Jean-Luc has written 13 reviews for films during 2016.

  • Arrival

    Arrival

    ★★★★½

    Arrival is the perfect answer to the disastrous state of blockbusters in 2016. It’s science fiction, but it’s smart science fiction. It’s science fiction that posits a future in which being intelligent and empathetic are the most important character traits one could have. It’s an all out rejection of the typical first contact narrative, and its subversion is one of its most significant strengths.

    In Arrival, director Dennis Villeneuve and writer Eric Heisserer, along with an incredible cast, weave an…

  • Café Society

    Café Society

    ★★★★½

    Considering that I’m writing this review in a Starbucks, I’m sure there’s a very topical joke to be made; however, one isn’t coming to me. Instead, you get this mediocre intro.I can’t tell if that’s better or worse, but I’m leaning towards worse right now. Who knows?

    Anyways, for those of you who read my review of Kubo and the Two Strings, you’ll know that I was slipping into a swift depression because I hadn’t gotten the opportunity to see…

  • The Love Witch

    The Love Witch

    ★★★½

    When I first saw the trailer for The Love Witch, I really had no idea what to think. It looked goofy and campy–an odd fit to run before American Honey, to be sure. But when I saw it before Moonlight, I was pretty convinced that it was a movie I wanted to see.

    The trailer actually does a really good job of showcasing what the film is. It’s really just a fun, campy, throwback to horror. It establishes a 1950’s-1960’s…

  • Kubo and the Two Strings

    Kubo and the Two Strings

    ★★★★½

    Kubo and the Two Strings is a film that has had an interesting trajectory, in terms of my interest in it. I had heard about it at the start of this year and allowed myself to be cautiously optimistic about it. The last two Laika outings, 2012’s visually enticing but ultimately dull Frankenweenie and 2014’s mediocre the Boxtrolls, hadn’t impressed me. But I knew the studio was still capable of great things–they made Coraline, after all–and Kubo certainly sounded cool…

  • Nocturnal Animals

    Nocturnal Animals

    ★★★★½

    Part of me wishes that I’d skipped Nocturnal Animals in theaters.

    That’s a weird thing to be writing, coming out of a movie that I really enjoyed. But it’s true–I’ve never before felt such a powerful urge to get up and walk out of a theater. Had I watched it at home, a couple months from now, there are multiple points where I would have just paused it and gone for a walk to cool down. That’s how stressful an…

  • Incendies

    Incendies

    ★★

    I don't know that I've ever watched film that has left me so profoundly disappointed.

    Don't get me wrong, I've seen movies that are far, far worse than "Incendies." I did, after all, sit through "Batman vs Superman." Yes, the entire two and a half hour carnival of self hatred.

    Anyways, the reason that Incendies really bummed me out is because the first, I don't know, 105 minutes are really good. It does some exceptional things - the character work,…

  • The Battle of Algiers

    The Battle of Algiers

    ★★½

    Based on how much I've heard about The Battle of Algiers, I've always just kind of assumed it was a classic, and have had perpetually on my list of films to watch. It's one of those that I'd just heard a lot about, but could never be bothered to track down and watch. As it turns out, I actually had to watch this film for a class this semester, so this is kind of a 2-for-1.

    Except for the fact…

  • Dirty Pretty Things

    Dirty Pretty Things

    ★★½

    "Dirty Pretty Things" is an absolute chore to watch, from beginning to end. Initially, this isn't so much because the film is bad, but rather, because of its willingness to deal with uncomfortable subject matter. It's meant to be provocative and gritty, to show more privileged audience the reality in which so many immigrants live. That is certainly an admirable goal.

    I will say, there are things that I liked about Dirty Pretty Things. The performances are excellent across the…

  • The Neon Demon

    The Neon Demon

    When 2016 comes to a close, I would not be surprised if The Neon Demon wasn’t the most profoundly unique film of the year. Of course, this shouldn’t be much of a surprise to fans of Nicolas Winding Refn’s past work – both 2011’s Drive and 2013’s Only God Forgives certainly claimed that title as well. At this point, then Neon Demon should be par for the course for Refn. And yet, the fact of the matter is that his…

  • Drive

    Drive

    Fuck I wish I could give this movie more than five stars.

  • Finding Dory

    Finding Dory

    Finding Dory is the definition of a 3-star movie.

    Technically, there's not all that much wrong with it. The voice acting is exceptional, the animation (as per usual with Pixar) is stunning, and the script is completely serviceable. So yeah, I liked a Finding Dory a good bit.

    There is, however, a catch. It lacks the heart that I've come to expect of a Pixar movie. And while it tries to get there by adding new dimensions to Dory's mental…

  • Mr. Right

    Mr. Right

    I'm not quite sure that Mr. Right is a bad film.

    In fact, I feel quite comfortable saying that it isn't a bad film at all, it's actually completely fine. It's just... decidedly not for me. It's attempts at humor really didn't resonate with me, and I really wasn't buying the romance between the two main characters, who's names I don't even remember.

    At some points, Mr. Right felt, to me, like a weak attempt to be a Tarantino film.…