Monday, December 31, 2018

Love you wife


THE ABYSS

Now, the box office doesn't bear this out, and reasonable minds can differ, but if you were to ask me, James Cameron's career through the 80s and its holdover years in the 90s was one of unstoppable ascent, each picture being better than his last.  But even if his fourth film didn't stay his best film (though it gives his fifth, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, which did remain his best, a very serious run for its money), then, for the sheer difficulty of its achievement, The Abyss remains Cameron's most impressive work—and his most personal.

1989 (theatrical release)/1992 (the proper, finished film, as people watch it today)
Written and directed by James Cameron

Spoiler alert: severe

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Hearts in Atlantis


AQUAMAN

The DCEU comes roaring back to life with superheroes the way they were meant to be, and this time I think we can actually all agree on that.

2018
Directed by James Wan
Written by David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick, Will Beall, Geoff Johns, and James Wan

Spoiler alert: moderate

It's shite being Scottish


MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS

In case Wikipedia goes down, there's still Mary Queen of Scots.

2018
Directed by Josie Rourke
Written by Beau Willimon (based on the book Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart by John Guy)

Spoiler alert: a Stuart and their head are often soon separated

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Does whatever a multiverse can


SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE

Basically a piece of experimental animation they spent 90 million dollars on, believe the hype—Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is amazing, spectacular, and every other adjective you may have heard about it.

2018
Directed by Bob Perschietti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman
Written by Phil Lord and Rodney Rothman

Spoiler alert: moderate

Monday, December 17, 2018

I'm saying she was "the Mistress of the Robes," yeah? "Keeper of the Privy Purse," "Groom of the Stole," "Lady of the Bedchamber"... if you know what I mean


THE FAVOURITE

Our reminder that it is not only power that corrupts, but lack of power, too, The Favourite wallows in the sickness of humankind.  But (importantly) always in an amusing way.

2018
Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos
Written by Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara
With Olivia Colman (Anne Stuart, Queen of Great Britain and Ireland), Rachel Weisz (Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough), Emma Stone (Abigail Hill), James Smith (Sidney Godolphin, Earl of Godolphin), and Nicholas Hoult (Robert Harley, Earl of Oxford)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Monday, December 10, 2018

Sure, but the CGI on the kid is amazing


MOWGLI: LEGEND OF THE JUNGLE

Even with the anti-hype machine in full swing, I held fast to my faith in Andy Serkis' Mowgli as the better of the two Jungle Books we were going to get this decade.  Unfortunately, I can't say my faith was wholly justified, even if Mowgli does offer a fair amount to enjoy.

2018
Directed by Andy Serkis
Written by Callie Kloves (based on stories by Joseph Rudyard Kipling)
With Rohan Chand (Mowgli), Christian Bale (Bagheera), Andy Serkis (Baloo), Peter Mullan (Akela), Naomie Harris (Nisha), Louis Ashborne Serkis (Bhoot), Cate Blanchett (Kaa), Freida Pinto (Messua), Matthew Rhys (John Lockwood), Tom Hollander (Tabaqui), and Benedict Kumberbatch (Shere Khan)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Working for the weekend


WEEKEND AT BERNIE'S

One of the 80s' best-remembered comedies is not always considered one of its best, period, but damned if Weekend at Bernie's doesn't have one of that decade's better hooks, no matter what else is or isn't good about it.

1989
Directed by Ted Kotcheff
Written by Robert Klane
With Jonathan Silverman (Richard Parker), Andrew McCarthy (Larry Wilson), Catherine Mary Stewart (Gwen Saunders), and Terry Kiser (Bernard Lomax)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Just a worthless bum, alone on a pile of bricks


RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET

So the single worst movie of the year so far was the Disney cartoon?  Man, I had no great expectations, but I did not expect that.

2018
Directed by Rich Moore and Phil Johnston
Written by Jim Reardon, Pamela Reardon, Josie Trinidad, Rich Moore, and Phil Johnston
With John C. Reilly (Wreck-It Ralph), Sarah Silverman (Vannelope von Schweetz), Gal Gadot (Shank), Taraji P. Henson (Yesss), plus plenty of others, but let's not

Spoiler alert: moderate

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Because you're dangerous


CREED II

Released with the best sense of timing that just about any film's ever had, what would've already been (let's not say "just") a great and satisfying sequel in any other time and place becomes, in the November of 2018, something close enough to perfection to count.

2018
Directed by Steven Caple Jr.
Written by Juel Taylor and Sylvester Stallone
With Michael B. Jordan (Adonis "Donnie" Johnson), Sylvester Stallone (Robert "Rocky" Balboa), Tessa Thompson (Bianca), Phylicia Rashad (Mary Anne Creed), Wood Harris (Tony "Little Duke" Evers), Florian Munteanu (Viktor Drago), Dolph Lundgren (Ivan Drago), and Brigitte Nielsen (Ludmilla Drago)

Spoiler alert: moderate