23 min read

2023 Movies

2023 Movies
Photo by Eric TERRADE / Unsplash

2023 had some major movie releases. The whole Barbenheimer experience was one of the biggest movie-related cultural movements I have ever seen. The best part was both movies lived up to the hype!

However, overall, I will say I enjoyed this year's films a bit less than last year's. Perhaps I didn't realize how enjoyable 2022 was at the time; or, perhaps I am just lacking the international bangers that I have yet to watch to date, March 2024. I will make sure to get to them all eventually though, because many of them look incredible.

Oppenheimer - 8.5

Fantastic. The hype did not disappoint. Biopics are often plagued with pacing and engagement issues. Nolan refuses to allow this over the course of a three-hour film about a scientist, which is a directing achievement in and of itself. The cuts between past, future, and present scenes as the story unfolded were phenomenally done, a beautiful culmination of many attempts at the style. Movie of the year - should be watched by all.

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse - 8

Phenomenal. A superb follow-up to the Spider-Verse series which continues to blow me away with the animation quality. The movie strikes a near-perfect balance of internal turmoil, blitzing action, moral quandaries, and colorful fun. The film was set up as the first half of a two-part concept, and I cannot wait for the next installment. Strong recommendation for anyone.

Killers of the Flower Moon - 7.5

Woah. This movie is a long, emotionally taxing journey about the series of Osage murders in 1920s Oklahoma. It is based on the actual history that happened approximately 100 years ago and would fall under the genre of a modern, western crime drama. This movie was extremely well made and maintains a palpable sense of dread for the entire running time. Which is a long time: clocking in at 3 hours and 26 minutes, it is the longest major blockbuster of the year. I do not mind long movies, but there was no need for this film to be this long given the plot covered. Having said that, it truly was a wild ride to gain a slow understanding of the ambitions and intentions of each character over time. Additionally, the unfair proportion of the film that the audience has to sit and watch injustice before any sense of justice occurs is painful- which is a fantastic, embedded point. The acting was phenomenal, if only slightly over the top at times from DiCaprio. The movie fell short of greatness because of, the lack of a central pull or a full connection with the characters. While I personally wish there was slightly more attention given to the Osage, I think the point of views were chosen as a technique to force us to take a hard look at who the guilty were during the "Reign of Terror". Overall, Killers of the Flower Moon is an important work of art that I am glad was created, even if it was not quite perfect. Everyone should watch... if you can find the time.

Barbie - 7.5

Pink! The highly anticipated movie did not disappoint. It was a silly, yet entertaining, film with great themes and loads of fun. The production was exquisite. It was a 1-D plot and straightforward with the points that it wanted to get across- everything was pretty much said outright. Do not expect super deep or complex artistic literary devices, just great production, and filmmaking. The goal was accomplished though - it delivered a fun story that was a thoroughly enjoyable experience for the audience. Fantastic stuff.

The Society of Snow - 7

Stirring drama about a famous plane crash in the Andes. At its core, it is a survival story against all odds. I am usually not the biggest fan of the genre due to its repetitive nature, but The Society of Snow is of exceptional quality. The movie really strikes the emotions in a variety of ways, was shot phenomenally, and garnered affection for the characters quickly. The acting was fantastic. The survival maneuvers kept the audience planted in reality while holding our attention the entire time. Really impressive stuff, would recommend.

A Thousand and One - 7

A mother with a history of crime tries her best to turn things around for her son in NYC in the 90s onward. It is a strong portrayal of real life, showing that people are flawed, life can be hard, and parenting is tough. The film looks through the magnifying glass at how strife, anger, and a lack of emotional control affect our relationships. As the plot progresses, the filmmakers bring us along for the severe emotional rollercoaster of the characters, posing complex ethical questions along the way. It was not necessarily enjoyable to watch, but the relevance of the human message makes it a valuable watch for most.

Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves - 7

Are you ready for a fun adventure? Let's play D&D on the big screens. This film is packed full of D&D references which are effortlessly incorporated so that fun can be had by viewers of any background. The plot resembled a D&D campaign and the nonsense that ensued resulted in an entertaining journey. A negative would be that I did not really care a lot for the characters, which was a shame in this type of movie. While that would be an opportunity for growth, overall I'm extremely glad this film came to fruition. Fun! Would recommend.

Blackberry - 7

Tense bio-drama on the rise and fall of Blackberry. A strong, quality portrayal of the story that kept the audience engaged. The acting was a standout, especially from Glenn Howerton who put on an acting masterclass. No novel themes or techniques from the filmmakers; although it was safe, it was a great movie. Would recommend.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 3 - 6.5

One of the better Marvel films in the last couple of years. However, that is turning out to be a bit of a low bar. They made some serious attempts to focus on the emotional aspects of the characters in this film. This is not Marvel's strong suit per se and I do not think they pulled it off, although I appreciate the attempt. With plenty of action, jokes, and superhero adventures though the film remains the best watch to get a Marvel fix in 2023.

Tetris - 6.5

The dramatic origin story for the worldwide licensing of Tetris. While it might sound like a relatively boring premise, the movie was quite suspenseful and covered a variety of topics about business, politics, and corruption in the Soviet Union. The filmmakers absolutely kicked up the action with the KGB to embellish an otherwise mundane contract law deal, but not enough to ruin the plot. The production quality was impressive and all-around it was a well-made film. At the end of the day, it is a story about the licensing of Tetris, but it is still a good movie for anyone relatively interested in the USSR era or business negotiation drama.

Pain Hustlers - 6.5

A decent, punchy drama about the pharmaceutical drug industry and the opioid epidemic. It had the style of the last decade's snarky-yet-serious documentary dramas. Was not a top-tier version of these, but was not bad either. The acting was great, as was expected from the caliber of the leads. There was certainly some melodrama, but a disappointing amount of real suspense. Similarly, there were certainly some emotional tugs, but not a real tear-jerker.

The Covenant - 6

First glance at the movie gives the appearance of a dumb, military movie. It certainly fits that genre, but it seems the quality of the movie has produced a delightful surprise. There was a solid story, appropriate pacing, and sensible levels of action given the subject manner. The production value was high, and most importantly for the genre, it didn’t go overboard with the explosions- just the right amount. There was a bit of plot armor for the good guys, but not so egregiously that a ton of suspended disbelief was required. Jake Gyllenhaal overacted a bit of the dialogue but overall did a great job. Dar Salim's performance was also decent, if anything lacking expressiveness at times. While it is not the highest quality movie ever created, it is suitable for the genre. If you enjoy war movies at all, The Covenant is worth a watch.

The Killer - 6

Yet another assassin-takes-on-their-organization movie. While the overarching progression matched the cliche plot, the film constructs enough nonstandard passageways to reach the end goal to make it a unique rendition of the genre. I came in with low expectations but was pleasantly surprised by Fassbender's acting and the noir mood the film created. The contrast of absurd thrill with Fassbender's deadpan seriousness was a vibe I did not know I liked. While not a standout piece, if the genre interests you at all then The Killer is worth the watch.

Napoleon - 6

An epic, modern biopic on Napoleon Bonaparte with some beautiful cinematography. The battle of Austerlitz was an incredible scene, despite being historically inaccurate. However, at the end of almost three hours, I came away mildly disappointed. The film primarily focused on Napoleon's sex life and a few famous battles. There could have been so much more examination on a range of military and/or political discourse. Parts of the dialogue took me out of the moment- "You think you're so great because you have boats!" or "Destiny has brought me this lamb chop" were not Phoenix's greatest deliveries and are currently living rent-free in my head. Overall, it was a well-produced movie which should have been much better.

The Pale Blue Eye - 6

An intriguing, creepy murder mystery set at West Point in the 1830's. The director did a great job of keeping the audience anxious the whole time. The pace did not drag but kept engagement well. Great acting, good quality production. I liked it, and would recommend it.

Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One - 6

At this point, we pretty much know what we were getting with Mission: Impossible. This installment once again provided entertaining action mixed with some tantalizing mind games. The plot kept the adrenaline pumping throughout. Nothing new or special was done in Dead Reckoning, so don't expect a groundbreaking rendition. It is a movie that I enjoyed watching.

Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret? - 6

This movie was timed such that the young ladies who grew up with this novel were now at the right age to share it with their daughters. It captured the innocence of the age while not shying away from some of the stickier topics of family and religion. While the plot may not be for all audiences, it was a sweet tribute to a childhood novel.

Asteroid City - 6

Wes Anderson for sure. The film is a ridiculous mixture of circuitous literary mechanisms, overlapping meanings, and pure chaotic nonsense. In a word - strange. As per usual, the cast is completely star-studded. Wes Anderson fans will find Asteroid City a wacky piece commentating on both the normalcy of the human experience and the concept of the unknown. On the other hand, if you did not like the style of Wes Anderson before, this will be worse.

Luther: The Fallen Sun - 6

Once again, we see a story of a retired/disparaged detective who must do whatever it takes to stop a psychotic serial killer. This rendition is decent. Nothing novel, but the film has a James Bond vibe and decent production value. Elba and Serkis gave standout performances, and Erivo did a solid job as well. Good watch for the genre, or if you have seen the TV series, but not a must-watch.

The Creator - 5.5

A visually stunning sci-fi movie about a not-so-distant future war with Artificial Intelligence. The visuals are what make the movie impressive, and is perhaps a watch for that reason alone. There was also an admirable attempt at making impactful statements about AI ethics; however, these largely fell flat in comparison to what it could have accomplished. There were a plethora of ethical dilemmas that could have been developed to ask keenly introspective questions; instead, all nuances were glazed over in brief scenes, and only the most one-dimensional AI questions were examined. The acting was fair, but the characters did not end up going through much character growth outside of the inevitably predictable path of the main character. The scenery and sci-fi imagery were enough for me to enjoy my viewing experience. The Creator could have been so much more which was my main disappointment.

Maestro - 5.5

Biopic encircling the orbit around the man, in contrast to the point-of-view of the man himself. Much of the focus of the film was on his wife, without being a biopic about her either. An interesting filmmaking perspective, and produced with quality techniques. There were plenty of human relationship themes. Similar tropes were demonstrated as seen in other biopics on famous, powerful people. The orchestral scenes were beautiful. Absolutely stunning. A solid monologue or two had a dramatic impact. It is objectively a good film, it is just I personally do not like the genre. Hollywood movies about Hollywood / old-school artists are not often nearly as insightful as Hollywood thinks they are. It was a good film, but not life-changing at all.

Rustin - 5.5

An interesting, less often told story about the makings of the March on Washington. It was at minimum an interesting portrayal of many of the great civil rights leaders that I had not seen before on film. The lead acting was well done. Yet it was not a fluid, organic narrative per se. This resulted in a few of the major points that were developed being a little cheesy. Overall, the slightly different perspective on the topic makes it a reasonable watch for historical interest in black or LGBTQ+ civil rights, even if the film itself is not a masterpiece.

Grand Turismo: Based on a True Story - 5.5

Nothing revolutionary, a pretty standard racing movie. There have been quite a few racing movies over the last few years, and while this one was not standout, it was certainly on par. The movie had solid production value and appropriate plot pacing; realistic obstacles were overcome at reasonable times. The visuals were appealing. The acting was largely fine, with a fantastic performance from David Harbour.

Elemental - 5.5

A metaphorical Disney film on the struggle of immigrants. The world-building enabled important parallels to portray colliding cultures, sacrifice, family legacy, debt to parents, etc. While none of these themes were especially deep, they were presented at the perfect level for a children’s movie. The overarching love story was well developed, with complicated ups and downs. Additionally, the characters were a reversal of traditional gender roles. I liked this, but they definitely made the male a kind of a caricature which was a bit much at times. The voice acting from water-boy was a bit grating. The animation was pleasant. The “two forbidden worlds will collide because of love” is a wildly overdone trope, but the immigrant themes and decent production value made it a solid watch for children.

Boston Strangler - 5.5

Drama piece on the Boston Strangler in the 1960’s. I love me a good journalism story. The movie brought about important critiques about the original investigation which seem to have been botched. It had a similar production and style to the great stories like this before. Overall, it was good.

Aka - 5.5

Undercover drama into a major crime ring, terrorist plot, seedy government, and a superhuman Bourne hitman - all the right pieces coming together for a fantastic French action hit. While it was an unrealistic shoot-'em-up, it was solid for the genre. The film covered decent themes and contained its fill of intense action; I was satisfied. The plot was not deep or anything, but some political themes emerged and elevated the film beyond a shallow guns-and-explosions type of movie. It is definitely still action junk food, but a worthwhile rendition of the genre.

Paradise - 5.5

German sci-fi movie about future time-exchanging biotechnology that mixes with capitalism for dystopian results. While the premise is obviously upsetting, the film does a proper job of setting it up, showing the inevitable societal problems, and eventually revealing layered issues as the movie progresses. It strikes a balance of action, suspense, character development (at the correct times), and thought-provoking themes. Additionally, much of the portrayal ended up being relatively realistic, which strengthened the impact of the themes. Would recommend.

Hunger - 5.5

Thai chef movie in which a young woman from a local noodle shop gets to try out with the most famous fine-dining chef in Thailand. The film included a useful batch of themes; however, the delivery of said themes was a little too direct. There was plenty of drama to keep it entertaining, unknown questions were left like a breadcrumb trail along the way to develop enough suspense to keep the audience engaged between major plot points. Overall, a decent film, but by no means a must-watch.

The Holdovers - 5

A faithful rendition of the 1970's movie vibe. There were some well-developed themes on relationships, integrity, grief, and self-worth. It was definitely a slow build though, which is not unreasonable given the older style. I did not love it myself, but it was a faithful and quality re-creation of a nostalgic era of movie-making.

The Burial - 5

A court case drama around funeral homes does not sound like the most exciting plot. Yet, the gravitational personalities of the lead characters, fun dialogue banter, and the race conversations sprinkled throughout make for a decent film. While these race conversations were a bit novelettish, the acting helped pull through some of the corny parts. My only problem with the movie was that I was not 100% on board with the moral high ground of the case, which goes to show that I am not a lawyer I guess. At the end of the day, it was decent, but also there is no compelling urge to view the film unless you are into law movies.

Noise - 5

Belgian movie full of suspense playing with the line between mystery and mental health. The progression seemed too quick and aggressive, but by the end, it made more sense. It had an interesting conclusion and the lead female had strong acting, but overall the film was lacking a bit which kept it from being a great movie. Production, pacing, plot depth, side character acting, and engagement were not as strong as I wanted them to be. Overall, not a bad watch that conveys an important mental health PSA.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny - 5

Indiana Jones is back for another adventure! But old. Wait, I thought we did this already? All the staples are in place: amazing shooting locations, swashbuckling adventures, kicking Nazi butt, incompetent baddies, and Indiana Jones causing the issues that drive the whole plot. Classic. Most of the supporting cast is fine; Mads Mikkelsen does an especially good job, per usual. It was not great, but it was not painful to watch.

Sharper - 5

Con movie set in America (to avoid any spoilers, the review will be extremely sparse). Good acting, production was fair. Watch if you enjoy the genre, not a must-see otherwise.

Unlocked - 5

South Korean crime thriller showing how much information we have about ourselves on our mobile phones nowadays. The plot was relatively straightforward based on the premise but still was able to create a good deal of suspense. Most notably, the film had some fantastic attempts at cinematography. While many of these attempts ended up a bit shy of being fully professional, the wheelhouse of techniques that were used and the style that formed were impressive. For example, I loved the creativity of the opening sequence. While not for everyone, fans of the genre who appreciate innovative production will find Unlocked worthwhile.

Kill Boksoon - 5

South Korean assassin movie. Included some family themes which added to the otherwise simple assassin-in-an-agency film. Nothing was really novel here, but it was decent fun.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie - 4.5

It was fun. Since I believe that was the primary goal of the film, I would call it a success. The animation and heroic adventure spirit of the movie were spot-on. However, many other aspects did not land for me. The choice of voice actors did prove to be a major distraction for me, but perhaps this will age better with other generations. The plot tried to expand to a clever real-life meets video-game reality mashup, but then failed to really capitalize much on the idea. The dialogue overall fit the style but was a bit too cheesy at times. I predict the movie will lack staying power, but I would still recommend the movie to younger audiences that are big fans of the world's most iconic video game character.

Leave the World Behind - 4.5

A suspenseful movie about two families fearing for the end of the world. The suspense is created without the use of explicit action and thankfully is successful in creating ominous vibes throughout. Additionally, it is packed full of social commentary - relationships, power, who/how the world runs, trust, fear, human selfishness, etc. It reminded me of White Noise from last year, but it was better. This is not my favorite genre, but the themes make for a respectable movie if you are into the ominous mood.

AIR - 4.5

The story of the famous Michael Jordan shoe line. It was ok, I guess. It had many of the major pieces of a strong biography drama, but it just did not feel that great. Good, sure, but not great. The actors performed well enough that sports fans should enjoy the film, but beyond that, I would not recommend it.

They Cloned Tyrone - 4.5

A wacky adventure quest in the hood with a mix of big-brother, and racial conspiracy to follow. The film started a bit boring and goofy but evolved into something greater. By the end, we got deeper themes than first meet the eye. The style was eerie and retro, which while not my thing, was executed well. The movie strikes a balance between being self-aware and parody. While not for everyone, it is an entertaining watch for the sub-genre.

Extraction 2 - 4.5

It is similar to the first Extraction but in a different place with more explosions and toys. Do not watch this for the complex plot, relationships, dialogue, or even realistic action. This movie is meant for fun pew-pew, bang-bang, and sick fight scenes. Chris Hemsworth is a super cool guy, but even he could not quite pull off some of the dialogue in this movie. Yikes. For pure action junk food though, it is fun.

Leo - 4.5

Children are certainly the only target audience for this, but it turned out decent actually. Leo was mainly a cute movie about dealing with life’s problems for children growing up. It contained little actual action, yet somehow remained a solid kid's movie with wholesome dialogue and impactful themes. Not at all what I was expecting from Adam Sandler, but not bad!

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania - 4.5

A decent Marvel film - fun to watch, sprinkles of humor to keep it light, a reasonable theme or two, just enough emotions to say it tried, and great special effects. Overall though, many parts of the plot and dialogue felt overdone and lacking quality. Nothing new was really accomplished either, which made it a skippable addition to the Marvel collection.

Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget - 4.5

The long-awaited sequel arrives. However, honestly, I am not sure why they bothered to make it. Do not get me wrong it was still amazing stop-motion. Mostly a continuation of the excitement of good-time, jailbreaking chickens. It is just that it added nothing. 20 years later, the story is the same. Which I guess is fair, it is still enjoyable for the kids. It is just the first was so much better.

May December - 4.5

A drama circling around pedophilia and the lives of the actual people in news-worthy scandals. Thankfully, it had mostly correct themes on pedophilia. My big gripe with it was that it was too slow. It felt like it was slow for the sake of being slow. Eventually, depth was developed, and it hit some important points on the subject matter and human psychology. There was solid introspection between the characters, yet it did not reveal anything especially groundbreaking or have a plot beyond what was straightforwardly expected. A positive would be that Natalie Portman is a superb actor, but we know this.

Priscilla - 4

They made a whole movie to remind us that Elvis groomed a minor, and that being married to a scandalous, narcissistic, drug-addicted, rock star is not all fun and games. Thankfully the cinematography and production were solid. I am just not sure this perspective added anything at all to the story, and the themes were relatively basic. The film painted an abusive, manipulative relationship. But it did so in a blunt, straightforward way. If you especially enjoy period pieces from this era then maybe it is worth a watch, otherwise, I would not recommend it.

No Hard Feelings - 4

Well… it is what it looked like. Parents, do not mess with your kids. The movie is kinda fun, a few laughs. The classic wrap-up/makeup was cute. Totally fair movie, but feel no need to see it.

Infiesto - 4

Spanish crime thriller following a sinister trail of serial abductions. Set in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it lightly touched on some epidemic themes without being the focus of the film. Most of the movie follows the flawed detectives as they strove to do whatever it takes to find the madman/madmen behind these atrocities. I appreciated the realism of the plot, there were no cheap coincidences to solve the case, and we see that actions do indeed have consequences. This film is nothing extraordinary but is a reasonable crime thriller that will entertain those who have an affinity towards the genre.

A Haunting in Venice - 4

Another Agatha Christie Whodunit. Filled with creepy vibes, it tries semi-successfully to instill fear. It does kinda leap to the solve, it is not as intricate or cognitive as other Agatha mysteries. While it is not terrible, it does feel like each iteration is becoming a whole lot cheaper than the first. I do not regret watching it, but I would not recommend it to most.

The Little Mermaid - 4

Halle Bailey did stellar but The Little Mermaid live-action remake as a whole was only fine. My only question is, why? Why must we do this? The animated original was great, and this added nothing to it. Yes, there was technically a new song added which was admittedly fun. However, overall the film was the same but worse in almost every way. The acting was lacking; most notably McCarthy's acting was meh at best, and Hauer-King's performance gave off high-school drama kid vibes at times. CGI was acceptable, but not as stunning as Disney is capable of from a blockbuster in 2023. I simply do not understand the Mouse's insistence on doing live-action remakes of the classics; they are never as good and often by a cavernous margin. Please stop the live-action remakes. I do not like them in my house. I do not like them by the mouse. I do not like them here or there. I do not like them anywhere.

Rebel Moon - Part One: A Child of Fire - 3.5

An absolutely terrible let-down that should not be watched by anyone. I had naive optimism for this novel/sci-fi series that would give us another world to fall in love with. Yet between the ridiculous plot and cringe dialogue, it becomes practically unwatchable, regardless of the awesome CGI and adrenaline-filled fight sequences. Is Zach Snyder the worst writer of the century? I don't know, but Rebel Moon sure gives an argument for it.

Mr. Monk's Last Case - 3.5

Monk! A TV series movie that was exactly that - a TV series movie. All the major characters were brought back in a long-form episode reunion format. It was fun to see Monk back on the screen, and it dealt heavily with the topic of suicide. Worth the watch for true Monk fans, otherwise definitely pass.

Heart of Stone - 3

I started this film with the hope that it would expand on the genre in a fun way and be more than a cheap spy blockbuster. I was sorely disappointed. It not only failed to expand but was a downright terrible example of the spy trope. Strongly do not recommend.

The Marvels - 3

Marvel unfortunately flopped a bit with this one. The story was formulaic, boring, and disjointed from most of the rest of the universe. The power-scaling is just completely off with Captain Marvel and the friends surrounding her, and it creates poor plots. Additionally, the whole manufactured conflict between the two lead women was painfully unimaginative writing. The acting had glimmers of quality, although Vellani's personality on screen kept taking me out of the viewing experience. Definitely ok to skip this one.

Equalizer 3 - 3

Old Denzel goes off. This time he saves a small Italian village from the mafia. Absolutely nothing about this movie is unique or novel. It is simply Denzel standing up to bullies in a cool, old-guy way this time.

The Mother - 3

Yet another typical super-soldier movie in which the protagonist has to save a kid. Extremely typical tropes are covered, nothing special at all. Lopez does ok, but much of the acting is a little over the top. Do not recommend.

65 - 3

Sci-fi movie about a traveler who crash lands on a planet 65 million years ago... Dinosaurs! Unfortunately, though it was not good. The CGI was fine, but many other aspects were missing. The relationship they tried to build between the main characters was poorly constructed. The challenges these characters faced were too brief and uninteresting to generate interest in the journey. The unoriginal emotional past of the main character was completely irrelevant to the story, even though it was a major focus of the film. And as usual, the climax jumped the shark too extremely. Unless you really enjoy anything dinosaurs, this movie is a hard pass.

The Pope’s Exorcist - 2.5

Exactly what you think it is. Nothing more, nothing less. There was less "climbing on the walls" than many other exorcist-based horrors. The best thing about the movie was definitely Russel Crowe - he was absolutely fantastic in the role.

JUNG_E - 2.5

South Korean sci-fi movie of a dystopian futuristic world working on AI to win a major civil war. The CGI was not terrible per se, but a bit cheap and outdated. Acting was not great for many of the characters. The action was ok, but really nothing special. The plot got pretty silly at the end. Additionally, the themes here were a bit wack- specifically, the movie takes the idea that #AI-lives-matter way too far. Do not recommend.

Cocaine Bear - 2.5

I am not sure what we watched here... This was not not a quality production per se, but it was just silly with some gore. I do not get it. It was a comedic horror, at least it was supposed to be. However, all suspense was immediately undercut by the poor attempts at making it a comedy. I say attempts because it was not funny either. So we ended up with your classic lose-lose situation.

You People - 2

A Jewish man and a black Muslim woman fall in love but the family does not mix. Lots of discussions about race, religion, and the African American experience. There were multiple references and some decent points floated out there, but a few of the themes were also arguably not kosher. I think the filmmakers were somehow ignorant of both Jews and Muslims? The biggest problems with the movie were that it was largely unfunny (besides just a few hilariously cringe scenes), and there was absolutely no desire for the couple to work out. The relationship had no depth and the audience was given too little motivation to root for the couple, other than it was the premise of the movie. The dialogue felt cheap and corny at many times. Would not recommend.

Murder Mystery 2 - 2

Bad. Adam Sandler and Jennifer Anderson just seem to need to make some money. Mildly offensive in aspects, with no real redeeming qualities. No reason to watch unless you want a junk food mystery movie.

Sound of Freedom - 2

One of the most straightforward missions in filmmaking I have seen in a long while. The writers obviously wanted a pathos-based film that painted a picture of "good" government nailing pedophiles and traffickers. Mission accomplished. The only problem was every shot and point that was made was delivered in the cheesiest way possible - *Staring off into the distance. Intense masculine feelings* “God’s children are not for sale”. I had heard buzz about the film being problematic, but I am not sure I agree. The movie was simply a traditional-values, white savior wins against the bad guy human traffickers, and is based on a real story. The execution is cringeworthy, but at the end of the day, it is a positive human story. Unless of course, the problematic part is that it was a terrible piece of art; because in that case, it was extremely problematic. A strong do not recommend.

Sisu - 2

A Finnish miner fights Nazis. That is all, but unfortunately, the fight sequences were not up to modern standards, and nothing about the plot was reasonable in any sense, whatsoever. There was practically no dialogue and no love for the characters. Would not recommend to anyone.

The Magician's Elephant - 1.5

Wow. Bad. Cheesy. Terrible dialogue. Terrible writing. Ridiculous plot points. Soooo terrible. There was just really no point in the movie. Do not recommend under any circumstances.

Not Reviewed

Movies I am excited to watch, but haven't yet:

  • The Three Musketeers – Part 1
  • The Boy and the Heron
  • The Promised Land
  • The Monk and the Gun
  • Io Capitano
  • Amerikatsi
  • Perfect Days
  • Anatomy of a Fall
  • About Dry Grasses
  • Zone of Interest
  • Mami Wata
  • Past Lives
  • American Fiction
  • Wonka
  • Ferrari
  • Poor Things
  • Wish
  • John Wick: Chapter 4


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 conscious 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:

Media - Our Wandering Existence