dir. Sam Liu. Fascinating concept, what if Kal-El had landed in the Soviet Union instead of the USA. The first half is brilliant, and feels like a logical exploration of the core idea. Then too many characters are introduced, and it devolves into any generic superhero film. Some wonderful art direction, but the animation is often very weak. I would love to see a live action adaptation that changes the plot of the second and third acts into something more sophisticated. 


dir. Leigh Whannell. Some genuinely scary moments, cheapened slightly by the jump-scare sound cues. The extended moments of silence build real suspense, and the movie is best when it lingers, and lets your eyes search the screen for hints of movement. Some annoying frustrating pot-holes and turns. Elisabeth Moss does sane woman in a mad world very well. It never gets to the imaginative heights or psychology of the 1933 Claude Rains film, and becomes more action than thriller. 


dir. Francis Annan. I love a good prison break movie, and this movie really scratched that itch. The political background is fascinating, giving more details to the struggle against Apartheid. Daniel Radcliffe’s South African accent is distracting at first, but then becomes natural. The central plot around the creation of wooden keys is fascinating, and filled with tension. I really enjoyed this. I know that Daniel Radcliffe has an acting life beyond Harry Potter, but I did find myself wondering more than once what an Escape from Azkaban movie would be like. The voice-over narration is not needed at all, and the movie would be better without it. The use of Mozart is wonderful.

ONWARD (2020)

dir. Dan Scanlon. For a movie with such a fantastical setting, this is one truly dull film. The overall fantasy setting has an unbearably generic feeling. Possibly the most egregious example of Pixar star casting — Tom Holland and Chris Pratt are tedious and bland. It tries to be a comedy, but is painfully unfunny. It’s interesting that the strongest moments of the film have no dialogue. The movie tries some interesting things at the end, but there is no emotional foundation to build on, so it’s wasted. Interesting use of rock music early on, that is quickly dropped, replaced with a dull orchestral score. Some very weird musical choices in the climax scenes. Unforgivable waste of Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s talents. 
#onward #danscanlon #2020


dir. Jeff Fowler. The long run of bad movies based on video games continues, I hope THE LAST OF US movie breaks that pattern. It’s disappointing that from such extra source material like Sonic, they made such a dull fish-out-of-water storyline. It follows the model of E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL (1982) , where audience-stand-in-character discovers an alien and has to help it escape the government, except this time it’s a boring small town cop. The Sonic games are filled with dazzling colorful worlds, original electronic music, this movie takes no advantage of that. The only bright spots are Jim Carrey chewing the scenery.