Categories
Capsule

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (2022)

Puss in Boots 2 is:

The best movie in the Shrek franchise.

The best Dreamworks movie since How to Train Your Dragon 2, maybe 1.

The best mainstream American animated movie since Spider-Verse, and possibly as far back as the early 2010s.

A vessel for the best animated villain in so long I can’t even think of the last one better than this — you might have to go to the Disney Renaissance.

And, in all seriousness, maybe the best movie of 2022.

Categories
Capsule

Moonfall (2022)

I understand there’s a sense of nostalgia around these dumb, effects-heavy, non-superhero blockbusters. But this is just a far worse Independence Day (you gotta love that downgrade from young Will Smith to Patrick Wilson) with a little bit of Contact sprinkled in there, blended into the stupidest possible slurry. And it’s not even that fun. There are a few cool images, and the score gave me goosebumps once or twice, but that’s it.

Categories
Capsule

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (2022)

There’s not a single thing I like more here than in Knives Out, but I do like almost everything almost as much. The two big exceptions are the over-obvious satire (I can feel Rian Johnson whispering “really makes ya think, huh” in my ear as I watch) and the disappointing ending. But it’s still pretty gripping storytelling for most of its (overlong) runtime.

Categories
Capsule

What is a Woman? (2022)

Most large publications have avoided reviewing What is a Woman?, and with good reason: It is very clearly a piece of hate-fomenting and fearmongering propaganda against transgender people.

I’m not sure why I watched it (rest assured I found a way to view it without putting a penny in its creators’ pockets), but since I did, I have the choice between ignoring it or condemning it. I’m not going to write a full review of it or put it on the site’s front page, but I do want to notate that it is the worst and most angering film I’ve seen all year. It fails to achieve any rhetorical goals. It is not intellectually curious. It does not raise thought-provoking points. It simply rehashes hate speech and misinformation we’ve seen a million times. This is no Riefenstahl situation where there’s cinematic genius leveraged by a hateful political mission. It’s just a bad film, a YouTube video essay with a budget. No more sophisticated than that.

There are challenging, complicated questions to answer in a world where definitions and perceptions of gender are rapidly changing. And there are affirming ways to ask and answer these questions without dehumanizing trans and nonbinary people. This so-called documentary is not interested in doing so. It just provides an echo-chamber to make it easier for bigots to stay bigoted; and, worse, people who might genuinely want to understand these concepts better to avoid confronting their own biases and prejudices.

Don’t make the mistake I did and give it any of your spare time or brainwaves.

Categories
Legacy Capsule

The Dancing Pig (1907)

The Dancing Pig is a goofy little early film capturing a vaudeville-type stage dance — except one of the dancers is in an elaborate pig costume. I’m not enough of an early cinema history buff to declare this best costume ever filmed up to this point, but it’s gotta be up there — especially the cursed-looking teeth and tongue.

Categories
Legacy Capsule

Machete (Grindhouse Trailer) (2007)

I haven’t seen Grindhouse, but my understanding is that it works as more than the sum of its parts, crafting a fantasy B-movie universe to dive into.

Categories
Legacy Capsule

Frozen Fever (2015)

Mostly harmless but bland to the point of brain rot.

A C-tier Lopez song, lots of rehashed/remixed gags and shots from the original Frozen, and a plot you’d expect to see in the third season of a sitcom. (Why does Elsa start acting drunk when she gets a cold?)

The booger snow monsters could have been fun-weird but are just boring-weird.

The only thing I unreservedly like is Elsa’s new green dress, which should probably show you the storytelling sophistication we’re dealing with here.


April 2022 update:

My four-year-old daughter specifically requested we watch this again. I try not to force my opinions on her, so I obliged without comment. But I asked her why.

“The snowgies are weird,” she said.

“And that’s good?” I asked.

“Yes. I like it when they’re weird. I wish I had Elsa’s powers so I could do weird things with it,” she said.

I was so proud. I’m gonna need to put together an age-organized curriculum of weird movies to keep her on this train.

Categories
Legacy Capsule

Far From the Tree (2021)

As expressive as the raccoons are…

As compelling as the visual allegory is and how much I vibe with parenting stories like this…

As much as I love seeing new hand-drawn animation projects with clear budget and love and artistry behind them…

The stuttery effect of the character animation absolutely ruined my pleasure watching this. I truly cannot understand what artistic effect they were trying to achieve, because it distracted me the entire time.

Categories
Legacy Capsule

Beauty and the Beast (1991)

I watched this with my daughters, and it helped me rediscover the fear and romance and hope for redemption baked into the story. The script, characters, and music are all so timeless and perfect.

Categories
Capsule Legacy Podcast Rating

Summertime (1955)

The screenplay is unfortunately quite a bit prosaic. None of the characterization is strong enough for us to really buy into the romance or Hepburn’s self-discovery.

But the footage of Venice in over-saturated Technicolor? Holy moley. I fell in love with the city all over again. Lean captures it with an intoxicating, almost delirious, beauty. *swooning, nostalgic sigh*