Us (2019)

[spoilers for the film] Where Jordan Peele’s first film, “Get Out”, was a focused, direct horror imbibed with specific social commentary, his second film, “Us”, is a murkier entity. It’s much more a genre piece, focused on visceral scares and weighed down by that structural loop of simpler horror affairs (a fright, normalcy simmers down…

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018)

The lead-up to the film saw arguments over whether it would lean more on the charming and remarkably self-sustained (that is, not affected with prequel-itis) documenting magical beasts story, or the nascent magical fascism civil war story. Insanely, the film seems not too interested either, and much more interested in droning explanations of magical bloodlines…

First Reformed (2018)

A gnawing sense of tension slowly ramps up throughout the entirety of “First Reformed”, until the last twenty minutes became unbearable in their oppressive dread. Ethan Hawke’s Reverend Toller has lost his son, his sense of purpose, the love of self needed to maintain relationships, the institutions of the world have failed him, and his…

Eighth Grade (2018)

The empathy quotient for this film is so high it’s legitimately difficult to watch. The veracity and verisimilitude with witch director Bo Burnham and revelatory star Elsie Fisher imbue the film is so real it feels unreal; everything, from the cast playing their actual ages, to the realistic stumbling and odd noises in dialogues, to…

Stan & Ollie (2018)

A charming little bittersweet look at the latter years of Laurel and Hardy, more an excuse to have Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly do their takes on them more than anything else I suspect. The film’s own story, dwelling mostly in their less successful 1950s after a brief prologue of their success in the…

Vice (2018)

A sprawling assault on the senses that doesn’t so much try to make sense of Dick Cheney’s life as it does serve as much a smorgasbord of his life, and how it affected the lives of others, as it could in its 130 minutes. Director/writer Adam McKay comes off a high with the success of…

Green Book (2018)

Two excellent actors doing great work with what material they’re given isn’t enough to make this would-be feel-good throwback to 1980s style racism morality tales (if one white person can overcome their racism towards one black person, racism is solved!) heartwarming in the way it so clearly wishes to be. It’s no surprise that director…