This year built upon 2021 and continued the great covid movie recovery. First off, there were so many more releases this year than the previous two years; I will have to start coming up with a more intentional strategy on deciding which movies to watch as we hit post-covid levels of movie releases, especially as the new streaming release paradigm encourages even more movies to be made per year. Overall, I thought the average quality was a little lower this year, but we still got plenty of great films and a few masterpieces.
My favorite movie this year was unsurprisingly Everything Everywhere All At Once. I expect to see it win big at award ceremonies, deservedly so. Be sure to give it a watch. Additionally, the sequel to Avatar (blue people) and the newest reboot of Batman were big blockbuster productions that I thoroughly enjoyed seeing in theaters. Suprises this year included RRR, Prey, Bullet Trian, The Gray Man, and Do Revenge. Bollywood came through big internationally on RRR, and everyone should strap in and give it an open-minded try. Prey got a mild release and I figured it would be a simple reboot, but I was extremely impressed by the production choices and themes woven into it. I thought Bullet Train was going to be a goofy, cheap action movie but it masterfully interwove a plethora of characters into an extremely entertaining watch. The Gray Man was a random action movie release, but caught me completely off-guard with its acting and quality. At the end of the day it does fit into its genre as a shoot-em-up, but I thought it was a fantastic rendition. Finally, Do Revenge was so much more than a teen drama for the year. The themes it touched on and creative depth of plot were phenomenal. I came into it a little hesitant and almost turned it off at the beginning, but was so glad I stuck around for the end.
Overall, while I watched a lot of meh movies this year, I still think it was a good year for movies. Hopefully 2023 will show we have finished the great movie recovery and be an even better year.
Everything Everywhere All At Once - 9
Wow, that was good. Incredibly creative multiverse plot that masterfully wove its way through hard hitting themes on life, purpose, meaning, relationships, kindness, love, and parenthood. The acting was phenomenal, the cinematography and special effects were praiseworthy, and production value was top notch. The action / fight choreography was a bit goofy at times for the quality the movie was putting out, but I took that as a call back to film history and a stylistic choice. The way EEAAO used an entertaining plot to deliver such deep themes in a visually stunning package makes it one of the best movies I’ve seen in a while. Absolute must watch.
The Whale - 8.5
What an incredible movie... That was definitely some of the best acting I’ve seen. Performance of a lifetime indeed. Can confirm, I definitely cried. The themes were so potent. My emotions surrounding the human condition, despair, and love were so torn up during this seemingly simple plot. The only single complaint I had was some of the dialogue felt like it told the story a little too clearly and straightforward, which at times felt a little less perfect. It truly was honest writing, and I’m forever changed having seen this.
The Batman - 8
Masterful start to another reboot of everyone’s favorite dark knight. Twilight boy did a great job. Footage was dark, but incredibly shot. Included some impactful themes about vengeance, good and evil. A definite watch, and left me excited to see what they do in the next chapter.
Avatar: The Way of Water - 8
Fantastic movie. We got exactly what I wanted out of it. Good plot, fantastic visuals. Surprisingly complex familial themes which I still don’t know how I felt about. No spoilers here, but everyone should watch for the visuals alone.
RRR - 7.5
Remarkable. Remarkable. Remarkable. RRR is a Tollywood (Telugu cinema) action movie so prepare yourself for ludicrous scenes that jump-the-shark immediately. Once you get yourself in the right mindset, then this movie becomes an absolute blast of a time. An interesting plot about saving a girl from colonial Britain along with a dual sided friendship with all sorts of bends and turns along the way. Great movie for what it is, strongly recommend.
Prey - 7.5
Surprisingly good movie! I wasn’t sure how’d they follow up predator but I loved it. Incorporated some basic gender roles themes in there and it does get kudos for being the first movie to release a full dub in Comanche. There was only one or two things that were unrealistic about the action- the rest of it was phenomenal and required minimal suspended disbelief which was refreshing. Lots of great landscape shots and impressive acting. Would certainly recommend.
Bullet Train - 7.5
Super fun action movie that had me smiling the whole time. Fantastic visuals. It did a superb job of taking so many characters and giving succinct, impressive backstories for all of them. It took a small ensemble of characters and just had a ton of fun with all of them. I loved the style and vibe. The movie fell off a bit at the end, but was still lots of fun overall.
Puss and Boots: The Last Wish - 7.5
Great stuff! Typical plot, goofy humor, great action, stellar animation, solid themes for a movie targeting children. The decision to have the wolf as anthropomorphized death was clever and absolutely awesome. Everything I could want out of this movie, it delivered. Strongly recommend.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever - 7.5
Great follow up to the Marvel hit. The transition for life after Boseman was quick and clean. Character development on the main and side characters was impressive. In fact, the major roles which many side characters played, each getting deep personalities and development, was probably the most impressive part. The acting was great, even outside of viewing this as a Marvel movie. The bad guy addition was a bit of a stretch at times but overall interesting. Resolution was not my favorite, but overall the plot was good enough that it’s ok. I was a bit nervous to see what they’d do here, but was overall impressed.
Glass Onion - 7.5
Great stuff here. It changed up expectations enough and wasn’t super predictable, or even a necessarily normal plot progression. Fantastic acting all around. Fun script, beautiful island, and clever twists. Not anything completely new, but there were enough novel elements that made the film thoroughly entertaining the whole way through. Strong recommend.
The Gray Man – 7.5
A movie that follows many of the tropes and patterns of an over the top action / rescue movie. Keeping in mind the genre that it is, it was actually superb. Great bad guy in Evans, some lines that transcended the genre to be genuinely well written dialogue, and phenomenal action clips. The movie it lots of fun, and I would strongly recommend. (Note: I have almost certainly let my personal enjoyment and comparison within the genre inflate the rating here- you have been warned)
Top Gun: Maverick - 7
U.S. military propoganda round 2: back and better than ever! This was suprisingly great. I actually think this was better than the original. Glad I watched it in theaters. If you've seen the OG, I strongly recommend giving this a watch as well.
The Banshees of Inisherin - 7
A movie about interpersonal relationships on an island of the coast of Ireland. The progression is slow, and practically without plot. It is not a Hollywood-style comedy, yet it is hilarious for a while there. It delves into some solid themes on friendship, individuality vs. community, one’s legacy, loneliness, and revenge. Character development was a bit steep towards the end, although perhaps that was the point. Interesting film that was slow and about a boring subject, but was thought-provoking and beautifully crafted.
Do Revenge - 7
The vibe was definitely a teen movie. At first it was a bit much for me, but a little over halfway through the movie, I converted into loving it. The movie contains some typical themes surrounding teen drama, but also delves into some good patriarchy themes. The plot of original and highly engaging, even though it was completely teenage focused. I hate movies trying to make the audience relate to trust fund kids, but it was an interesting portrayal nonetheless. Plenty of “woke” jokes were included which added to the fun. This movie was definitely a wild rollercoaster. So much sociopathy, so good.
Hustle - 6.5
A good Adam Sandler movie! And they said it wasn’t possible. I’m pretty sure Adam Sandler just likes the NBA a lot and made this movie so he could hang out with a bunch of the players and personalities. Story of a scout finding a unicorn and trying to get him into the NBA. Well done sports movie with some mild family themes. Nothing novel but a well produced, enjoyable film.
NOPE - 6.5
Jordan Peele’s next thriller. I love that the concepts are inventive and unique. Took a basic plot idea and made it interesting and engaging with all of the novel angles it took in executing. I thought it was a good movie that kept me enthralled the entire time even if the premise was something I would not typically want to watch. I liked all the parallels and creative touches that were added to the side stories, they added quality artistry. While not as good an overall product and plot as Peele’s best work, it was another good film that dares to branch out from safer projects.
Spiderhead - 6.5
Great psycho thriller that proposed a voluntary, state-of-the-art penitentiary where inmates get cushy lives in exchange for being experimented on by drugs. No novel themes were necessarily shown and it wasn’t anything exceptional in terms of plot, but it was a solid movie that was well done. Acting was strong and a balance of mystery and suspense was created throughout the film even if the overarching plot was relatively predictable. Overall, it was nothing crazy new but not bad at all.
Triangle of Sadness - 6.5
An out-of-the-box take on shipwrecked on an island, with pungent class themes. A whole lot of wild happens during the movie, all in an uncomfortable manner. Slow-burn chaos is the best way I could describe what I watched here. There are so many different themes to unpack throughout the course of the movie. It was well acted, had mildly creative cinematography choices, and absolutely evoked thoughts and emotions. Even after it ended, I still do not know how to feel about it. But I can’t deny it included a lot of quality things. Unique for sure, give it a watch and decide for yourself.
The Menu - 6.5
Super satirical thriller about ultra fine dining and socioeconomic classes. I loved the duality of both praise and absolute mockery to the culinary arts. The symbolism and themes on class and professional/artistic passion was not bad for a thriller-horror. I actually wanted a little more action for what it was and the genre. All in all, great for those who are into the foodie scene or thematic thrillers.
All Quiet on the Western Front - 6.5
Movie adaptation of the famous novel. It was a Great War movie following the quality of top notch films in the last few years like 1917. Portrayed the pointlessness and horrible atrocity’s of WW1 well. The film hinted and foreshadowed issues surrounding the decisions made during the armistice. However, the plot was basically just people dying. Maybe that’s the point, and also why I didn’t get the book as much. High quality movie. War is bad!
Elvis - 6.5
The film portrayed a variety of things well. It was able to invoke emotion and generate excitement. It also showed / gave credit to where Elvis got his music from, and it portrayed Elvis in a good light in this regard. Big themes centered around the start that was manipulated by his manager. Solid production, great glam. Impressive acting, except surprisingly I thought this was not the best performance from Hanks. Not game changing, but a good watch.
Argentina, 1985 - 6
True story about the legal aftermath of Argentina's bloody military dictatorship in the 1980's. The film made some cinematography choices that weren’t perfectly executed, but the subject manner was important and awesome. If historical legal dramas are your thing, this will be a great watch.
Thor: Love and Thunder - 6
It just missed the mark… Over and over the jokes just kinda missed. I’m not sure why it was so different from Ragnarok, but it just lost itself a bit. They went for some of the right things, but much of the character development felt forced, and it was a little dramatic without the necessary quality to back it. I’m mostly disappointed that somehow all the jokes just barely missed, and therefore the entire thing was meh.
Against the Ice - 6
A decent exploration story about how Greenland became Denmark’s territory instead of the America’s. It wasn’t over the top, save one moment, and touched on some more realistic struggles of pioneers. The acting was stellar, but admittedly, not a lot happened as far as plot. It was a great historical drama that did a good job of showing humanity at the extreme, but since it didn’t break moulds or have a standout plot, I would only recommend it to those who enjoy that type of story.
Lightyear - 6
It was the movie no one asked them to make… but it was actually pretty good. Of course there was a good deal of cheesy humor for the kids, but not a bad movie at all. Solid action, plot, and animation. Not sure how I fell about actors being voice actors (felt they could have been a bit better) but a decent job in this one.
The Northman - 6
Mystical Viking epic of revenge. The movie is more artistic then a standard plot driven action. It reminded me a bit of a Norse Macbeth, just without the Shakespeare prose. It gets weird at times and I wasn’t enthralled with the plot, but the film had quality production all around and warrants a watch for any fans of creative styled epics or Norse settings.
The Good Nurse - 5.5
Good drama about a prolific serial killer. Fantastic acting, interesting portrayal. The end is a bit strange, but I believe they are just trying to stay faithful to what actually happened. I didn't think the pacing or movie itself was very good, but it held my interest with the suspense and the acting was superb.
The Woman King - 5.5
Resistance movie from an African tribe during slave trade with an elite set of female warriors. Well done with some great fight choreography. Had some interesting family themes as well. Only a mediocre job of addressing the issues of the time and deeper themes on that, but it touched on them enough given the plot. Strong, empowering movie with epic action.
Luckiest Girl Alive - 5.5
Another solid take on sexual assault, adolescent trauma, and speaking out. This wasn’t my favorite version in recent years, and there were a variety of things about the film I didn’t love. I will give it credit for hitting its themes hard. This movie should definitely come with a trigger warning.
Umma - 5.5
Creative horror that symbolized the trauma our families and life can hold over us. The movie itself is an interesting concept which delivers us a horror movie literally manifesting the lasting impact an abusive mothers can have throughout generations. It was well acted, included powerful themes on parenting, and could be considered a decent thriller. While I wouldn’t call anything here amazing, it was definitely good.
See How They Run - 5.5
Interesting who-done-it based on the longest running theater play in the world: The Mousetrap. It wasn’t so much focused on the murder mystery, that aspect of the film was very so-so. However, it was chock full of literary devices and references. Catching the references was most of the fun. Must watch if you are a fan of the genre.
Vengeance - 5.5
Story about modern American themes. From beginning to end the movie just packed in themes. Some hard hitting, many just spoken theories and ideas woven into a plot medium. Quite a lot of the Texas vs city folk was stereotypical and generalized hyperbole, but it used it mostly for themes it wanted to build and didn’t go so far to ruin the themes that were developed. It was also funny at times. Not necessarily a truly deep, impressive film but it was actually a pretty decent thematic vehicle for modern political topics.
Amsterdam - 5.5
Oh my studded stars. The cast is absolutely jacked. It is an ok movie. The plot was a bit basic. The side triangle of friends not fully developed or well used, just a feature. I thought it not only spelled it out a bit too much at the end, but also did so in a manner that was a little too chaotic and cheesy. Lots of repetition in the dialogue, which I think was supposed to be a device, but ended up adding to the shallowness of theme delivery. The acting was strong and redeemed the film a bit. All in all, it is a mildly suspenseful, plot-driven movie with political themes with a fantastic cast resulting in a mid-tier time.
She Said - 5.5
A solid film on modern journalism. Nothing exceptional for the genre, but is a decent product. Good stuff if you aren’t familiar with the details of the #MeToo movement and the evidence that went into it.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness - 5
Wild Marvel ride. The movie seemed to try for a bit of a horror vibe which was interesting. Acting from the two leads was superb, and the cameo tie-ins were awesome. However, I thought many parts of the plot were a bit ridiculous, and they seemed to jump-the-shark just a little. The visuals were dramatic, but also got a bit too much at the end. All in all, the movie had some solid pros and major cons, netting out to a meh marvel rendition.
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent - 5
Hilariously self-aware film with some decently clever commentary on Hollywood / acting. Plenty of cute jokes are scattered throughout the movie and overall it is quite fun. That being said, it is not necessarily a good movie… nothing like the perfection which is Paddington 2. Still, the pure unadulterated self-awareness and a genuine attempt at some deeper themes gives it rights to be considered on your watch list.
Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio - 5
Interesting for sure. Definitely a Guillermo vibe. I liked some of the changes to make it interesting, but the WW2 addition was not good. Because we have to compare, Guillermo del Toro’s was better than Disney’s remake this year because at least it was different and had noteworthy innovations. The artistry that went into making the movie was at the least impressive. Not the biggest fan personally, but worth a watch if you like Guillermo or Pinocchio.
The Outfit - 5
Slow, but mindful crime drama all set in a singular location of a tailor’s, sorry cutter’s, shop. While the overarching endgame of the story was predictable, each scene stumbled upon itself with an anxious thrill of “what would happen next”, gripping the audience with intrigue at every upcoming act. There were some minor aspects in the backstory and acting that were weak, but the overall production value was good. While the movie wasn’t anything grand, it kept attention well and should be a good watch for anyone into a crime thriller.
Persuasion - 5
Jane Austen proves again that she can make literally the dumbest of lovers into an entertaining, romantic drama. Even though the entire plot was one long eye roll, the movie was well done with a strong performance from Dakota. In fact, it’s a primarily a decent movie because Dakota put the team on her back. Cute, funny watch if you are up for Austen.
The Secrets of Dumbledore - 5
Lots of opinions on this movie, but at the end of the day it is a meh movie. Unfortunately with all the casting changes and redirections that the franchise had made, the plot of the movie turned out to be terrible. The narrative didn’t really build off of two other movies at all… However, if you ignore all of that, and view it as a stand-alone Harry Potter movie, it was fine… I guess. Great world, interesting story (even if it didn’t make perfect sense and was pieced together) and had some great special effects. It is unfortunate they ruined the series because it would have been relatively simple to make it fantastic, but if I don’t allow myself to compare it to previous films, this specific film still had some good fun and included some awesome characters. If you love the world why not watch?! Otherwise, stick to the original Harry Potter series.
All the Old Knives - 4.5
Dramatic investigation in the aftermath of a terrorist attack. The storytelling was sporadic which was a little confusing. This storytelling followed a classic progression of revealing more and more as the film went on, I just felt they went too hard at the beginning and the movie was almost a third the way through before you were really following along. The plot had many elements of a back and forth subterfuge, with an additional layer of mystery that added to the dynamic. With reserved expectations, it is a reasonable watch.
The Adam Project - 4.5
Time travel action comedy with some solid fight sequences and humorous dialogue. The comedy between young and old protagonist is quite fun, but much of the movie is cheesy. If you want action movie fast food with some decent effects and fun humor then this is for you.
Operation Mincemeat - 4.5
Another secret operation during a world war for all the stakes of the war. A very mid movie of the genre, it held some suspense and was produced with enough quality to be an interesting watch. If you enjoy this genre then it is good enough to warrant a watch, but otherwise it does not deserve a strong recommendation.
Death on the Nile - 4.5
A decent who-done-it of a later Agatha Kristi book. This story had much more action and character building than Murder on the Orient Express, albeit was also more predictable. The acting was cheesy at times (looking at you Gal and Russel). I like these kinds of movies, so I’d say it is still worth a watch, just not necessarily a great of its genre.
Three Thousand Years of Longing - 4.5
Interesting mix between human desires and fantasy story. Told the story of a Jinn and his multiple attempts to find freedom. Unique narrative, and the short story sections were interesting, but the rest of the movie tried a little too hard to be thematic and philosophical without quite hitting the mark. The movie after the storytelling (last third of the movie) evolved in a predictable plot, and yet it still was missing some crucial development. I was engrossed in watching, but left wishing it was bit better.
Jogi - 4.5
Story about the 1984 Sikh riots in India. Classic Hotel Rwanda / Argo vibe. Production value seemed kinda low: a lot of the camera angles and cinematography decisions seemed cheap and didn’t pack the punch they were so obviously yearning to make. Instead of moving the viewer with emotional slow motion close shots, I just felt bored while waiting for the next scene. Some of the dramatic plot points were so ridiculous that it brought you out of the moment, which was unfortunate. Overall, it brings attention to a piece of history that other similar scenarios have already received (big plus) but missed the mark on quality a bit. It was by no means a low quality film per say, but just missed enough on production that it gets only a soft recommendation.
The Wonder - 4.5
Story of girl in Ireland who never ate and the nurse that was sent to watch her to find the truth. It was a well shot, well done period piece. The acting was ok. The story was honestly kinda bland and I felt it simply lacked something. Time was put into dramatized backstories which didn’t majorly improve or add anything to the movie. Admittedly, the ending helped salvage a long, dragging middle. While it was not great, it was also not terrible overall.
After Yang - 4.5
A thought experiment movie on when androids / clones become a part of society and the regular family dynamic. Quality cinematography. However, nothing really happened in the movie, the plot didn’t really make sense the entire time, and the themes were kinda light. It was like they had a clever idea for a short and turned it into a movie. Even with the slow pacing, it is a thought-provoking piece that had enough pathos to warrant a watch if existential or sci-fi philosophical is your vibe.
Turning Red - 4
Unlike most Pixar movies, this one is really only suitable for 15 and under. Fully focused on the target demographic, it was produced with a childish and cringy style. The beginning especially leaned into the pre-teen vibe, but the film finally arrived at some thought-provoking family themes at the end which redeemed the movie quite a bit. There were some shocking jokes that popped up randomly which were admittedly funny. This one is a hard pass to join your young children for, but that’s ok.
the 355 - 4
A typical special agent action movie, just with all female leads. It included many of the genre’s most basic tropes, and the movie was highly predictable. Not bad though for what it is I guess, it was enjoyable enough. Certain plot points were egregiously poor, like the sour love angle didn’t make any sense and just felt bad. If you want to see some cool women go pew pew then that would be the only real selling point.
Troll - 4
This was a weird but interesting concept. It started with a lot of promise, but went downhill in the end. Multiple scenes missed the mark on what they were trying to do. There were so many directions the plot could have taken us, but it stayed safely with the basic premise then entire time which ultimately failed to impress. Themes started to develop but never came to fruition. I will say, there were some phenomenal landscape shots. I liked that the movie gave a nice lens into visually seeing the under-used Norway and Oslo settings, but it was mostly a let-down to what I had hoped.
Causeway - 4
Story about a recovering veteran returning home and dealing with current / past trauma, while a developing friendship evolves. The movie had a silver linings playbook vibe, but I did not find it nearly as good. It did contain some decent themes on a types of trauma and recovery, but ultimately it was relatively basic on its insight into them. Production was fine, but nothing special. Worth a watch if looking for these themes, but not especially impressive outside of the genre.
Enola Holmes 2 - 4
Definitely for teens, but good. Not super quality and no real themes are included, but it is fun action and entertaining. Given target audience and what it is it’s not bad.
Watcher - 4
Believe your girl. People be crazy. Stalker horror movie that was decent. Nothing new or special, but not a bad rendition of the genre.
Kimi - 4
An agoraphobic stumbles upon a recording that leads to questions which put her in deep trouble. A modern tech twist on the Woman in the Window plus whistleblower action movie. There was nothing particularly novel or special about this rendition, but it was still a decent project. If you want a slight thriller in the technology landscape then give this a chance.
The Sea Beast - 4
This movie was basically ‘How to Train your Dragon’ with sea monsters. It was fine, but it was way too similar to a much better movie, and I couldn’t shake that comparison while viewing. A couple of the major points are supposed to hold dramatic weight, but they aren’t fleshed out well enough to give the desired effect.
Blonde - 3.5
Lots of crying. Lots. Of. Crying. The movie acted as a collection of Marilyn Monroe trauma. And it was such a long burn. A cruel dramatized, traumatic spiral into psychological destruction. The plot itself crammed all the rumors possible, because stick strictly to facts would have been super boring I guess. This included some aggressive takes on history, of which some may be true, but all almost certainly are not. The film tried semi-successfully to use a lot of different creative cinematography techniques throughout the movie to make it artsy. It hit hard on a few themes, and kept on hitting them on repeat. The acting was certainly fantastic, but the movie itself fell flat and had some major issues in how it presented itself.
Emily the Criminal - 3.5
Ok crime thriller. The film focused more about the struggle of lower class and a relationship than the crime itself. The plot takes a U-turn part way through the film but misses a strong driving force when it makes that 180. I don’t always know what to do about terrible protagonists getting the W at then end, but oh well. Overall, a meh movie.
White Noise - 3.5
What a weird movie. They had some very interesting themes, and I get what they were trying to do. However, it was way too weird and cringe at times for me. It is not a good thing when a comedy isn’t funny. Unless you really want 80’s vibes, some ridiculous plot points that are played out in the most bland way possible, and questionable themes on public crisis, conspiracy theories, marriage, and death all packaged in an unorthodox manner… then pass.
Pinocchio - 3.5
In general, I didn’t really like it. Tom Hanks is typically a great actor, but I thought his performance here was actually kinda bad. The voices felt strained and the high pitch choice was not for me. Many of the plot segments were eh, although the carriage man and fox part was good. While the focus of Pinocchio isn’t the soundtrack, the singing was terrible outside of Sabina’s song. All in all, it was fine, cute even. I personally did not enjoy it though for the reasons above.
Where the Crawdads Sing - 3.5
Relatively faithful retelling of a trendy novel. This one-dimensional film touches on themes of otherness and racism, but never dives in and instead keeps those difficult topics at arms length. The plot development left much to be desired and the ending was too predictable for a “clever” murder mystery.
Uncharted - 3.5
Not a terrible movie, but definitely not good. Video game movie adaptations never seem to be good. Although to be fair, this doesn’t really follow the games at all, just a similar adventure treasure hunter vibe. It is fun sure, but even cheesier than expected, and the acting was extraordinarily “eh”. One redeeming quality is that there is some solid action scenes with our suspended disbelief turned on full power.
Violent Night - 3
Ridiculous and cheesy shoot ‘em up. Not quality at all, but it was seasonal fun at least.
Black Adam - 3
Ya. So this wasn’t good. It wasn’t necessarily as terrible as some of the reviews it got, but I mean it definitely wasn’t good. Fun electricity CGI which DC seems to love, and some cool action, but overall wack, nonsensical plot and meh acting. The plot was basically a classic summon an old thing that’s jacked and then nonstop action, no thinking! The only good part of the movie was Pierce Brosnan, and there was only so much that side character really added. They have also already canned Black Adam, so do not recommend.
Ambulance - 3
Classic Michael Bay movie: unrealistic action, huge explosions, and adrenaline the whole way through. This one has cops, firefighters, and ambulances just to get all that sweet, EMS TV-show hype drawn into the audience. Expect what you see in the trailer. No depth here, just action and a 1+ hour long car chase. Gyllenhaal’s character has some hilarious lines in the middle of intense action that makes this non-comedy funny at times in a good way. Other scenes like surgery-over-the-phone was hilarious in the bad way. If you want pure adrenaline and cheap explosions then this is the movie of the year for you. Otherwise, hard pass.
The Man From Toronto - 3
A mostly unfunny movie about a man who gets confused for a professional information extractor. The tropes have been done before, most of the jokes in the movie are similar, and there is nothing realistic or high quality about it. Some of the fight scenes are fun though and a scene or two got me to crack up. Not a recommend, but if you are bored the film should hopefully get a couple laughs from you.
Day Shift - 3
Shot-em-up vampire movie. It wasn’t terrible; in fact some of the action was quite fun. But it certainly wasn’t good. Dave Franco was funny at times, but not enough to warrant any positive review. If you like seeing Fox shoot things or Snoop drop vampires with a Gatling, then enjoy! Otherwise feel no reason to give it your time.
Moonshot - 2.5
Preteen “comedy” about traveling to mars in the near future. Over-the-top cheesy, it was targeted at young teens for sure. There was not a lot of depth or anything, just some young adults working through ambition and love in an outer space setting.
Samaritan - 2.5
I’m glad Sylvester Stallone got his super hero movie, but what did it cost the rest of us? The movie was nothing but bad dialogue and cheap screenwriting. I mean, who walks into an apartment and just shots up a fridge and sink? Not even a looney toons villain has stuff like that. Low quality movies like this typically have terrible final fight scenes, but they usually aren’t this cringe and discordant. Would not recommend under any circumstance.
The Lost City - 2.5
If you thought this would be a terrible movie containing a ridiculous and linear plot with dialogue so bad you think it must have been ironic at least a little bit - well unfortunately you’d be correct. If you just like cheesy adventure junk food then enjoy, otherwise avoid.
Dead for a Dollar - 2
Western that was kinda bad… not really anything good, and the acting was kinda bad from three actors that are typically fantastic. Do not recommend.
Morbius - 2
Movie about, “vampire man”. With Morbius we got bad acting, poor character development, and terrible plot holes / design that asked for far too much suspended disbelief from the audience. The simplest of solutions could be found for many of the story’s problems, and the motivations of the characters at times felt completely random. Another major problem with the movie was there was no boundary or really any definition to the powers Morbius had. It felt as though new things were just thrown in all willy-nilly in order to satisfy “super cool” special effect scenes the writers thought up while ad-libbing the next phase of an already nonsensical plot line. Much of the movie followed the classic progression of a dark superhero movie, but practically everything was executed poorly.
Movies I am excited to watch, but haven't yet:
- The Fabelmans
- Women Talking
- Ponniyin Selvan
Other maybe movies: KGF: Chapter 2, The Forgiven, Don't Worry Darling, Spirited, Close, EO, and The Quiet Girl.
I feel the need to add some qualifiers to a post in which I give so many ratings with only snippet reviews for context.
I am human. Therefore, I have biases. My preference in movies includes a bias. I combat this bias by trying to don my critic hat while watching a movie. My critic hat does its best to judge a movie based on the merits of its cinematography, plot, screenwriting, editing, sound / music, acting, themes, and its ability to engage the audience while presenting insight into the human experience. It is impossible to completely put aside my personal preferences in genre, subject, or style of movie while wearing my critic hat, but I do my best. Additionally, when viewing movies that are typically not "my type" I try to be generous with the rating I give them; vice versa, I aim to be a little extra critical of movies that are "junk food" movies for me.
While I do my best to be concious of my biases and combat them to give the best review I can, my reviews are ultimately a personal opinion. And that is ok! The benefit of a single individual's opinion is you can quickly understand how many of my opinions map to your own. You can then use that mapping as a sort of filter when reading my reviews, and find some great movies to add to your watchlist in future years.
Regardless of these qualifications, I hope you get something out of my reviews and discover some amazing new content! Make sure to check out additional reviews and media articles below: