Chris has written 5 reviews for films rated ★★½ during 2020.

  • A Christmas Carol

    A Christmas Carol

    ★★½

    For a story all about emotional and ideological transformation, I'm confused by how stifled this adaptation is. It's as if Zemeckis wanted to stay loyal to the source material but also give it a bombastic update which results in a lot of tonal whiplash and a lack of resonance. Every genuinely atmospheric or creepy moment is undercut by something excessively ludicrous or goofy, to the point where you're left wondering who this is even aimed at. I don't know anyone…

  • Mank

    Mank

    ★★½

    It pains me that a film by David Fincher could leave me feeling so indifferent. Mank gets by solely on its technical proficiency; the direction, photography, score and acting are all as good as you'd expect. The writing is where it really struggles because very little of it works as intended. The flashback structure undercuts momentum, the overlapping dialogue is stilted and the attempts to examine the studio politics of the time feel half-baked. It's not really about the writing…

  • Ready Player One

    Ready Player One

    ★★½

    Fine as a fun spectacle but struggles to really resonate or leave a lasting impression. Steven Spielberg's visual flair is as strong as ever and the talented cast play their parts well, yet the overly conventional narrative holds it back. It follows too many cliches without adding anything of note and the engaging ideas lingering below the surface (about the legacy we leave behind and how the capitalist hell of modern life forces us to look for meaning in virtual…

  • Batman Forever

    Batman Forever

    ★★½

    Since Batman Returns terrified kids and baffled most adults, the gothic tones of Tim Burton were swapped out for the gaudy dynamism of Joel Schumacher. As a result Batman Forever exists in a strange middle ground, as if Schumacher wanted to make a vividly campy comic book come to life but couldn't quite shake the inherent darkness of the previous works. So what we end up with is a film that, like one of it's antagonists, is in two minds…

  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

    The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

    ★★½

    The optimum word to describe The Curious Case of Benjamin Button would be 'safe', which is why it is so perplexing that a director as dynamic as David Fincher would bother making it. It's the type of sentimental film that the academy loves (hence the numerous nominations) so maybe Fincher made it to further boost his profile or maybe he saw it as a chance to showcase his visual talents. Don't get me wrong, this exceptionally well made but it…