Sunday, January 22, 2023

The mountains and the sea


DECISION TO LEAVE

2022
Directed by Park Chan-wook
Written by Jeong Seo-kyeong and Park Chan-wook

Spoilers: moderate (maybe high)

Friday, January 20, 2023

Reviews from gulag: 2022's junk drawer, part 1

There is unfortunately no theme I can think of to bind the following reviews together besides "they're all animated," and, hell, none are even animated in the same medium.  I don't know, maybe the theme is "they are actually good in inverse proportion to how much they're appreciated," but that's just the theme of, like, all fucking existence.  Nevertheless, here's reviews of Guillermo Del Toro's Pinocchio, Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood, and DC League of Super-Pets.

GUILLERMO DEL TORO'S PINOCCHIO

The fact that it's named Guillermo Del Toro's Pinocchio is a tiny bit aggravating, not least because it's reminiscent of Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas, another stop-motion animated film attributed to a celebrated Gothic dark fantasy filmmaker who has no business claiming sole authorship of itMark Gustafson co-directed, and given the technology, I strongly expect he did more than "co-direct"but you know, it gets a pass.  2022 was lousy with Pinocchios, and there was obviously a need for Del Toro and Netflix to differentiate it from the other ones.   These include a cheapo Russian cash-in with Pauly Shore, and, even more depressingly, Robert Zemeckis's quintuple-down on poorly-received disaster-projects, coming in the form of Disney's remake of their own 1940 Pinocchio that's so plainly bad that you don't need to see it, you can smell it from afar.  It is entirely probable that GDelT's P (hereafter just Pinocchio, thanks) is indeed the best of these.  It has been anointed such, and, because Del Toro fanboys are everywhereeven people who historically have not been fanboys for the extremely-uneven, I'm-gonna-just-put-it-out-there-not-that-good filmmaker have turned out to have nursed a secret desire to join the clubit has been anointed one of the year's great animated films.  I can sort of see the impulseit's been a very bad year for animation (though I'm not sure "more than half of 2022's major animated features are mediocre or worse" is the consensus).  But, you know, I'm particularly enervated by the applause Del Toro has managed to gather upon himself on social media by taking the brave, heretical stand that "animation is a medium, not a genre!", which in A.D. 2022 is such a lamely self-impressed "cow says moo!" thing to say that I doubt it would ever occur to, for instance, Phil Tippet to actually voice it; I'm also not sure why Del Toro, adapting children's literature, thinks he has somehow not made a children's movie.  Is it just because his titular character and his titular character's sidekick are uglier than typical?

Monday, January 16, 2023

The Rock and eternity


BLACK ADAM

2022
Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra
Written by Adam Sztykiel, Rory Haines, and Sohrab Norshirvani

Spoilers: moderate

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Once upon a time in Hollywood


BABYLON

2022
Written and directed by Damien Chazelle

Spoilers: high, sortaI'm not going to actually spoil the plot, such as it is, but there's just no point in writing about this without writing about the last ten minutes, and I guess you probably ought to see it as unsullied as possible, so I'll try to section it off

Tuesday, January 3, 2023