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Everything Everywhere All at Once 👍

Turning Red for adults. It works.

Luck 👎

Trite and predictable, with stilted animation, convoluted storytelling, and a general feeling of awkwardness that drowns the few good early scenes. We were re-watching Ratatouille for what feels like the 56th time last weekend and it is ridiculous how much better it is in every respect despite being 15 years older. Luck… will not be getting a re-watch.

Turning Red 👍

Bao meets The Mitchells… to produce something less artistic then either, but at least fun to watch. Mid-March release sounds about right.

The French Dispatch 👍

The Wes Andersoniest of all Wes Anderson movies, at least the live action ones. Every frame is a painting here, or a New Yorker front page, and in that regard this is also his most artful work. But The Grand Budapest Hotel is still a better movie.

One last thing about Don’t Look Up

After two failed attempts to explain why exactly I wasn’t thrilled with Adam McKay’s Netflix movie — brevity will only get you so far — I found this review by Scott Alexander to perfectly capture my doubts about the movie’s message. I agree with Alexander only about 60% of the time, but I can agree with 100% of his review.

Encanto 👍

An unexpected diversion that is all heart and no plot — not the most terrible thing in the world, but far from the year’s best animated movie.

Don’t Look Up 👎

Netflix has a corrupting influence on film makers. Could it be that good art needs constraints?

Witness Don’t Look Up: a two and a half hour movie in which everything is at stake yet nothing happens. As a government farce, it is worse than Burn After Reading; as a disaster movie, it is worse than even Armageddon; and it is much, much worse than Dr. Strangelove by any criteria.

If it was meant to portray our response to Covid it did a terrible job, painting science as all-knowing and the political-buisness cabal as less coherent than your average B-grade movie villain. Spolier alert: (almost) everyone dies at the end, and you (mostly) won’t care.

Good soundtrack, though.

Dune (2021) 👍

The 1984 version showed that making a good movie out of a 700-page tome is a complex problem that can’t be solved in 2 hours 17 minutes on a $40M budget. It took 20 minutes and $50M more than that for Denis Villeneuve to cover just half of what Lynch attempted, but the end result is so much better. The story is what it is — between the book, the movie, the TV show, and the game I now know it by heart — but the casting, the pace, cinematography, score, the movieness of it, are all pitch perfect. A cross between Mad Max: Fury Road and Star Wars, noted our perceptive nine-year-old somewhere around the 30-minute mark. Yes, and more like this, please!

Viewing notes: we saw it on a 120” screen with a 5.1 surround system. If you have anything less at home I’d strongly recommend going to a movie theater. Yes, it’s nice that it is available for streaming on day 1, but you would be doing a disservice both to the movie and to yourself seeing it on a postage stamp. \</privilege>


A few notches below Little Miss Sunshine, a movie of a similar sensibilities. Some changes might have improved it — e.g. why does Ruby end up at high-school choir practice because of a boy, and not because of her love of singing? — but none of it can correct the one huge flaw, which is that conflict between Ruby’s supporting her family by providing free ASL interpreter services and Ruby’s becoming a strong independent young woman is a zero-sum game which will end up in either financial hardship or broken dreams.

But, you know, the music was nice.

The White Lotus 👍

Two parts lifestyle porn one part sociologic study of intergenerational struggle, with a smidgen of mystery to whet your appetite and make you think there is more there there than it actually is, though what is there is still pretty good if not exactly a Knives Out caliber of crime comedy.1

But oh my that soundtrack.

  1. And it is here that I realize I never wrote about Knives Out, which would have been the movie of the year had it not come out in 2019, a good year for movies in an otherwise mediocre decade. So here is my review: it is outstanding, go see it (👍). 

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