Since I brought up acting, the cast is a phenomenal ensemble of familiar faces that delight. Standouts include Hugh Grant—cause of course, Charlie Hunnan, and Colin Farrel. They bring life to the film as they all play their parts to a tee. Grant appropriately chews the scenery opposite Hunnam, who plays the straight man as they lead the audience through the plot while being inner cut by everyone else. It's when Farrel pops up and elevates the mood with his relaxed demeanor, a feat only aptly described as an oxymoron, when everything is working at it's best.
There isn't anything special about the cinematography or score, but they don't hinder the quality of the overall picture. There is a small story beat that ends oddly, but nothing else comes to mind when I think of egregious problems. In no way am I suggesting that The Gentlemen is without faults, but the enjoyment to be had far outweigh any slight transgressions that it may embody.
I would consider The Gentlemen one of the best of the year. I know it's early, although I'll be surprised if I don't see it on my top 10 list at the end. It might just be a taste thing as the film doesn't seem to have universal praise; it indulges in very British vocabulary and mannerisms, which are aspects I adore. Though, it could also be that it's a Guy Ritchie movie, and his style isn't for everyone. All of these considerations aside, I cannot deny how much fun and charm this picture has.
I promise its incredible
by absurd dialogue. In second place again is Gillan as she continues to be the rock that is the foundation for the story. Since the cast expanded for the sequel, it would be remiss not to acknowledge Aquafina, who, at the ending of the movie, does the best acting.
Everything else just doesn't work. The story is worse this time around, which completely boggles my mind. There is too much filler, which usually comes from scenes designed to make the audience laugh without any actual substance. It can all be traced back to the plot's inability to have motives for its characters' actions. This lack of direction that slows everything down brings the pacing to a crawl. Instead of being a tight fun movie, Jumanji: The Next Level ends up being a frustrating experience that is nowhere near as enjoyable.
I know that for some viewers, the changes made to characters and pacing won't be a problem for them. But I would implore them to ask if the sequel really is as good as the first. It honestly felt like I was on an amusement park ride as I was whisked to different locations with little prompting. Though there are some funny moments and there is fun to be had, it just doesn't come close. It's not like Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was an impeccable movie that knew what to do, but it was better than this. I was very excited about this film; I thought that I was going to get more of everything I saw from the first, and in a way, I did. Since the ending hints at a third Jumanji movie, I would like to advise for that not happen. They should have focused on this installment being fun instead of trying to make a Jumanji franchise.
It's time to stop
Many issues squarely fall on Rian Johnson's shoulders. He delivers more head-scratchers as his telegraphing is so blatantly obvious that the film was actively painful to watch. It became a checklist as I was looking for elements that were spotlighted and communicated to the audience as being important. Johnson suffers from using too many close-ups as his only tool to say "this is important". His desire to have every element in the movie connect probably comes from a good place, but that doesn't excuse the monotony of the entire ordeal.
The picture reeks of someone thinking they are telling a clever story, something that defies expectations. Some might describe the sequence of events as "twists and turns", but they feel more like a kid going, "and then, and then". It relies heavily on humor to keep the pace moving since there is no suspense to drive the movie forward. For me, much of the humor felt like the film asking the audience to laugh rather than being genuinely funny. Everyone seemed to fall for it as the rest of my theater did laugh a lot.
The only praise I can offer to the film is the performance by Ana de Armas. As the focus of the movie, she does a great job acting like someone that doesn't know what's going on. It's a significant departure from her work in Bladerunner 2049 and is probably much different than her work in the upcoming Bond film. While the challenges she faces in the story are not that strong, thanks to Johnson's script, she adds validity to them through her performance.
So Knives Out wasn't for me, precisely because its construction was broken from the start. It reminds me of Christopher McQuarrie's comments on how he worked as a script doctor on Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. His job there was to reveal the things that drove plot and hide the emotional beats to encourage curiosity. Nothing resembling that is present in Knives Out, it just fumbles about until it's over.
After rereading that review, its seems definitive, but seeing the film again changed my mind. Knowing the plot from the start and forgetting about the marketing material helped to ease my frustrations. I laughed at more of the jokes, was more intrigued by the plot, and overall felt a little happier. There are still plenty of issues I have with the movie, but it's undeniable that this fun romp is cozy. I'm still a little hesitant on what score I think it deserves, somewhere in the 5-6 range, but it seems better than an average picture, so it'll be a 6 for now.
There was one shot where the camera was on a tripod and then ripped off of it to transition into handheld and it was very distracting
This complaint of the laissez faire attitude spreads throughout the film and is felt in every scene. There is a distinct lack of proactive action; each character seems to have an aspect about them to lend itself to comedy while betraying the truth of the situation. The attempt to make light of atrocities only works when done in satire, think The Great Dictator from Charlie Chaplin. Where Waititi gets it wrong is making it a Dramedy that pretends to have a message. It's a situation where the intention is well-meaning but didn't translate to action.
The main character, Jojo, doesn't have a moment where he casts off his Nazi fanaticism because it's wrong. Everyone around him except for two people encourages his behavior, pressing him to continue in blind faith. He is given a pass, even though he is a Nazi. That's where all of the critics have their hangups. It gives an out to people for their terrible behavior with no repercussions.
The reason that general audiences like the film is because of the lighthearted mood that rarely falters. The movie's ability to make jokes and keep them going is spectacular. Some gags show up at the beginning of the picture and only come back at the very end. Dialogue is excellent as reasoning for characters' actions are contextualized in little quips that cue the viewer into the hilarity of the situation. It all works due to the cast's great performances.
The obvious standout is Scarlett Johansson, who plays Jojo's mother. I say obvious since she is one of the only actors whose roles are not solely used for comedic effect. Though, Sam Rockwell is a delight as the ineffective German general. The last person to make an impression was Thomasin McKenzie, who plays the Jewish girl. She does a great job being sarcastic and lending the story some humanity.
The strength of Jojo Rabbit comes from how much it can make you laugh. There is plenty of fun to be had while watching it, but when the credits roll, there are some severe insinuations that the movie makes. These problems didn't stop me from thoroughly enjoying myself, but they are unavoidable. I also want to make clear that even without the pressing issues at the end, there are still other problems in the rest of the film. I would advise that you go into the movie ready to laugh, but understand that being a Nazi is not ok.
Its extremely enjoyable and simultaneously misses the mark
The picture wouldn't work without the great performances by the cast, though. Kang-ho Song delivers a bewitching performance along with the necessary demeanor to convey the family's mentality. He's not quite peerless as So-dam Park does a fantastic job bringing levity to the film. As the daughter, she is afforded ample screentime to make a strong impression and steals every scene she's in. Everyone else does an adequate job maintaining the tone and keeping the movie believable, but it's those two actors that stand out.
Every aspect of the film didn't receive the same amount of attention—the score and cinematography weren't always operating on the same level as everything else. There were moments where these elements got to shine, but for the majority of the runtime, they were underutilized. It's not a huge knock against the movie, but it is something that I noticed.
As you can tell, I don't have too much negative to say. There is no denying that Parasite is a very well made film. The production design is probably one of the greatest achievements that it can boast; with great locations and set decorations, it helps to bring the whole thing come to life. As many people have pointed out, this is probably a shoo-in for Best Foreign Film at the Oscars, so why not see it before 2020 comes?
You should see this movie but I doubt its playing near you
At first, I thought adding more people to the isolated incidents of the original would quickly make the story feel too crowded. Thankfully, the trailers are more extreme in this department, and the new additions don't drag the movie down. If anything, Zoey Deutch was the perfect thing to add, keeping everything fresh; she has some really great lines and interactions with the rest of the cast. The outcome of her performance overcame a lot for me, though, I could never shake the feeling that she was putting on an act. I could tell this was not her real personality. It threw me off at the start, but the material was so good that I just accepted it.
The rest of the cast does a good job too. No one seems to have missed a beat during the ten year hiatus. This is mostly a shout out to the screenwriters, as writing characters that were defined by 2009 could have been tricky to continue in 2019. The temptation to sanitize a role that screams balls and dicks all the time would have been powerful. I could have done without the slow-mo intro, the same trick they used for Deadpool, but it wasn't egregious.
Overall, Zombieland: Double Tap spiritually feels like the first, and that's good enough for me. It definitely lacks the tight storytelling and has pacing issues, but makes up for it with its charm. It gets you laughing and has quite a few scenarios to do so, making it very entertaining. The worst part is the ending, as it doesn't play to the movie's strengths, but as a whole, it delivered. This result was probably the best I could have asked for.
Might be fully tapped now
over-edited monstrosity, I would advise against joining them. The first half of the movie is constantly cutting to different songs, which makes you feel like you're watching a musical. These were done to match action sequences which became unintelligible as a shot couldn't be held for longer than 10 seconds. There were sequences where I didn't know what was happening as screen shake and fast panning obfuscated what was happening in a scene.
Cementing the Saturday morning cartoon comparison, the characters were dialed up to an eleven as they appeared to be caricatures of their former selves. Many might find the banter between the leads humorous, but all I experienced was a full stop in pacing to try and make the audience laugh. There was also a flirtatious relationship between one of the marquee characters and another main character. This element was added to the story since the only other thing was "we need to save the world again".
The most interesting aspect of Hobbs & Shaw was the director, David Leitch. His last two films, Atomic Blonde and Deadpool 2, were not very good and I was expecting as much with his latest. To my surprise, there was very little evidence of his directing style. He usually uses a static camera, allowing for the fight choreography to take center stage. Either Leitch has changed his directing style to be more flashy, or there are different expectations for a Fast & Furious movie. The only through line of his directing career seems to be a facilitator of wild creators.
Hobbs & Shaw is just a pit stop before the mainline series gets back to theaters. It lacks the spectacle that recent entries have established and dilutes what makes the franchise special. I would have had the same experience watching this on a screen at home rather than seeing it in theaters. This is definitely worth renting later on or just not seeing at all.
There was tons of CGI that didn't work because their physics were wrong
In his ninth film, Tarantino has proved he really likes making movies about things that interest him. He loves the golden era of Hollywood and successfully transports the audience there. Following around an actor and his stunt double make for a really interesting setting. His craftsmanship is on full display as everything seemed perfect, from the lighting to camera movements, it was all top tier. A huge part of making it all work came down to the acting though, Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt elevate the material they are given and breathe as much life as possible into the movie. Even with its flawless presentation, Once Upon a Time In Hollywood is hard to watch.
The truth is, there is a severe lack of tension to push the plot forward, nothing is ever really being built up to. Aside from the realistic depiction of Hollywood as a business and the handful of great scenes that will be clipped out and be put on YouTube, the movie is aimless. Other critics might site that they love how the film is a collection of moments, that the break from narrative structure is to be applauded, they are just making up reasons to defend a bad script. With a runtime of two hours and forty minutes, there needs to be something to string the audience along. Just having a good third act doesn’t absolve the rest of the film from all of its sins.
Tarantino proves once again that he is a first-rate director when it comes to the act of making movies, from a technical standpoint there is little to complain about. Whenever you decide to watch one of his films, you will be treated to a curated selection of music that perfectly intertwines with the visuals on-screen. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood could have been really great. but with all the things that it gets wrong, there is little reason to see it. It still features great acting and scenes which still don’t make it a must watch.
As more time has passed, I realize the appreciation I have for the craft and quality that Once Upon a Time In Hollywood exudes. I can't forget about the aspects of the movie I do like and all of the nuances that story takes its time planting. If I had known the movie was almost three hours before going to see it, I might have had a better reaction to it. I definitely plan on seeing it again, but probably not in theaters.
I guess fairy tales aren't true
In so many ways, Far From Home is exactly like Homecoming; its structure and ideas are more similar than you might initially notice. Overarching ideas are woven into the very fabric of what makes the story tick, and it becomes unsettling when a Venn diagram comparing the two is almost a circle.
These repeats of the first movie do have quite a few positives. The critical conflict of having Peter Parker's normal life clash with being a superhero takes center stage. Trying to juggle being a teenager with being the only Avenger abroad takes its toll as Parker has to decide what is more important. Far From Home retains an emotional core while being able to up the ante, making sure that there is enough action to keep viewers satisfied. It's able to focus on relationship issues and hardships while still injecting tons of humor in between, striking the perfect balance. It is the recipe that MCU movies have perfected yet forgotten for any large group movies.
However, the retread of material does come along with some baggage as it does not work for all situations. Trying to have a twist with Mysterio doesn't work the same way the reveal of The Vulture, even though both are supposed to be equally shocking. Having the villain and hero connect also didn't work out well in this instance since there weren't enough scenes of them together. Trying to force their friendship was a mistake due to it being so underdeveloped.
Overall, Far From Home doesn't have any barriers when it comes to recommending it for theater viewing. There are enough action set pieces audiences have come to expect and plenty of laughs that will keep you entertained. Obviously, if you don't want to see a movie about Spider-Man or superheroes, this won't change your mind. I can say, that Far From Home did pull at my heartstrings a little, but that's because I am very partial to a particular character. I guess I haven't seen many Indies this year because this ended up being one of the best films I've seen this year.
The neighborhood just got a whole lot bigger