It: Chapter Two (2019)

IT: CHAPTER ONE took an interesting approach to Stephen King’s behemoth of a novel, bifurcating its frequent switches between the past and the present into purely the past sections. Doing so gave the film a kind of GOONIES-esque purity, really drilling down on that very Stephen King sense of childhood, and making a more isolated…

Booksmart (2019)

The relentless comparisons to SUPERBAD in this film’s marketing really hurt stand on its own. It’s a perfectly good, enjoyable, well-made high school comedy…and SUPERBAD is its own, iconic film from a very different context. “Female SUPERBAD!” might sound like a catchy hook but it’s a disservice to both films, especially when what works well…

Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)

Gareth Edwards’ 2014 GODZILLA had some nice trailers that really pushed a mystical, low-on-dialogue, low-on-melodrama approach to a Godzilla story. The film seemed awesome, in the truest sense of the word, and Edwards’ fascination with imagery of scale seemed a great match for the character. The actual movie was low on mysticism but high on…

Weathering With You (2019)

It’s hard to watch this film without thinking of director Makoto Shinkai’s previous film YOUR NAME, another romance-largely-in-Tokyo film so iconic and successful that whatever he did next was bound to bring some expectations of that film with it. And in terms of the general structure and ideas at play here there is indeed a…

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood (2019)

Ever since his film INGLORIOUS BASTERDS, which climatically strikingly diverts from the real history it otherwise seemed situated in, an extra layer of tension and possibility has laid over Quentin Tarantino’s films. Reality is more malleable when it’s clear that he’s willing to change history in his stories. So making a film about the death…

The Witcher: Blood of Elves (1994) by Andrzej Sapkowski

Where the first two novels in THE WITCHER series were short story collections, the bulk of the series is the five-novel saga that follows them, starting here with BLOOD OF ELVES. Structurally, it makes for quite a change. Gone are the charms of author Andrzej Sapkowski’s riffs on fairytales, gone is the tightness of structure…