The Post Review

Post

Put together in a mere six months after external factors forced the indefinite delay of Steven Spielberg’s planned 2017 entry The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara, The Post could not have found a more timely release. A news media hating president being brought low by high-quality journalism and incontrovertible truth and facts describes an ideal outcome for the USA in 2017, just as it did in 1971, when the Washington Post published the Pentagon Papers, turning the tide of public opinion against the Vietnam war. ‘Strike while the iron is hot’ filmmaking is a natural next step in this current prolific phase of the great director’s career, but also makes The Post too rushed to land with the weight it should.  Continue reading

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Phantom Thread Review

Phantom Thread DDL

Though there was never an exact formula to Paul Thomas Anderson’s films, his 2014 entry Inherent Vice was definitely a break from his traditions. It was plot driven, even if that plot was deliberately obscure throughout, based faithfully on a novel, and not about fathers and sons as most of his previous work had been. If anyone was thinking that Phantom Thread – which reunites Anderson with his There Will Be Blood star Daniel Day-Lewis – would be a return to relative ‘normalcy’, it proves to be anything but. A wonderfully strange and unpredictable entry into the Anderson canon, it’s more than up to the auteur’s absurdly high standards.  Continue reading

The Disaster Artist Review

Disaster Artist

A film like The Disaster Artist has to walk a fine line. In telling its completely ridiculous true story, it has to be exceptionally silly and funny, but stop short of feeling exploitative of its highly eccentric subject. It’s a balance that James Franco’s film strikes seemingly effortlessly, an utterly hilarious romp through one of the oddest moments in movie history that’s also heartfelt and empathetic enough to be enormously uplifting. Franco clearly feels a sort of kinship with the mysterious ‘auteur’ Tommy Wiseau (who Franco plays on top of directing and producing), and so his film never feels uncomfortably mean-spirited.  Continue reading

Molly’s Game Review

Molly's Game

The line ‘we’re about to do three years of therapy in three minutes’ would be met with an exhausted eye roll in any film, but coming in the last 15 minutes of an 140 minute, overindulgent Aaron Sorkin movie it positively feels like it’s daring the audience to yell at the screen. Sorkin’s directorial debut, Molly’s Game, is an overwritten, overlong, and annoyingly self-regarding mess that offers very little of the thrilling optimism or rollicking fun of his career highlights like The West Wing or The Social NetworkContinue reading

Coco Review

COCO

It’s always a blessing when a new high-end Pixar film comes about, reminding us how good children’s animation can be in the hands of a studio that really cares. Coco, their non-sequel effort for 2017, is a tremendous step up from The Good Dinosaur, Finding Dory, and Cars 3 and easily the year’s best animated film – even matching the wonderful Paddington 2 in terms of sublime children’s entertainment. Already a record-breaking hit in Mexico, it’s deeply moving and visually stunning in the way that we always expect from Pixar, but also culturally important, with insightful looks into Mexican culture and tradition and an entirely Latinx cast.  Continue reading

Beach Rats Review

Beach Rats - Still 1

Frankie (Harris Dickinson) is a young man caught up in a storm of his emotions. He’s lying to himself, but can’t quite work out why, and ‘I don’t know what I like’ is his default answer to any remotely probing question. He’s the star of Beach Rats, the striking second film from Eliza Hittman, on the cusp of adulthood during a long, directionless summer around Coney Island, driven by well-intentioned indecision, trying his best to make sure nobody, himself especially, gets hurt. In a year with some astounding gay love stories with Moonlight, God’s Own Country, and Call Me By Your Name, Beach Rats can feel slight and over-conventional, but marks a intriguing breakout for Hittman and her hugely charismatic young star Dickinson.  Continue reading

Roman J Israel Esq Review

Roman J Israel Esq

Our principles and core beliefs are never something that we should take lightly, especially not if we’re given any position of legal power. This thought guides the eponymous star of Roman J Israel Esq, but this is far from a conventional story of a heroic, downtrodden defense lawyer. Instead, Dan Gilroy, of Nightcrawler fame, deconstructs the notion of unbreakable virtue and delivers a compelling story of a man unravelled by his stubborn will to take life as a theoretical construct, instead of the vibrant, messy, and uncomfortable collection of practical demands that it truly is.  Continue reading