• Napoleon Dynamite

    Napoleon Dynamite

    ★★★★★

    It’s not it’s fault that indie movies that followed it took away all the wrong lessons. An iota perfect slice of life, a thousand well observed details that culminates in a community. Also happens to be very funny. There’s no accounting for taste, but if there were the haters would be in the red.

  • Return of the Jedi

    Return of the Jedi

    ★★★½

    Most of the Jabba and Ewok plots feel like busywork. This is one of the few trilogies where the myth arc conclusion is actually the best part. Idk maybe I’m a few beers in but I was deeply moved by the notion that even Darth Vader can be redeemed.

  • Jim Gaffigan: Comedy Monster

    Jim Gaffigan: Comedy Monster

    ★★★

    lol Jim got a little spicy coming out of quarantine.

  • The Empire Strikes Back

    The Empire Strikes Back

    Regrettably effective.

  • The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer

    The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer

    ★★★

    The parts are a bit less than the whole, but those parts are still very fun. I’m surprised that Shirley Temple was essentially forced out of Hollywood soon after this. She’s not a washed out child actor, she’s very charming and could have easily transitioned to ingenue if given the chance. Myrna Loy has never turned in a bad performance, but as always Cary Grant steals the show. Some are great actors, but he’s the greatest reactor I’ve ever seen. He made me crack up at least twice a minute just off the way he’d react to others’ dialogue.

  • Licorice Pizza

    Licorice Pizza

    ★★★★★

    I was originally going to see The 355, but traffic made me miss the last screening, so I thought I’d settle for P.T. Anderson instead. I arrived 13 minutes late for that screening, thinking I’d catch the end of the trailers, only to realize that for maybe the first time ever, a movie actually started at the showtime. I came in completely discombobulated and struggling to catch up, trying to piece together what was going on in media res. It…

  • The Apartment

    The Apartment

    ★★★★

    Airtight script, looks gorgeous. Will admit I preferred the earlier part of the film, up until the Lemmon and MacLaine apartment portion. Nothing against their performances. Lemmon has a real talent for playing men who know just enough about how they’re seen to choose to go into denial. MacLaine plays Fran as someone who knows to much about herself to ever let it go. I just wish they had better chemistry, it doesn’t have to be volcanic lust or anything,…

  • Luca

    Luca

    ★★★

    Impossible to resist, coastal Italian vistas will always keep a movie above a certain threshold. At its best when it just embraces the vibes, at its weakness when the shepherd’s crook pulls it back to the Pixar Formula. I know that formula is what made them world beaters to begin with, but it’s reached the point where it’s more shackles than bones. There have been so many movies now about how monsters are just metaphors for outcasts, and how parents…

  • Targets

    Targets

    ★★★½

    Evil is small.

  • House of Gucci

    House of Gucci

    ★★★

    This is a movie where they cut to a church and immediately start playing “Faith.” You have to decide in that moment if you are on board or not. I decided I was and had a fairly good time. The script is a mess, but so are Italians so it wasn’t too cumbersome. Lady Gaga is a better movie star than actress, but that’s exactly what this role called for so congrats on “knowing the assignment,” as the kids say.…

  • Three Colors: Blue

    Three Colors: Blue

    ★★★

    Visually arresting, that was never in question. But at the end I felt only slight deflation, which is perhaps the last feeling a movie should give you. You should be left wanting more, not needing more. Films don’t have to be complex, the most complicated aspects of life are actually pretty straightforward when you get down to it. But this gave me no real insight into the grieving process, or at least a fresh perspective on a universal struggle. We…

  • Whisper of the Heart

    Whisper of the Heart

    ★★★★½

    A warm hug of a movie. Entirely derived of conflict save the silly melodramas of adolescence. Not that conflict in a story is necessarily a bad thing, but none of it felt contrived or exaggerated beyond everyday life. The main push of the movie is our hero trying and somewhat failing to write a story, but learning to recognize the dignity in the attempt.

    Like the best Linklater in recognizing the ridiculousness of teens but finding purity in their myopia.…