Movies reviews

  • Spirited

    Watched on

    7

    A musical version of Charles Dickens's story of a miserly misanthrope who is taken on a magical journey.

    Spirited

    Review

    This musical reimagination of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is a fresh and modern take, with a twist. Ryan Reynolds steals the show as the pertinent cynical media consultant "Scrooge". It's very well produced, with many contemporary nods and twists on the well-known story. It drags on a little too long, but overall it's fun with some decent musical numbers. Good afternoon.

  • Comet

    Watched on

    6

    Set in a parallel universe, Comet bounces back and forth over the course of an unlikely but perfectly paired couple's six-year relationship.

    Comet

    Review

    This is a beautiful-looking movie, with bright cinematography and abstractly framed shots. It almost descends into pretentiousness but the rather lighthearted nature of the story deftly avoids the pitfall.

    The story mixes up past/present/future as a strange relationship evolves before us. From an unexpected encounter, we follow their unusual beginnings – the most interesting part of the story – and their breakup. It also sprinkles a cosmic/fate circumstance throughout.

    Both leads (Justin Long and Emmy Rossum) do surprisingly well, which is lucky considering they have to carry the entire movie. They manage to instil nuance in the different phases of their life and relationship that made it obvious how things had changed; from the easy-going beginning, to the confrontational, to accepting a more mature platonic relationship.

    There are some wonderful conversations and monologues which sound thoughtful but don't quite offer much insight. I expected a more profound story that held my attention way more than it actually did. There were many hints of a deeper meaning intertwined in the story, but none of them actually resolved in a satisfactory way.

    It lacks the teeth of Blue Valentine and the whimsical nature of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, both of which handle the same type of relationship story, albeit in drastically different ways. Overall, it's an interesting watch but more for the visuals than the story and message.

  • The Kid Detective

    Watched on

    6

    A once-celebrated kid detective, now 32, continues to solve the same trivial mysteries between hangovers and bouts of self-pity. Until a naive client brings him his first 'adult' case, to find out who brutally murdered her boyfriend.

    The Kid Detective

    Review

    A noir detective movie that reminded me of Rian Johnson's Brick. Adam Brody is phenomenal as the downbeat titular character. There are some odd straight-played jokes that elicit a reaction and break the general downtrodden tone – similar to The Nice Guys. Aside from the quirky characters, it’s distinctly average with a rather flat story and lacking style.

  • Ted K

    Watched on

    7

    An exploration of Ted Kaczynski's life in Lincoln, Montana in the years leading up to his arrest as The Unabomber.

    Ted K

    Review

    This is a leisurely-paced and rather myopic biopic about the recluse known as the unabomber. Sharlto Copley portrays Ted Kaczynski in an impressive performance which is subtle but features a decent range – expressing quiet seething anger throughout.

    There is some repetition in the story, with multiple scenes showing his contrast in lifestyle versus those he seeks to destroy. The screenplay is one-sided, not really exploring his family relationship nor the outcome of his attacks or media coverage.

    The standout production dynamic was the great use of sound to convey the dramatic differences between the tranquil life coveted by the antagonist and the monstrous distractions of heavy machinery invading nature; planes, forestry vehicles, snowmobiles and motorbikes.

  • Kajillionaire

    Watched on

    7

    A woman's life is turned upside down when her criminal parents invite an outsider to join them on a major heist they're planning.

    Kajillionaire

    Review

    A struggling family bend their morals and scams the system to survive. This is a wonderfully odd movie. It has Wes Andserson-inspired characters but is set in the modern world. The misfortunate and penniless family we follow is full of character and are upbeat, contrasting with their gloomy situation.

    There is odd physical comedy – which first appears out of context, then the punchline is revealed. There is their bizarre dress sense. There are weird names and strange scenarios.

    Evan Rachel Wood plays a quiet role as she breaks free from her parents to form her own oddball relationship. Richard Jenkins steals the show as the hopefully opportunistic father, barely holding the family together.

    There are so many small moments but they add up and reflect on each other throughout. Contrary to the characters and their situation, the overall tone of the movie is oddly optimistic.

    Odd.