries in…

  • Godzilla vs. Kong

    Godzilla vs. Kong

    ★★★½

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

    [Spoilers. I guess? Kinda?]

    I thought 2019's "Godzilla: King of the Monsters" was borderline unbearable. From the inexcusable 131-minute running-time to a color palette and lighting scheme best described as "'Ozark'-esque," it delivered a couple fun monster-on-monster battles in its last 20 minutes but mostly it was a wretchedly acted, horribly paced dirge. I mean no particular disrespect to director Michael Dougherty when I say that I don't quite understand how he got the gig, because there is no notable…

  • Another Round

    Another Round

    ★★★★

    I'm often a very big fan of Gary Oldman's work. He should have been Oscar nominated for "True Romance." He should have won for "Tinker Tailor." He should certainly have been nominated for his fat-suit Churchill performance (even if he shouldn't have won).

    That's my prelude to this: Gary Oldman is just DREADFUL in "Mank." Do I need to add "IMO" or something silly? I'm a critic. This is my review. Of course it's my damn opinion.

    It starts with…

  • The Skeleton Twins

    The Skeleton Twins

    ★★★½

    I remember really looking forward to "The Skelton Twins" at Sunday 2014 and then the word-of-mouth to my ears seemed a bit tepid and I moved on to other things, though it won the screenplay award that Sundance and it looks like the reviews were actually more positive than I remember.

    Shrug!

    It popped up as a recommendation on the Hulu algorithm tonight and I couldn't bring myself to watch a so-so Oscar bait movie with the nominations just two…

  • Coming 2 America

    Coming 2 America

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

    [This does contain spoilers, but like... what's the point in caring?]

    Over the years, I assume that there have been at least 50 commissioned "Coming to America" sequel scripts and, like a cannibalistic serial killer's refrigerator, bits and pieces of almost all of those scripts are scattered throughout "Coming 2 America," distributed without much interest in narrative momentum, character coherence or any particular cleverness, acted by a cast that feels less reunited and more on-loan from Madame Tussauds.

    Money seems…

  • Biggie: I Got a Story to Tell

    Biggie: I Got a Story to Tell

    ★★★½

    I'm probably right between a 3 and 3.5 stars on this one and right between a "Like" and "Whatever."

    I went toward the positive side because while almost nothing here is revelatory — make that "absolutely nothing" rather than "almost nothing" — and the rehashing of the "authorized" version of the Biggie story has become to feel lazy and opportunistic, some of the footage here is absolutely superb. D Roc, a member of Biggie's crew, was an amateur videographer following…

  • Nomadland

    Nomadland

    ★★★★½

    I was mostly wrapped in the spell of "Nomadland," either completely absorbed by its world or internalizing the choices made by mother the main and supporting characters vis a vis my own life, but when I had outside thoughts, they were usually in two categories:

    1) I really wish I could have seen "Nomadland" on the big screen and in a theatrical environment, which isn't always a thought I've had during these past 11+ months. I liked "Nomadland" a LOT,…

  • I Care a Lot

    I Care a Lot

    ★★★

    I watched this one primarily because it was too late on a Friday night to feel like watching "Nomadland" and because I wanted to see how ridiculous it was that the HFPA gave Rosamund Pike a Golden Globe nomination for this movie that basically nobody who wasn't at virtual TIFF last fall even knew existed.

    Somewhat disappointingly, Pike's Globe nomination turns out to be a little random, but not in the least bit undeserved. Pike's career has been these remarkable…

  • Derek DelGaudio's In & of Itself

    Derek DelGaudio's In & of Itself

    ★★★½

    First: I was late to "In & Of Itself," only watching it after a month of rapturous Twitter raves, but nobody had truly spoiled for me what Derek DelGuadio's "thing" is and I appreciate that I went in cold. So stop reading.

    Second: I didn't look away from my TV for the entire 90-minute running time of "In & Of Itself." Never checked email or my phone or Twitter. So it obviously worked, or else I was afraid that if I looked…

  • Judas and the Black Messiah

    Judas and the Black Messiah

    ★★★★

    It's a breeze to point to aspects of "Judas and the Black Messiah" that work spectacularly well.

    It's an utterly timely story directed with astonishing flair by Shaka King, whose background in TV directing and mostly TV comedy directing didn't have this sort of bombastic assertiveness and heft. Sean Bobbitt's cinematography is lovely, especially when he shoots at nighttime.

    The performances are nearly all superb.

    Daniel Kaluuya is obviously at the forefront a generation of great Black, British actors and…

  • Misha and the Wolves

    Misha and the Wolves

    ★★★

    "Misha and the Wolves" is a solid step forward for director Sam Hobkinson after the thoroughly mediocre docuseries "Fear City." To watch this quick exploration of documentary storytelling and human storytelling is to see a director who definitely has, in this case, a perspective on credulity and why we believe things, even if they seem unbelievable and why we believe DOCUMENTARIES in particular. And there's even a sense of a filmmaker making aesthetic and narrative choices to build a point…

  • The Little Things

    The Little Things

    If Warner Brothers' announcement that the studio would put its entire 2021 theatrical slate on HBO Max day-and-date seemed like a blessing, starting that process with the calcified serial killer dud "The Little Things" feels like some vintage "Be careful what you wish for" shit.

    I like hard-boiled crime fiction and I've definitely read books with a more inert plot than "The Little Things," but ONLY if I enjoyed the writing or found the characters and their interactions interesting. The…