log.nikhil.io

78 things tagged “movies”

The Rhythm Section (2020) · IMDb · C+

Am a sucker for a good revenge story. This one was very slow and kinda haphazard. But I didn’t think it was bad enough to deserve this:

The film received negative reviews from critics and was a box-office bomb, having the worst wide opening weekend of all-time, the biggest drop in theaters, and is projected to lose Paramount $40 million.

Wikipedia (emphasis mine)

Good grief Basel! Blake Lively put in one of those “triumphant” performances 👏💯🏅

Gary Oldman as Dracula

by the incomparable Herb Ritts. Not the same Dracula, but seeing these made me think of one of my favorite things: “Horrible Tragedy” by Philip Glass and the Kronos Quartet for the 1931 movie.

Gary Oldman as Dracula - One

Gary Oldman as Dracula - Two

Vivarium (2019) · IMDb · B+

An entertaining, unsettling, dissatisfying Lovecraftian allegory for suburban life and child-rearing (esp the teenage years.) Dragged on for a bit: I imagine it would’ve worked great as a Black Mirror episode. Jonathan Aris and Senan Jennings were supremely creepy and magnificent and perfectly cast for their roles 🙌

Tanhaji - The Unsung Warrior (2020) · IMDb · C+

Another jingoistic saffron shitshow a la “Padmaavat1. Quite the visual spectacle: like walking through a racist and revisionist Amar Chitra Katha. Saif Ali Khan’s Uday Bhan is the only interesting character. Of noble Rajput blood, he succumbs to eating crocodile meat, sexual assault (of chaste Hindu women who need protection), comical levels of bloodlust, a fuckton of kohl, and villainous-looking sartorial choices.

Because that’s what hanging out with evil Muslim foreigners will do to you 🤷‍♂️

Prof. Ruchika Sharma’s take on its historicity is worth reading for these things called ‘facts’ your WhatsApp relatives won’t appreciate. ProTip ✨: Please don’t make the mistake of suggesting that the “India” depicted in the movie did not exist until independence, three centuries later #swaraj

Arundhati (2009) · IMDb · C

“Hey Sonu, we’re gonna need you to do some PCP before you show up to the set. Certainly before the dubbing. Go for that Nandi bro.”

Sayaji Shinde as Anwar was the MVP. Ode to The Exorcist and The Ring.

The Foreigner (2017) · IMDb · C

Ireland. Liam. Mick. Belfast. Mary. IRA. Patrick. Belfast. Liam Hennessy. Sean. Sinn Féin. “You should try a real whiskey. Two Jamesons, Single Malt.” Belfast. Belfast.

Also Jackie Chan. But watch for Orla Brady 🇮🇪

21 Bridges (2019) · IMDb · C+

About as predictable as it gets. Chadwick Boseman is excellent.

Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (2019) · IMDb · A

Saw with PLG. Plan on doing things around the house to the soundtrack. When they hand him his second Oscar, DiCaprio should just stare at the glitterati, play the trailer scene, and walk away 💯 🙏 🙌

There Will Be Blood (2007) · IMDb · A+

Finally saw this with PLG. Daniel Day-Lewis’ best performance IMO. Astounding, really.

Mr. Day-Lewis’s outsize performance, with its footnote references to Huston and strange, contorted Kabuki-like grimaces, occasionally breaks the skin of the film’s surface like a dangerous undertow. The actor seems to have invaded Plainview’s every atom, filling an otherwise empty vessel with so much rage and purpose you wait for him to blow. It’s a thrilling performance, among the greatest I’ve seen, purposefully alienating and brilliantly located at the juncture between cinematic realism and theatrical spectacle.

– Manohla Dargis “An American Primitive, Forged in a Crucible of Blood and Oil

Paul Dano is great as an ageless vampire-pastor 😑 The excellent soundtrack was written by Jonny Greenwood (!) and features works by Arvo Pärt and Brahms.

Bad Genius (2017) · IMDb · A-

Slow start but gets pretty exciting towards the end. I couldn’t wait for Lynn to rid herself of her parasitic friends (especially the cloying Grace, played to perfection by Eisaya Hosuwan.) Cheating on standardized tests is big business in India and China. The Atlantic has a relatively recent article on the phenomenon.

The usual commentary on class and meritocracy. Lots of love for Boston University.

The Irishman (2019) · IMDb · A

The last 15 minutes are the best depiction of old age, loneliness, and isolation I’ve ever seen committed to film. Two masters at their very best.

I love all the memes about its length but (a) the pacing was brilliant and (b) I am someone who grew up watching 200-minute family-values extravaganzas and can take it. Still.

Need to read up more on the de-aging process they used in the film.

Midsommar (2019) · IMDb · B+

Moody and plenty gruesome. Got tired of the commune’s many ‘rituals’. Florence Pugh is 💯, as is the creepy-ass soundtrack. Learned about senicide. First half is a bit of a slow burn like “Hereditary”.

Game Over (2019) · IMDb · B+

Entertaining, very nicely done, two-hour long desi “Black Mirror” episode1. Taapsee Pannu was 💯. You will want to hug Vinodhini Vaidynathan’s character. Saw with Deepu and we wondered what makes Tamil directors so good at this genre.

  1. “Presented” by Anurag Kashyap. Not sure what that means. ↩︎

Article 15 (2019) · IMDb · A-

A wafer-thin afterthought of a plot undergirds an important and harrowing commentary on the history, pervasiveness, and evil of the caste system in India.

Excellent cinematography and performances by Ayushmann Khurrana, Kumud Mishra as Jatav, and Sushil Pandey as Nihal Singh.

Anurag Kashyap on The Struggle

Kashyap on his journey to become one of India’s most important filmmakers.

The cover picture is clickbait. No “shocking” revelations. Just a good story about pursuing one’s chosen vocation with grit and perseverance (with a bit of luck along the way.)

On “Josh Talks”, who look like a TED clone and are “on a mission to raise the aspirations of Young India.”

I fight Crime. And I Read.

In Ramayya Vasthavayya, Avinash is a mononymous “Central Crime Branch” officer who, according to the barcode on his IDENTITY CARD, loves new-agey mind meld books. Or so I gather. Couldn’t decipher the other barcode but submit that it might reveal his preference for reasonably priced cutlery sets at Bed Bath & Beyond.

Baghban (2003) · IMDb · F

Jaspreet Singh on the awful abandonment fantasy beloved by desi parents (starts around 1:10.) Here’s the entire shitshow of a movie.

Yakeen maan-na, Baghban dekhne se pehle mujhe idea bhi nahin aaya tha ki maa-baap ko nikaala bhi jaa sakta hai.

Manmarziyaan (2018) · IMDb · B+

Watched with Paaji. Third Anurag Kashyap and Amit Trivedi film. Superb. Maybe a little too drawn out at times (gotta fit in all 14 tracks of that sweet Trivedi score) and was dismayingly Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam-predictable towards the end.

Gray Waala Shade” (with the accompanying opening scenes) is a magnificent song12.

  1. Yes, yes, “Daryaa” too. ↩︎

  2. Kashyap saw Poonam and Priyanka Shah on this viral Bharatnatyam video before asking them to be part of the movie. ↩︎

Hellboy (2019) (2019) · IMDb · D

Why?

This travesty should make it very clear that Guillermo del Toro loves and paints his monsters better than anyone else in the business.

Romeo Akbar Walter (2019) · IMDb · C

Completely predictable plot and twists, ridiculous ending, cookiecutter songs (features the laziest, dullest, ‘You composed it the day before it was due didn’t you?’ qawwali I’ve ever heard.)

Fantastic cinematography. Sikander Kher is great. Got a lot of digital errands done whilst watching it, so there’s that.

The Titanic and Climate Change

Stumbled upon this nearly three-hour, real-time, annotated simulation of the Titanic sinking. Late night1.

Which led me to James Cameron’s 2012 documentary Titanic: The Final Word, in which he assembles a group of engineers and historians to fix the simulation in the 1997 movie, which leads to this ‘final’ version.

Cameron, in the documentary:

Part of the Titanic parable is of arrogance, of hubris, of the sense that we’re too big to fail. Well where have we heard that one before? There was this big machine, this human system that was pushing forward with so much momentum, that it couldn’t turn, it couldn’t stop in time to avert a disaster. And that’s what we have right now. Within that human system onboard that ship, if you want to make it a microcosm for the world, you have different classes, you know, you’ve got first class, second class, and third class. Well in our world right now you’ve got developed nations and undeveloped nations. You’ve got the starving millions who are going to be the ones most affected by the next iceberg that we hit, which is going to be Climate Change.

We can see that iceberg ahead of us right now, but we can’t turn we can’t turn because of the momentum of the system. Political momentum, business momentum. There are too many people making money out of the system the way the system works right now, and those people, you know, frankly have their hands on the levers of power and aren’t ready to let them go. Until they do, we’re not going to be able to turn to miss that iceberg and we’re gonna hit it. When we hit it, the rich are still gonna be able to get their access to food, to arable land, to water, and so on. It’s going to be the poor, it’s going to be the steerage, that are gonna be impacted. It was the same with Titanic and I think that’s why this story will always fascinate people. Because it’s a perfect little encapsulation of the world and all social spectra. But until our lives are really put at risk, the moment of truth, we don’t know what we would do.

  1. Speaking of… found this amazing model of the ship. ↩︎

Us (2019) · IMDb · A

Excellent stuff again from Jordan Peele. Thought the first half was about slavery and lost identity. Wisecrack has a great video on the movie’s various interpretations.

Stop Motion Laundry

Absolutely amazing stop motion by Daniel Cloud Campos & Co.

Here’s the making of. They did it over 17 days. I wonder when they got any sleep. At one point he says “we got 2 seconds after 4 hours.” ~3 minutes of video = 360 hours, or 15 days 😬

And it reminds me of the Oldboy fight scene!

Holmes & Watson (2018) · IMDb · F

Watched because “Sherlock Holmes.” An awful, unnecessary, ghastly shitshow.

A Vigilante (2018) · IMDb · B+

The first two-thirds are brilliant. As for Olivia Wilde and her riveting performance:

[. . .] it’s still good to see a cunning and capable actress rise above her usual projects, such as stupid fodder like Tron or Cowboys and Aliens, or labels like “Sexiest Vegetarian Celebrity of 2010.”

After Enough and five Death Wish movies, the revenge genre is not without its recurring clichés, many of which get defrosted and microwaved again in A Vigilante. The point, if there is one, is that “heinous criminal felonies are acceptable if they are justified by a woman driven beyond the limits of reason.” As one battered wife says, “Every graveyard is full of people who didn’t make it.” The same is true of old movies gathering dust in Hollywood film vaults.

– Rex Reed, Olivia Wilde Goes Full Charles Bronson in the Brutal Revenge Thriller ‘A Vigilante’

Destroyer (2018) · IMDb · B+

A bit tedious. Nicole Kidman is 💯

Gurgaon (2016) · IMDb · B+

Captured the city’s many contrasts quite well. Felt like I was watching Mirzapur again. The excellent Pankaj Tripathi plays the same wealthy, powerful, morally bankrupt, declining patriarch as in the show. Pretty much the same deal if they’d cast a mannequin instead of Akshay Oberoi.

Raman Raghav 2.0 (2016) · IMDb · A

Everything I expected from an Anurag Kashyap movie. Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Vicky Kaushal were 💯 The real Raman Raghav story is quite crazy.

Simmba (2018) · IMDb · C-

Remake of the Telugu Temper. Saviour Porn. Read this article on “procedures established by law” and mind-boggling backlogs in the Indian Legal System.

Tumbbad (2018) · IMDb · B+

Not much of a story but loved the cinematography and pre-Independence setting. Easily the best Indian horror movie I’ve seen after Manichithrathazhu.

Aquaman (2019) · IMDb · C+

Fell asleep about three times trying to finish this visual overload. Ended up taking a walk right after this exchange

“You expect me to call you Your Highness?”

“No, I expect you to call me… Ocean Master.”

The Wailing (2016) · IMDb · A

Saw with LD. Long, slow, visceral, beautiful, gory. Kept me guessing. Excellent stuff.

There’s a pervasive hush and sense of stillness that lingers over the region of Gokseong, and scenes of brazen, crazed madness are often preceded by shots of tranquil mountain vistas whose lush, thickly forested landscapes increasingly feel smothering and secretive. This is a film as beautiful as it is gory, as painstakingly scenic as it is committed to stark visual interplays between darkness and light.

All the while, the story of Gokseong unfolds in fits and starts, each puzzle piece more confusing than the last. Are the residents of the town being systematically poisoned with a drug that causes them to become frenzied, savage killers? Are they being cursed? Or is it both, and for what reason? Na’s writing layers tension upon tension, particularly through the escalating paranoia that each of the townspeople comes to feel for any and all outsiders.

However, answers are much harder to find in this film than accusations. Horror fans wanting a plot whose ending dovetails nicely with all the elements that preceded it may wind up feeling frustrated, though many more may be drawn into the heart of its darkness: the conviction that terror has come to this town and there is no escape to be had.

– Aja Romano, The Wailing is the most unsettling Korean horror film in years, but it offers more chills than answers

Padaiyappa (1999) · IMDb · B

Rajnikanth was 49 when this “mega-hit” was released.

But Why the Dog?

Does The Dog Die? is a publicly curated database of sensitive, “emotional spoilers” for books, movies, TV, and many more categories. Unconsenting Media is a similar database of “sexual violence in broadcasting”.

Bhaagamathie (2018) · IMDb · B-

Johnny Gaddar (2007) · IMDb · B+

Watched with D and M. Good thriller. Dharmendra was great. Was made aware of Neil Nitin Mukesh jokes.

Chennakesava Reddy (1987) · IMDb · D+

“No really, why do you do this to yourself?” - KS

Features, in my estimation, the greatest solo special ops scene ever committed to film. No expert, but the knee-pillow fire might be related to why Seal Team Six attempted to destroy one of their damaged choppers.

Where is the Friend's Home? (1987) · IMDb · A+

A 100 Indian Films

Crazy Rich Asians (2018) · IMDb · C

I don’t understand the ratings and the hullabaloo over what was affluence porn with a tired Bollywood plot (Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham came to mind but I’m sure there’s something else that aligns better with CRA.) Might be a satirical, over-the-top take on new and old money in Singapore, though I wonder it was construed as such by the target audience.

And then:

Racism against minorities is endemic in Singapore. Job advertisements frequently only ask for those who can speak in English and Mandarin, and even if minorities are able to do so, they are told that only ethnic Chinese are wanted. Muslim women in hijabs are kept out of certain civil service jobs because of their headwear. While there are police bans on speaking in Tamil, there are yearly tax-funded programs to promote speaking in Mandarin. Minority representations are rife with stereotypes and the idea of the quintessential Singapore girl is one that embodies only East Asian beauty standards. The country’s ruling power has stated that Malay-Muslims in Singapore cannot be trusted in the armed forces due to their divided loyalties between religion and state. It has further accused them of being unable to ‘integrate’ an irony considering that Malay people are considered the original inhabitants of the land. The founding father of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, holds views on genetics that would seem disconcertingly similar to eugenicist and white supremacist ideals, as he has touted the genetic superiority of the Chinese as stronger and hardier, with Indians not being as bright, but still better than the lazy, un-driven Malays. Chinese people wear Indians in ‘brown face’ and many elite public schools are reserved for them.

[. . .] Given this context, this movie is actually perpetuating the state of racism and Islamophobia in Singapore. The only Brown people in the movie are opening doors or in service of the elite Chinese in the movie. Minorities only exist in the periphery of the film. Why is this being lauded as revolutionary?

What people celebrating this movie are doing is bringing a Western racial framework to bear upon a Singaporean one.

– Sangeetha Thanapal, “Crazy Rich Asians” Promotes The Ongoing Systematic Erasure And Oppression Of Singapore Minorities On A Global Screen.

Bird Box (2018) · IMDb · B-

A slasher version of A Quiet Place except The Monster gets you when you open your eyes (but only at key moments that further the plot.) Snoozefest after the first half. Had no idea that the lanky, highly tattooed extra is a famous rapper. A few plotholes that bugged me:

What exactly constitutes a safe barrier between your vision and the outdoors? By the movie’s standards, a thin-fabric blindfold and a sparse canopy of leaves count, but a security camera does not.

How did Trevante Rhodes manage to keep such a defined six-pack over the course of five home-bound years, and would he be willing to share that workout routine?

Elsewhere, Gizmodo on how the unseen monster is an allegory for the pernicious effects of social media on our lives. Huh.

Peppermint (2018) · IMDb · C-

Recommended by Uber driver. Watched since I love a good revenge flick. Terrible. Had a good nap, though.

Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018) · IMDb · A

As wonderful as the first one. Could not fucking stand Sarah Silverman’s cloying Vanellope von Schweetz, which I suppose was the intended effect.

Venom (2018) · IMDb · C+

Venom goes from evil alien mastermind who wants to take over the planet to Toothless in “How to Train Your Dragon” in about five minutes.

lt="Toothless)

His new motivations make no sense whatsoever.

But in the case of Venom, the action follows nothing. There’s no reason for Venom to risk his life because he doesn’t seem to care about people, and it’s never been his arc to learn about why caring for humanity is important. Venom is not about an alien symbiote coming to Earth and learning that people are worth saving. It’s about a cannibalistic, violent force who merges with a hapless shmuck and decides to stick around. Venom’s sacrifice means nothing because even if you buy that he’d be willing to save Earth, that’s different than being willing to die to save it.

– Matt Goldberg, “The Ending of ‘Venom’ Is Familiar Except It Makes No Sense

Honest Trailers on the movie. I suppose it’s all forgiven if you make $0.9B. Of course there’s a sequel. Of course I’ll watch it.

Searching (2018) · IMDb · A-

Watched with LD. Clever, clever! Loved all but the last 15 minutes.

Andhadhun (2018) · IMDb · A

Excellent stuff. Tabu is a National Treasure 🙌 Second Sriram Raghavan movie, first being Ek Hasina Thi.

The Equalizer (2014) · IMDb · B

TL;DW? Denzel Washington is Liam Neeson from Taken (with a lot of that movie’s tropes.) Over on Reddit, an essential discussion of who would win a fight. Features my favorite hipster-henchman, Tait Fletcher whom I last saw in The Accountant.

Loved the first half of this song:

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018) · IMDb · A-

Dan Fogler is as awesome in this one as he was in the first. A role he was born to play:

Did you feel like you had an advantage while auditioning because you’re actually from New York?

I think I brought some real authenticity to it. I grew up in Brooklyn. When I read the part, I thought, “Oh, man, I know this guy. He’s one of my ancestors.” I have a great-grandfather, Isaac, who was a baker in New York on the Lower East Side. It’s really surreal stepping into the role. I felt like it was written for me. I felt like he was family already, so I loved him.

Then I paid homage to a lot of my favorite actors from that era, like Chaplin and Buster Keaton. When Eddie and I are together, it’s like Laurel and Hardy or Abbott and Costello. I tried to infuse him with all of that great, elegant kind of comedy, that real physical kind of comedy. Also [James] Cagney. I liked how Cagney stood. He was very conservative in his motions – because I’m such a broad, wacky guy, I thought that it helped me stay in the period. Cut to me flailing and running like a maniac. [Laughs.]

– From an interview with The Los Angeles Times’ Meredith Worner

Ratsasan (2018) · IMDb · B+

Decent thriller. Cannot get over the fact that the antagonist’s makeup was awful and kept reminding me of the coconut and turmeric Varalakshmi Puja heads from my childhood 1.

lt="Terrible makeup)

Which looks like this in a cheap wig

lt="Varalakshmi Puja head)

Source

  1. Which, in turn, remind me of Jivaro shrunken heads. ↩︎

A Wednesday (2008) · IMDb · B+

Because I saw Naseeruddin Shah and Anupam Kher in the cast. And they were excellent.

The climax is an absolute knock-out with an accolade-winning speech by Naseer who becomes a flag-bearer for all those nameless, ordinary people battling with this modern-day scourge, the world over. The highpoint of the film is the class act by the two stalwarts of the industry: Naseer and Anupam pitch in riveting performances as the shuffling, seemingly inconsequential, nameless bomber and the no-nonsense cop. Add to this some finely nuanced acts by Jimmy Shergill and Aamir Bashir and you have a topical, gritty, high-adrenalin drama.

Times of India

Neeraj Pandey wrote and directed Special 26 as well.

Gabbar is Back (2015) · IMDb · B

Title made me think it was a sequel. Not bad as far as remakes go.

Baaghi (2016) · IMDb · D

Terrible. Expected this, so not sure why I did this to myself. Thought it was a weird mashup of Varsham and Dredd. Features this ‘Grandmaster Shifuji’ who attempts to act like a Kung Fu/Kalari master in the movie and a combat veteran and “special forces trainer” in real life.

Watching what they did to Sunil Grover and Sanjay Mishra’s talents was depressing. As for Kota Srinivasa Rao: they used a North Indian voice actor to dub over his South Indian accent… with a ghastly South Indian accent 😐

Just terrible.

Lutz Ebersdorf

As if I needed another reason to fall in love with Tilda Swinton

Swinton penned a phony IMDb biography to keep the secret, and wore fake genitalia, created by makeup artist Mark Coulier, while in character. (“She did have us make a penis and balls,” Coulier told the paper. “She had this nice, weighty set of genitalia so that she could feel it dangling between her legs, and she managed to get it out on set on a couple of occasions.”) Both she and Guadagnino were miffed when their secret got out. “Frankly, my long-held dream was that we would never have addressed this question at all,” Swinton told the Times. “My original idea was that Lutz would die during the edit, and his ‘In Memoriam’ be the final credit in the film.”

Vulture

lt="Tilda Swinton)

😳

Predestination (2014) · IMDb · A-

Based on –All You Zombies–” by Robert A. Heinlein. Sarah Snook is phenomenal. But “John Doe” is an extended, uncredited cameo by Leonardo Di Caprio and I won’t be convinced otherwise.

Sarah Snook in Predestination

The Invisible Guest (2016) · IMDb · B+

Like if Rashomon and The Usual Suspects had a child. The ending got me.

Hereditary (2018) · IMDb · A

Deeply upsetting. One of the best horror movies I’ve ever seen. Anthony Lane of The New Yorker on what gives it its potency

Should you want to measure the psychological disturbance at work here, try comparing “Hereditary” with “A Quiet Place.” That recent hit, for all its masterly shocks, is at bottom a reassuring film, introducing people who are beset by an external menace but more or less able to pull through because, as a team, they’re roped together with enough love to fight back. “Hereditary” is more perplexing. It has the nerve to suggest that the social unit is, by definition, self-menacing, and that the home is no longer a sanctuary but a crumbling fortress, under siege from within. That is why there are no doctors in Aster’s film, and no detectives, either, urgently though both are required; nor does a man of God arrive, as he does in “The Exorcist” (1973), to lay the anguish to rest. Nothing, in short, can help Annie, Steve, and the kids, and they sure can’t help themselves, stationed as they are inside their delicate doll’s house of a world. There is no family curse in this remarkable movie. The family is the curse.

The amazing Colin Stetson did the soundtrack which is somehow even more unsettling than Brian Reitzell’s Hannibal.

10/25/18 If this was a movie:

Mission: Impossible - Fallout (2018) · IMDb · B

😴. Watch for Tom Cruise being a stuntmaking beast (esp in the helicopter chase scene.)

The Invitation (2015) · IMDb · B+

Watched with Catherine. Dark, tense, predictable. Uashamed to admit that I thought Logan Marshall-Green was Tom Hardy for the duration of the movie (even after watching “Upgrade” … must’ve been the hair.) Excellent stuff by Lindsey Burdge.

Upgrade (2018) · IMDb · B

Sicario: Day of the Soldado (2018) · IMDb · B+

This is the jingoistic view of American force so familiar from films like ‘Black Hawk Down.’ This is American power as an unstoppable beast.

Yep.

You would be forgiven for asking what religious extremists have to do with a film series that previously focused on Mexican drug cartels. You would also be forgiven for finding this film problematic as it focuses next on a craven terrorist attack in a grocery store. Three suicide bombers enter the crowded building and commit mass murder. We are not spared the image of a mother begging for the life of her little girl. We discover that the terrorists are being smuggled across the border by the cartels. Two of our greatest enemies have now become one.

– Joshua Ruth “Sicario: Day of The Soldado’ is Violent, Problematic and One of the Most Satisfying Sequels in Years”

Watch for a masterclass in tension, Benecio Del Toro being a badass again, and for Isabela Moner’s excellent performance.

Srinivasa Kalyanam (2018) · IMDb · D

Watched with JS and LT. A solid 2.5 hours of Telugu Sampradayam-porn for the 50+ members of your family. Culture and Tradition are static and immutable constructs that are absolutely not subject to examination and revision, especially when it comes to gender roles. Features cameos by yesteryear supporting actors who appear plasticine with the amount of makeup employed.

Isle of Dogs (2018) · IMDb · A-

Michael Cavna at The Washington Post with a roundup of the cultural appropriation controversy around the movie. Steve Rose at The Guardian:

Some critics are barking “appropriation!” on Twitter and online, but where Ghost in the Shell and Doctor Strange (and there are many more) took a Japanese story and cut-and-pasted in white people, here Anderson engages with Japanese culture and references on an almost scholarly level, while the cast is filled with Japanese names1, from Ken Watanabe to Yôjirô Noda, lead singer of Radwimps to, er, Yoko Ono.

Isle of Dogs is a movie that seems custom-made to set off appropriation dog whistles but, for all its questionable moves, the result is a story that’s one of a kind. If we police boundaries too strictly, we’re stifling the possibility of cross-fertilisation and invention. If you do it well enough, it’s not appropriation, it’s conversation.

Also from that article: “cultural Pinterestism”.

I can watch stop-motion “making of” videos all day and here’s a dismayingly short one on Isle of Dogs:

The sushi scene took 8 months to craft!

  1. Numbers alone aren’t compelling arguments but I counted 26 Japanese actors out of 49 on the (partial?) cast list here ↩︎

Deadpool 2 (2018) · IMDb · B+

Too much Ryan Reynolding but hey, with a ~900% ROI, whatever works 🤷‍♂️

Mahanati (2018) · IMDb · B+

One and two. Excellent production and performances. Sunita Chowdhary at The Hindu with a few vignettes from Savitri’s life.

Touch Chesi Choodu (2018) · IMDb · C

Relativity

The 1.25s interval between each ‘tick’ in the background score of the water planet scenes1 in “Interstellar” indicates the passage of a single day on Earth. #theydidthemath

Avengers: Infinity War (2018) · IMDb · A-

Young Sherlock Holmes (1985) · IMDb · B-

Spielberg managed to Indiana Jones Sherlock Holmes 😐

Game Night (2018) · IMDb · B+

Jesse Plemons steals the show even though he has very little screen time. In my book, he

Bluebeard (2017) · IMDb · B

Predictable twists. This guy was awesome.

You Were Never Really Here (2018) · IMDb · A

Based the novella by Jonathan Ames. Saw the trailer via RT (this is the amazing song in the second half.) First Lynne Ramsay movie. Looking forward to listening to the soundtrack by Jonny Greenwood.

A Quiet Place (2018) · IMDb · A

Saw this with SC. Doesn’t let go for 90 minutes. Jim from The Office is killing it these days. MS: “This is what happens once you get away from a toxic workplace.” 😂

Padmaavat (2018) · IMDb · C-

Visually impressive, tedious, misogynist, Islamophobic shitshow. Barkha Dutt has a great review (via AD.)

Collateral (2018) · IMDb · A-

A “state-of-the-nation” Netflix mini-series. Excellent performances by Jeany Spark, Carey Mulligan, and John Simm. Plenty of commentary (pontification?) on the refugee crisis.

The Post (2017) · IMDb · A

Unbelievable.

The Commuter (2017) · IMDb · C

Ittefaq (2017) · IMDb · B+

Entertaining Rashomon-esque whodunnit. Great performance by Akshaye Khanna.

Inside Men (2015) · IMDb · B+

Longer than it should’ve been and unevenly paced. Predictable ending. Still very enjoyable, since I’m a sucker for a good vengeance flick. Lee Byung-hun was absolutely fantastic (first saw him in “I Saw The Devil”.) Found myself hating this guy’s character with the same bile as Imelda Staunton’s Dolores Umbridge.