I see a lot of movies in theaters thanks to my AMC A-List membership, and because of that, I often want to write a review for each one. Herein lies the problem: I don’t have the time to crank out a full review of each movie and write my other long-form pieces. So I think I have a solution; I will instead try my best to summarize my thoughts from whatever recent movies I feel like talking about, for as long as is necessary. Also, I will be rating them on a five point scale.
Don’t Look Up
Let’s say there is a comet hurtling toward Earth at the moment, what would our world do in response? According to Adam McKay, the answer is absolutely nothing and we’re all going to die! Obviously, that is a joke, and the true subject of Netflix’s Don’t Look Up is our response to impending climate catastrophe. I wonder, however, if that isn’t an inherent problem with satire as a means of illuminating problems.
Don’t Look Up felt more like an Ariana Grande concert in its third act than a biting takedown of… the government? Business? Society? It lacked any political teeth and laid the blame loosely with gross human incompetence and greed.
There were funny moments, for sure, but it wasn’t surprising enough, and felt like another entry into McKay’s “serious auteur” phase.
If you wish Dr. Strangelove was more bleak and less funny, you might like it.
West Side Story
It made me mad at how poorly I felt that In the Heights was shot and edited. It’s Spielberg adapting a classic. See it in theaters if you can.
Nightmare Alley is film noir as a morality play. The cast is fantastic and it is the perfect blend of Guillermo del Toro’s sensibilities with HBO’s Perry Mason trappings. Cate Blanchett and Bradley Cooper eat up the screen, and Willem Defoe’s more brief runtime is spectacular. If you’re a fan of both psychological thrillers and silver screen classics like Casablanca, this is for you.
Paul Thomas Anderson rarely misses and here is no exception. The age difference between our two leads feels somehow wrong, awkward, and makes sense all at once. Philip Seymour Hoffman’s son Cooper is a rising star and Alana Haim needs to take some more time off of music to act. Everything from the soundtrack to set decoration, to costuming, to film stock sets the perfect tone for The Valley in the 1970s. If you wanted Once Upon a Time in Hollywood to have less violent revenge fantasy, this one’s for you.
If you liked these, check out our other movie reviews.