4Q 2018 Twitter Film Reviews

It’s time for this blog’s version of a clip show – time to review my last three months at the cinema.

#BirdBox Intriguing, often compelling, yet somewhat disappointing. Bullock is as good as ever and the premise was simple yet scary. The flashbacks in particular weren’t well-developed and fell victim to horror cliches and predictability. Needed to see (pun intended?) more. 2.5/5*

#CrazyRichAsians is delightful, if a bit overrated. The story you’ve seen before, often with the exact same beats. But seldom has it been so well done. From the acting and chemistry among its principles to the dazzling cinematography, all aspects of the film are elevated. 3.5/5*

#Aquaman The visuals are stunning, especially when seen on IMAX. Unfortunately, virtually nothing else works in this film. As is typical with DC, far too many story fragments are packed in with not nearly enough character development. Dialogue is irredeemably awful. 1/5*

#MaryPoppinsReturns Musicals, particularly on film, have never been my thing, but I enjoyed this one. Blunt managed to both perfectly emulate Andrews while adding her own spin, Miranda was delightful and the numbers paid homage, while updating for the 21st century. 3/5*

#TheManWhoInventedChristmas is a clever and enjoyable revisiting of the classic story, and works well as a showcase for writer frustration. Dan Stevens plays both sweet and sour as Dickens, while Plummer’s Scrooge is the most interesting version of that character ever. 3.5/5*

#TheMule A tonal, meandering mess, but one I enjoyed the hell out of watching. Amazing to see Eastwood back on film and, somehow, this felt more personal than some of his past work. 3/5*

#EighthGrade Thank the film gods for independent flicks, because this just wouldn’t have worked in Hollywood. The story is raw, uncompromised and feels as real as it gets. Makes us GenXers wonder what our lives would have been like with social media back then. Compelling. 4/5*

#TheKindergartenTeacher only works because of Maggie Gyllenhaal’s performance, which is beyond spectacular. The questions the film poses are compelling, the ending appropriate but unfulfilling. But watching Gyllenhaal’s full acting range makes it all worthwhile. 3/5*

#Creed2 Ain’t no sophomore slump, rather, builds on the reboot’s origins and really makes them come alive. MBJ comes into his own as a star, and the chemistry among the cast crackles throughout the variety of compelling themes presented. The fight scenes were breathtaking. 4/5*

#Split It’s ridiculous that James McAvoy didn’t get any awards attention; this film is a huge showcase for the man’s many talents. Intriguing story too; works well on a couple of levels, thanks to the return to form for M. Night. Anya Taylor-Joy needs to get more jobs too. 3.5/5*

#TheBalladOfBusterScruggs gives us the full range of The Brothers Coen, from the dark & twisted to the funny & quirky, joyful, mournful, creepy & all the shades of grey in between, with a cast of true heavyweight thespians along for the ride. @netflix and chill – Coen style. 4/5*

#22July is an absolute must-see. One of the best pieces on terrorism, and how to beat them, that I’ve ever seen, which is hugely important in today’s xenophobic climate. Gritty, honest performances from its leads which make it hard to watch at times. Which, it should be. 4.5/5*

#Widows tries too hard, but to do what I’m not sure. It’s packed with exposition and doesn’t know what it’s trying to be, and so much got lost in the clutter. Also not entirely sure what the purpose of THAT twist was at all. Still, some great performances and photography. 2/5*

#FantasticBeasts is yet another example of a billion dollar franchise writing a film whose only purpose is to set the table for future flicks. Rowling and co need to remember what made Harry great – each book had its own story while still building the world. This didn’t work 2/5*

#OutlawKing Another impressive addition to Chris Pine’s rapidly expanding filmography, the film is photographed beautifully (including a spectacular oner to open it) and has a compelling story to tell. Would like to have seen Robert’s motivation developed more. 2.5/5*

#TheGirlInTheSpidersWeb wants to be slick & cool, but is disjointed & drab. Foy does her level best and delivers a compelling Salander, but there’s little for other characters to do & the story is lost before it gets out of the overlong first act. Script needed major work. 1.5/5*

#BohemianRhapsody The music, of course, is fantastic, and well placed throughout the movie. Rami Malek is a revelation and should have a good shot at an Oscar nom. The two together pull it off, and keep the film entertaining, even if the story and characters are paper thin. 3/5*

#GoodbyeChristopherRobin The film works best when father and son are alone on screen together. The story is a compelling one, but languishes at points, feeling too self-important. Robbie plays her character well, but she really has no purpose in the film, which feels odd. 2.5/5*

#HunterKiller An old school action movie that moves at top speed with some interesting twists. Try not to think too hard about it. Decent enough performances, good photography. In the end, a lot of fun, and need to see it at the theater. 2.5/5*

#AStarIsBorn is run by its performances, particularly the transformative turn by Cooper and the confident one by Gaga. Cooper’s directing was solid as well, and the music was (of course) terrific. The story needed some re-pacing; big moments in the third act felt unearned. 3.5/5* (Upon further review, dropped this grade to a 3).

#ShortTerm12 Beautiful character study, which does a great job revealing them over the course of the film without seeming obvious about it. Brie Larson is amazing, even better than she was in Room. The story is unsure of its direction, much like the characters themselves. 4/5*