Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Walt Disney, part XV: I said, "if"

CINDERELLA

Disney, already clawing its way out of its early grave, came roaring back to life in one of their two closest bids at "masterpiece" in a whole half-century's worth of trying.

1950
Directed by Clyde Geronomi, Hamilton Luske, and Wilfred Jackson

Spoiler alert: she still has the other shoe

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Neighbors


ONCE UPON A TIME... IN HOLLYWOOD

I never thought I'd be checking my watch during a Tarantino film, but here we are.

2019
Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino

Spoiler alert: high

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Walt Disney, part XIV: You can't reason with a headless man


THE ADVENTURES OF ICHABOD AND MR. TOAD

Half a masterpiece is still something to celebrate, and Disney closed the 1940s out stronger than it had been in years.

1949
Directed by Jack Kinney, Clyde Geronomi, and James Algar

Spoiler alert: moderate

Monday, July 22, 2019

Walt Disney, part XIII: Trees, underwear, and America


MELODY TIME

Great: another half-good, half-crap Disney package film.  Oh, Melody Time.  Whatever shall we do with you?

1948
Directed by Jack Kinney, Clyde Geronomi, Hamilton Luske, Wilfred Jackson, and William Morgan

Spoiler alert: moderate

Sunday, July 21, 2019

The karate kid


THE ART OF SELF DEFENSE

A dark and weird comedy with a point—but probably the most consistently funny thing we'll get this year, so happily it's that kind of "dark and weird comedy with a point"—The Art of Self Defense has a lot on its mind, but lays it out with stark clarity, surprising precision, and strong laughs.

2019
Written and directed by Riley Stearns

Spoiler alert: moderate

Walt Disney, part XII: What was the name of this movie again?


FUN AND FANCY FREE

Breezy and likeable, Fun and Fancy Free is exactly what we needed as we move through the dark days of Disney during the late 1940s.

1947
Directed by Jack Kinney, Bill Roberts, Hamilton Luske, and William Morgan

Spoiler alert: moderate

Friday, July 19, 2019

Walt Disney, part X: Ain't no rule says a whale can't sing at the Met


MAKE MINE MUSIC

Though blessed with at least one genuine high point, and even a few good bits after that, for the most part this anthology isn't even up-and-down, it's mostly one single flat, boring line, spread across some of the most disposable animation in the whole Disney canon.

1946
Directed by Jack Kinney, Clyde Geronomi, Hamilton Luske, and Joshua Meador

Spoiler alert: moderate

Monday, July 15, 2019

Walt Disney, part IX: I mean, has anyone ever been to Baía?


THE THREE CABALLEROS

The package film era of Disney at its most playful, of course that must be very playful indeed.  Tastes may vary on whether that makes The Three Caballeros actually good or not, but, heck, it's certainly something to see.

1944 Mexico/1945 USA
Directed by Norman Ferguson

Spoiler alert: inapplicable in the extreme

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Apex predator all day


CRAWL

A fun, disciplined trifle, Crawl knows what you want and gives it to you reasonably good and fairly hard.

2019
Directed by Alexandre Aja
Written by Shawn Rasmussen and Michael Rasmussen

Spoiler alert: moderate

Friday, July 12, 2019

Europe after the rain (turns out to be mildly damp)


SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME

Man, do even I have superhero fatigue now?

2019
Directed by Jon Watts
Written by Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers

Spoiler alert: high

Sunday, July 7, 2019

This story has never ended


MIND GAME

Still Yuasa's masterpiece, after all these years.

2004 (Japan)/2018 (seriously?) (USA)
Written and directed by Masaaki Yuasa (based on the comic by Robin Nishi)

Spoiler alert: kind of N/A, really, but I guess let's say moderately highish

Summer dreams ripped at the seams, but oh—those summer nights


MIDSOMMAR

While never managing to become "more," and prompting the question, "why do you need it to be 'more' anyway, Ari?", Midsommar is a hell of a good horror film in The Wicker Man vein, and that's still fresh enough that it doesn't matter too much what else is wrong with it.

2019
Written and directed by Ari Aster

Spoiler alert: moderate, though I just mentioned it's a Wicker Man rip-off, so, you know... there's that

Saturday, July 6, 2019

The little mermaid


LU OVER THE WALL

"Oh, boy, it's one of these animes, huh?" is exactly what I said, but as it happens, it is, and it's pretty great anyway.

2017 Japan/2018 USA
Directed by Masaaki Yuasa
Written by Reiko Yoshida and Masaaki Yuasa

Spoiler alert: moderate

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

That rose-colored campus life


THE NIGHT IS SHORT, WALK ON GIRL

A movie of seemingly boundless energy and possibility, Night doesn't always live up to its own potential—nor always put its money where its mouth is, and there's a good twenty minutes in the middle where it's not doing either one—but that doesn't mean it's not one of the most essential animated films of the last year, or even the last decade.

2017 Japan/2018 USA
Directed by Masaaki Yuasa
Written by Makoto Ueda (based on the novel by Tomihiko Morimi)

Spoiler alert: moderate