Movies Reviewed, 2020

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OA Part II -

1917 - some of the best war movies, probably forgetting some good ones...paths of glory, full metal jacket, great escape, all quiet on the western front, platoon, saving private ryan, dunkirk, das boot, stalag 17...1917 joins the list.
Really great film from beginning to end. Grabs you right away and you realize pretty early on that you're watching a single shot. There are a few tricks to make it work, but it's mostly the real thing. It's not Russian Ark or even Rope, but this is a more difficult film to shoot than Rope and it's definitely better than Russian Ark. The cinematography is amazing and should win the oscar. Roger Deakins is one of the best of all-time and he kills it here. The look is great, but the camera movement and where it goes is even more impressive. I don't know how they did it.
So, as a technical achievement, this is an amazing film and that's all fine enough. As a piece of artwork it's just as good, or better. The way it grabs you, the way it shows you the horrors of war, the quick bonds that are formed, the kid singing in the middle of the forest (reminiscent of Paths of Glory), the artistry of the tracking shots in the trenches (Paths of Glory again), the tracking shot during the battle (prependicular to Paths of Glory), the range of human emotion, the cleansing of the river with the falling cherry tree blossoms that leads to a river of dead....just so many great scenes and emotions and artistic decisions. The sniper scene reminded me of Full Metal Jacket. I guess you could say it was derivative if you were really cynical, but I'd say it's more like Reservoir Dogs or Tarantino in general - all these moments that are pulled from other great war films are homages - hip-hop samples done to create a new film. This is its own thing and it's wonderfully done. Best film of the year. A-.

Bombshell - started watching the Loudest Voice on HBO so this was well-timed. Pretty good overall and very watchable. A bit of an odd choice to have the voiceover and have the characters speaking to the camera. However, I thought it was a really good choice to have Theron, as Megyn Kelly, talking off camera during the credits as our first intro to her. She really nails the voice so it allows you to think of her as Kelly even more. Then we see her and it's a little bit of "oh, that's Charlize Theron," but the makeup is really good and her voice has already sold you so the illusion is as complete as it can be. At several points I found myself forgetting that it was Theron - and that's a rarity in film.
Overall, it was the performances that made the film. Theron was oscar-worthy, as were Robbie and Lithgow. Nicole Kidman was okay, but not great. Pretty decent movie overall. B.

Happy Gilmore - still a classic adam sandler/sports movie. possibly the best of the sandler movies and in the running for best sports movies, even though i don't usually think of it (probably because it's golf). A.
Peppermint - pierre morel directed film about a woman who loses her husband and child and then seeks revenge. i love revenge films so this is right up my alley. it's the same thing as death wish and a million other revenge films. it's well done enough to stand on its own. B-.

Spies In Disguise - as far as family movies go this one wasn't too bad. nothing objectionable for the kids and then seemed to like the silly humor. for the parents, there's enough to keep the mind busy so i think i managed to stay awake for this one. C+.