Bright

Magic is so unsatisfying. When anything is possible, the screenwriter can be so lazy. Just wave a wand at it. So while the premise of an alternate society that evolved with fairies and orcs alongside humans is sort of intriguing, and makes the race relations story somewhat fresh (?), I just can’t commit my full attention to this kind of movie. I spend too much time complaining out loud…

Arrival

There’s no way in hell that she would’ve learned that amount of the aliens’ language in such a short time frame. But that is a minor quibble. And ironic, in a movie about time travel. Or is it simply seeing the future?

Amazingly gripping, when so little really happens. But maybe that’s just the former language teacher in me speaking. What’s really different about this, in terms of a modern science fiction film – or really just about any genre these days – is that it’s more interested in the underlying ideas and philosophical questions that arise when we make contact with aliens – or they with us – than in intergalactic warfare or conflict in general. The only ones fighting here are the humans.

 

Voyeur

1. Should the statute of limitations be allowed to run out on sick fucks like this guy?

2. If it was this easy way back then, how much simpler must it be today, with all of our miniaturized cameras and other electronics?

3. Is Gay Talese as guilty in his own way, a bit overly eager for the salacious tidbit, to the point where fact-checking becomes an afterthought?

Wilson

Started out pretty strong, then quickly devolved into cliché. Woody Harrelson is a good choice for this role, and he makes the film watchable, even when the script gets lazy and offers up the most predictable situations. A pretty good way to kill time on a plane, but otherwise…

Jackie

I think I read that there is archival footage interspersed with the scenes of this movie, but if so, it is done so well that it’s almost seamless.

The accent is a bit off-putting at first, but I’m guessing it’s pretty accurate. Natalie Portman is a tour de force here, present as she is in nearly every scene. By the end, I’d almost forgotten it wasn’t really Jackie O.

Sour Grapes

How much is that bottle of wine? Where did you get it? Check the label, carefully. And the foil. And the glass. And also the contents…

Fascinating account of a wine savant gone rogue. It’s juicy, but something doesn’t smell right…

While We’re Young

Wait, is this Ben Stiller again? In a Noah Baumbach film again? I may just become a fan. Add Naomi Watts, Adam Driver, and Amanda Seyfried and you have a winner.

Magic Mike

Channing Tatum cancels out Matthew McConaughey. I always like the former, and I’m always annoyed by the latter. Not what I’d expect from Steven Soderbergh, but this is pretty fun – more for the energy than for the depth of the material.

The Meyerowitz Stories

Netflix can do no wrong, it seems. This is a film that, on the surface, I wouldn’t expect to enjoy so much. The cast is not one that I have much interest in. But I’ve never liked Adam Sandler and Ben Stiller so much as I did here. They are both excellent, good enough to keep up with Dustin Hoffman, with no-one outshining the others.

Ah, the writer/director is Noah Baumbach… That goes a long way in explaining the quality on hand.