2019: The Year in Reviews (May)

You know what it is. It’s the last half of December, which means we’re wrapping up the year.

Like most things in my life, it’s built around a pun. What I do in January is preview everything I can possibly find that’s set to come out that year. And then what I do is watch as many of them as I can, dropping reviews each third of the year. And then in December, we recap how that all went, month by month and see how I did/what I liked.

Mainly I do this for me, just to see how accurate I can guess on stuff up to a year out (I used to hope for a solid 2/3 percentage, but at this point I generally hit above 70% and really wanna see if I can somehow get to 75%), but it also keeps me honest, since I don’t read anything I write after it goes up until I compile these articles and my reviews are done based on how I feel as I write them up. So really this is bringing the two together and considering my feelings as they stand at this moment in time. And then hopefully others can maybe find some cool stuff they didn’t know about or previously consider from it all.

Today is May.

May

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Long Shot

January’s preview:

“I’m torn as to what to do with this. Comedy is so hit or miss for me. But Levine has some solid ones on his resume. He also has a not-so solid one.”

“It has a legitimate writer on it, and I have to figure with Seth Rogen involved, he’d do rewrites.”

“So you know what? 3.5 stars. I’m okay if this is a disappointment and is just 3 stars. I should hold some people to higher standards, so I’ll hold Levine and Rogen to them. Because whenever they’ve worked together, it’s been good.”

The review:

“This was so much better than I ever could have expected it to be.”

“It’s so good that I actually got mad when it did things that I would have expected it to before I started watching it.”

“It’s a really sweet movie and the romance is played really well and not at all how you’d expect.”

“Definitely worth seeing and one of the better movies of 2019.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

I really liked this a lot and I’m so happy that it felt more mature and character-based than the usual comedy bullshit they make out of something like this.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

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The Intruder

January’s preview:

“Seems like a standard thriller.”

“But hey, at least Dennis Quaid is still working.”

2.5 stars.”

The review:

“Honestly, it’s watchable. I didn’t care, but it’s watchable.”

“This is the kind of movie I’d rather be stuck in at a theater than something like Ma. Plus we get Dennis Quaid, who I like seeing in stuff. (Shout out to Frequency, which is still a dope ass movie.)”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

Shout out to Frequency, though. It’s a dope ass movie.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

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Uglydolls

January’s preview:

“So this is just bootleg Trolls?”

“This looks awful.”

2.5 stars.”

“I’m regretting going that high, but let’s assume I just won’t care, even though it’ll be really bad.”

The review:

“This is the kind of movie that ends studios.”

“How did anyone think this would turn out okay? The story is generic, bordering on lazy. It has all the tropes of junk food animation that so many of these movies have, that will render them forgotten within a few years, even if they are good, which this is not.”

“I can’t tell if I actively hate that this movie exists or I’m just stunned by the fact that they even thought it would be a good idea in the first place and not remotely surprised it’s bad.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

It’s really bad. But I can’t tell if I’m remotely surprised about that or not. I’m thinking no, because who looked at this movie and said, “Well that should be good”?

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

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The Last Summer

January’s preview:

“Oh, one of these American Graffiti movies. I’ll always watch these. Not sure I’ll care, but I’ll always watch them.”

3 stars.”

The review:

“Oh boy. This wasn’t good.”

“Man, do I hate movies that treat high school problems as the biggest issues in the world.”

“This is the bad side of the Netflix Original.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

The transition from one reaction to another up there. is just perfectly timed.

And yes, this was really bad.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: Off by a half-star.

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Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile

January’s preview:

“The fact that all these people are gravitating to it means the script must be really good. Hopefully the movie is of a similar level, because these Blacklist scripts always find a way to not be as good as they were on the page.”

3.5 stars.”

The review:

“(It’s) really about Ted’s girlfriend and trial than, you know… all the murders. They really don’t show him directly kill anyone.”

“You know what I say about trial movies… always interesting. And that was what led the way for me.”

“Not gonna say it’s amazing or that it’s as good as my rating. But I enjoyed it.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

I enjoyed it as a trial movie, even though I’ll never defend it as a good movie.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

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Ask Dr. Ruth

January’s preview:

None.

The review:

“Documentary about Dr. Ruth, the famous sex expert. I suspect most young people have no idea who she is.”

“It’s quite wonderful.”

“I like that not only does it do a wonderful profile on this woman and her importance in her field and in the culture of the past 40 years, but also it really does speak to a big issue in society, which I know a lot of people who are into documentaries feel they should have in some form. So to me, this is all around a good thing.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

I liked this one.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

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Knock Down the House

January’s preview:

None.

The review:

“This documentary did fill me with a lot of hope.”

“If anything, I think it’s one of the most important documentaries of the year because it shows two things: how bad the generational gap is in politics… and how older politicians are only about self-preservation over actual change and improvement, and really, more importantly, it shows that anyone can affect change.”

“I’m rarely one to say that I love documentaries about politics, and as a straight film, this was just fine to me. But what it represents was something I quite liked and I think it’s something I would wholeheartedly recommend to people as something that does potentially give hope in an era where everything is corrupt and we’re slowly being gaslit into an Orwellian dystopia.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

Didn’t love it as a film as much as I loved what it was about and the message it sent across. It’s difficult to make me feel somewhat optimistic about all the shit going on in the country and the world, but this managed to do it, if only for a brief, fleeting moment.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

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Detective Pikachu

January’s preview:

3 stars.”

“Let’s start with the rating to force myself to stick to it.”

“Here’s my thinking — I love Pokemon. Do I care about Detective Pikachu? Not really. Do I think this is gonna be good? Not especially. But, I can’t get my hopes up only to have them ruined.”

The review:

“Not as embarrassing as I would have thought.”

“It opened pretty soft, I think, based on what they were hoping for. Which is really due to one factor and one factor only… they didn’t cast Danny DeVito as Pikachu…. or that it wasn’t Pokémon proper. Who’s to say, really.”

“It’s the kind of movie that they spent so much money on that it was gonna be watchable by default. But it’s just nothing more than that. I’ll be curious to see if they continue this franchise.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

It wasn’t good at all, but the fact that it’s Pokémon and not wholly embarrassing (just slightly so) meant that I was borderline okay with it, even though I never need to see or think about this movie ever again.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

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The Hustle

January’s preview:

2.5 stars.”

“It’s solidly on Unforgivable watch.”

The review:

“The movie’s bad. Let’s just leave it at that. This is bad studio filmmaking, and the kind of movie I wouldn’t be surprised to see end up Unforgivable at the end of the year.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

We all have the same question at this point, don’t we? Will it or won’t it? Find out in ten days, folks!

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

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Poms

January’s preview:

“What?”

2.5 stars.”

The review:

“Oh my god, this was awful.”

“Like, offensively bad. What WAS this?”

“And when I say offensively bad, I don’t just mean to me. I mean to the actresses involved.”

“Diane Keaton was in ANNIE HALL. What the fuck is this?”

“Older women start a cheerleading squad? What? Is this what things have come to?”

“Please don’t ever subject yourself to this movie. This might have to be Unforgivable on principle, it’s that bad.”

* * (2 stars)

Final thoughts:

Objectively this is one of the absolute worst movies to come out this year.

* * (2 stars)

How close was I?: Off by a half-star.

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The Biggest Little Farm

January’s preview:

None.

The review:

“Pleasant little documentary about a couple who decide to go run a farm. That’s pretty much it”.

“It’s like We Bought a Zoo, only We Started a Farm. Shit white people do.”

“But it’s likable enough. I generally don’t care about documentaries, but this was fine.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

We Started A Farm: Shit White People Do.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

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Tolkien

January’s preview:

“The question of something like this is if it’ll show the worlds he’s creating or just be about him and his romance or whatever. My guess is the latter, which means I can’t go higher than 3 stars on this.”

“I’ve seen these writer biopics before, and it’s tough for them to be particularly good.”

The review:

“Incredibly boring J.R.R. Tolkien biopic.”

“You know the movie’s not the one you should watch when he and his school buddies are like, ‘What should we call ourselves?’ and when the word ‘fellowship’ is happened upon, the movie does practically the equivalent of clouds parting and a swell of music playing.”

“It’s one of those movies that makes you realize, sometimes you just want the work and not the person.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

That review just about covers everything.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

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Wine Country

January’s preview:

“Directed by Amy Poehler.”

“Which concerns me.”

3 stars, but I’m not particularly looking forward to this.”

The review:

“Amy Poehler directed a movie starring her and her friends in Napa. So basically they got to hang out and drink wine for a few weeks together. Movies were made on less.”

“Unfortunately, this movie’s not very good. It’s just women hanging out, without a real plot to speak of, and loose character moments that establish the one character trait each person has.”

“Even the audience this was made for (middle-aged women) didn’t seem to like it. What does that tell you?”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

Hard pass.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: Off by a half-star.

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Charlie Says

January’s preview:

None.

The review:

“It’s… well, it’s not the Hilary Duff Sharon Tate movie. I’ll say that much. Otherwise, I didn’t care.”

“I really am not remotely interested in anything related to Manson or the Manson family, so this movie was basically torture for me to get through.”

“They did cast a lot of cool, up and coming actresses in the movie, so I guess there’s that. But this was never going to be a movie for me at all.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

I think it was the cast that got me to see it, otherwise I really didn’t care.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

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Malibu Rescue

January’s preview:

None.

The review:

“Holy SHIT.”

“One of the big downsides of the Netflix model is that shit like this can make it on.”

“This is basically a Nickelodeon original movie they put out on Netflix.”

“This is unwatchable.”

“This is one of the most objectively atrocious things I’ve seen this year. Please forget this ever exists as soon as humanly possible.”

* * (2 stars)

Final thoughts:

It’s movies like this that make me wish that Men in Black neuralyzer was a thing.

* * (2 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

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Life Like

January’s preview:

None.

The review:

“Saw this because it starred Addison Timlin, who I’ve always really liked seeing in stuff and who always seems to choose really interesting subject matter.”

“It’s kinda boring for most of it, and doesn’t really go into any interesting territory. It’s watchable, but was just kinda meh for me.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

Pretty meh all around.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

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American Exit

January’s preview:

None.

The review:

“A dead serious crime movie starring Dane Cook. That’s right, and that’s why I watched it. Now you don’t have to, because it’s not good.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

I saw it, so you won’t need to… Dane to.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

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Good Sam

January’s preview:

None.

The review:

“When I went back to write it up, I went, ‘Whoa, 3 stars, really?’ But now that I think about it, I was fine with it.”

“It’s not a great movie, but I was amused enough by it. I think it caught me on a good day.”

“This is a movie that’s straddling the line between 2.5 and 3 and I gave it the benefit of the doubt. I imagine most people are not going to like this, though.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

Probably not worth the 3 stars, but I’m feeling generous. It’s generic Netflix rom com shit though.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

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All Creatures Here and Below

January’s preview:

None.

The review:

“It’s watchable. Doesn’t go anywhere particularly interesting and doesn’t have performances I’d rave about enough to truly recommend to people.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

Watchable but one I’ll forget about because it wasn’t good enough to me to recommend.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

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The Professor and the Madman

January’s preview:

“Stars Mel Gibson and Sean Penn, so I have to guess 3.5 stars on this, regardless. Hopefully it lives up to that. But hey, Margaret was in litigation for years, and that movie’s amazing.”

The review:

“There was really no chance of this being good. I’m shocked it even came out.”

“It’s a movie about the beginning of the dictionary. It was gonna be really difficult to make this good movie. Or rather, a movie people were interested in seeing.”

“Mel and Sean Penn and Steve Coogan are a good start, and as such, I was okay with this. I actually was pretty engaged by it, though I will admit that I am probably in the minority on that.”

“But this could only have been made by Miramax in the late 90s to have turned out any better than this. I’m not gonna expect anyone else will give a shit about this movie.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

I did like it, but I’m never gonna assume anyone else would be. This is one of those 3.5 star movies I’ll think, in five years, “Yeah, I think I kinda liked that, but I don’t think it was very good.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

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John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

January’s preview:

“It’s John Wick. Automatic 4 stars.”

“The first two were great, why shouldn’t this be any different?”

The review:

“It’s a John Wick movie. As long as they keep making them, I will keep seeing them and keep enjoying them.”

“That motherfucker could end up in space and I’d be like, ‘Do a headshot through a space helmet in zero G!’ I don’t fucking care.”

“Though I will say… kinda thought this movie would end with what the next movie is gonna be. I mean, as soon as you saw the end of the second one, the next obvious step was what they set up to happen in 4. This feels like John Wick 2.5 in a trilogy. But honestly, don’t care.”

* * * * (4 stars)

Final thoughts:

Keep making ’em, I’ll keep watching ’em.

* * * * (4 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

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A Dog’s Journey

January’s preview:

“Why did we need this? The first one was garbage, they did a spin-off that came out in January, and now a sequel?”

“I believe I speak for everyone when I say — fuck you.”

2 stars.”

The review:

“Why are we still making these dog movies? This is the sequel movie to A Dog’s Purpose. Apparently no animal cruelty in this one.”

“I mean… the first one was abject garbage. This one I just couldn’t work up the effort to care about.”

“Your happy ending is the dog being reunited with Dennis Quaid in death? I mean, I guess death is a good alternative to this movie, but still.”

“Who are these for? Do these movies work for people?”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

“I believe I speak for everyone when I say — fuck you.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: Off by a half-star.

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The Sun Is Also a Star

January’s preview:

“Sounds like a YA movie. Which means flat 3 stars. Maybe it goes higher, maybe it goes lower. Something like this, you can never go wrong with 3 stars.”

The review:

“YA too-serious romance bullshit. Holy shit, why do they keep subjecting us to these?”

“It’s a YA romance, but… you ready for this? She’s about to be deported because of the country’s immigration policy making it harder for people who’ve grown up here to become permanent citizens. So I guess maybe points for trying to be woke? We’ve gone from Nicholas Sparks and cancer to immigration status as things hindering a relationship. I guess that’s something?”

“Anyway, this movie is boring as shit and you should never have to subject yourself to it.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

A Visa to Remember.

The Fault in Our Passports.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: Off by a half-star.

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The Souvenir

January’s preview:

3.5 stars. Something tells me this will be good.”

The review:

“It’s… interesting, because not much actually happens, yet I couldn’t take my eyes off of it.”

“This seems like the kind of movie that pretentious film folk would love. It’s also something that the general moviegoing public wouldn’t necessary enjoy that much.”

“Really solid, well-made, kinda slow, definitely had some parts that felt a bit much, but in the end it was really fascinating and I enjoyed it.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

This 100% is gonna be on the Cahiers du Cinema or Sight and Sound top ten for this year. You fucking know it is.

I liked it. It looked nice and was engaging, but it’s not a film I’m gonna overly rave about. It was just solid. I hope the sequel is just as solid to me.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

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Slaughterhouse Rulez

January’s preview:

“Oh, I can already guess the tone of this and I know it’s gonna be 3 stars. That logline tells me every single thing I need to know about this movie.”

The review:

“It’s amusing. Nothing spectacular, but it’s a decent enough watch.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

Nothing too great, but it’s got good people in it and is perfectly decent the once.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

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Trial by Fire

January’s preview:

“The story sounds like something I don’t particularly want to see.”

3 stars. I have to assume that, otherwise someone would have wanted to try to win statues with it.”

The review:

“Not great. Prison and trial movies are always interesting. And this movie has both a trial and prison stuff. But it doesn’t really amount to anything.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

It’s crazy to think of where Ed Zwick is now versus thirty years ago.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

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ReMastered: The Lion’s Share

January’s preview:

None.

The review:

“This one is about the song ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’, and how its origins are actually in an African song from the 30s, but somehow the copyright mysteriously went to the label who wrote the song in the 60s and how the original singer’s family has gotten none of their rightful royalties. I cannot recommend this series highly enough.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

This is the last in the series, and they’re all spectacular.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

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The Professor

January’s preview:

3 stars. I imagine more of the same as the other one. Maybe Depp is really good in it. Who knows.”

The review:

“It’s watchable, but not much more.”

“The real accomplishment of this is that it reminds people that Johnny Depp is a great and committed actor. His performance is the thing worth watching in this movie.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

The movie is very indie and not great, but Depp is good enough in it that he reminds you of what a fine actor he is, even if this isn’t anywhere near the level of performance he’s capable of giving.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

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See You Yesterday

January’s preview:

3.5 stars.”

“Probably aiming high, but I really like that setup. Hopefully they pull it off.”

The review:

“It’s really good. It’s a movie that has all the time travel stuff while also being about social issues. Very well done and one of the better movies Netflix has put out.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

I really liked this a lot. Probably top ten in terms of the Netflix movies I saw this year, though I’ve seen so many there might be more than ten really good ones. Point is, I highly recommend this movie. It’s great.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

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We Have Always Lived in the Castle

January’s preview:

3 stars. This is one of those, expect the norm, hope it can be better.”

The review:

“I feel like I’m in the minority of people, going 3.5 on this. But I just liked it.”

“I was just really engaged by the whole thing.”

“I also am aware that a lot of other people will not feel the same way. It’s a movie that isn’t really about plot so much as drama between characters and secrets and stuff like that. Which doesn’t always work for me. But it did here.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

I did think this was solid, even though it is one I’m aware probably caught me on a good day rather than being legitimately very good. Still, the rating is the rating.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: Off by a half-star.

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The Tomorrow Man

January’s preview:

“Seems like a nice little romance.”

3 stars. Maybe I can get 3.5 out of this, but it’s also a Sundance indie. Let’s stick with 3 and see where it goes.”

The review:

“It’s very sweet. Weird, but sweet.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

The epitome of the 3 star indie movie.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

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Echo in the Canyon

January’s preview:

None.

The review:

“Music documentary about the Laurel Canyon rock scene in the 60s and all the famous groups that came from there, like the Beach Boys, Buffalo Springfield, the Byrds, the Mamas and the Papas — basically if you’re a fan of any of that music, you want to watch this documentary. It’s awesome.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

Good music in a documentary is always interesting to me.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

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Aladdin

January’s preview:

“It’s Aladdin, directed by Guy Ritchie. I’m gonna enjoy this at least a little bit.”

“I should get 3.5 stars out of this no problem. Typically these Disney remakes only go 4 when the visuals are stunning. This doesn’t seem like it’ll be that. I think Guy Ritchie and the Aladdin story will get us to 3.5 stars. I just hope this isn’t straight garbage.”

The review:

“The question with all of these is always, ‘Why? Why bother?’ And the answer is always money.”

“Everyone’s stupid enough to keep going to see them so they’ll keep making them until they run out. Hell, at a certain point, they might just start making sequels to the remakes just to see if people will still come.”

“The core of the original script still being there means I was sufficiently entertained. But this is an empty 3.5, you know?”

“I saw it, I don’t hate it (because ultimately it’s the audience’s fault. You want them to stop, stop going. The impetus here is on you), and I won’t ever have to see it again and can just go back to the original I grew up with.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

Stop making these Disney remakes. They’re pointless and only exist as money grabs. And Guy Ritchie… I can’t wait to pay money to see The Gentlemen, because hopefully that’s great and gets you back to making movies like that again. Or at least Sherlock Holmes, where you can do some visually interesting things and not have your balls in the vice shaped like mouse ears.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

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Brightburn

January’s preview:

“Love the premise…. the only question is how dark they wanna go with this.”

“I’m gonna go 3.5 stars with the hope that this can go to 4. I have a feeling this will go higher the more fucked up and less mainstream this is. So let’s not assume this will be that, but let’s also give it a chance to be great.”

The review:

“An incredible idea for a movie.”

“It’s a great idea, and well-executed. It’s not amazing by any stretch, but it’s got a couple of moments that really stood out to me. Particularly in terms of how they handled violence in a low budget setting without making it feel excessive.”

“Overall, this movie goes about as I expected it to, and it’s just a solid piece of work all around.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

My opinion on this has cooled. I’ll stick with the rating, because I was engaged and like that moment in the diner and the car crash near the end, but ultimately they didn’t do anything nearly as interesting in this as they could have, and now that’s all I can think about.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

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Booksmart

January’s preview:

“Olivia Wilde directs, her feature debut. I feel like that could work. The cast is also really solid, and I feel like she’s been in enough indies that she’ll know how to overcome the obvious tone pitfalls that come with a plot like this.”

“I’m going 3.5 stars. It’s not gonna be lower than 3. I think she can start off solid.”

The review:

“Lovely movie.”

“It’s so much fun. It feels fresh in a lot of ways. Even when they do scenes that you kind of have to based on the genre its in, they don’t feel stale or predictable.”

“It’s one of those movies that always keeps you smiling.”

“Everything felt like it was handled really well, and I am always going to completely support this movie and everything about it.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

People have overrated it, but the movie is really good and funny and fresh and should be championed.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

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The Perfection

January’s preview:

“Netflix horror movie … from the director of The Matador and The Hunting Party and Dom Hemingway. Well that’s a horse of a different color.”

3.5 stars. He’s earned that trust.”

The review:

“This is the perfect Netflix movie, and one of the absolute best they’ve put out.”

“The first 40 minutes of this movie are perfect.”

“You need to see this movie right away.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

Trust me on this one. Go watch it, know nothing about it, and don’t even bother trying to figure out where it’s going. Just go along for the ride. It’s worth it. One of my favorite hidden gems of the year, this one.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Rim of the World (2019) poster.jpg

Rim of the World

January’s preview:

“Directed by McG.”

“For Netflix.”

3 stars.”

“Anyone need an explanation, or does that all make complete sense on its own?”

The review:

“What a bad title, that could also be the title of softcore porn and you wouldn’t know the difference.”

“Mostly inconsequential, but fun in a genre way that’s mainly aimed toward 12-18 year-olds.”

“It’s dumb, but it’s got moments.”

“It’s really just a movie for kids. It’s the kind of thing where, it’s elevated generic. Not elevated genre. Elevated generic. It’s a generic movie that is elevated because McG, for better or worse, does know how to make decently entertaining movies at a much higher budget range than this.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

I will stand by that. McG should not be making expensive studio movies, but if you put him at something like this, he can elevate a piece of shit into something watchable. And this movie, while not great, is watchable. And it’s for kids, so it’s fine.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

The Poison Rose poster.jpg

The Poison Rose

January’s preview:

3 stars.”

“Sounds super low budget and generic, but I’ll watch the shit out of it.”

The review:

“Not a great movie. But (the cast is) all cool, so it’s interesting to watch them. They got this a 3 instead of a 2.5. But mostly I didn’t care and no one else who watches it will either.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

Generic, not worth seeing, but the cast is nice and got me through it

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Domino (2019 film).jpg

Domino

January’s preview:

“Guessing this is kind of a Hitchcock pastiche… because every movie from De Palma that isn’t a ‘mainstream’ one is a Hitchcock pastiche.”

“Considering he seems to not like it, I’m going 3 stars. Can’t hope for more when the director doesn’t think it’ll ever see the light of day and seems perfectly fine with that.”

The review:

“This is a Brian De Palma movie, but I bet fans of his wish it weren’t.”

“It’s pretty much a generic cop movie.”

“It’s generic enough to be fine. Mostly you just wish that this weren’t on Brian De Palma’s resume after all the amazing work he’s done over the years.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

I can’t tell if De Palma not getting a fair shake with movies over the past 20 years has been his own fault or the studios’. Either way, this movie is watchable-generic but not good.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Always Be My Maybe poster.png

Always Be My Maybe

January’s preview:

“Is it wrong that I want to say 3.5 stars? Fuck it. I’m saying 3.5 stars. Maybe it’ll just be 3, but I like this cast. And if it’s anything that keeps it from going to 3.5, it’s because it’s a TV person and it’ll have TV sensibilities with the writing and humor.”

The review:

“It’s a very sweet movie.”

“People are making a bit too much of the overall quality of this, but I don’t even care, because this is the kind of movie that deserves to be supported to the high heavens.”

“They wrote it themselves, they star in it, it’s got a female director, it’s representation galore. Give me this any day over like 90% of the shit Netflix puts out.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

I did like this one quite a bit. Not my favorite movie ever, but it’s really lovely.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Ma Official Movie Poster.jpg

Ma

January’s preview:

“Sounds like your standard crazy woman movie. Unless there are some twists that I don’t know about going on here.”

“So 3 stars. Otherwise, if it’s straight horror, it’ll be 2.5 and I won’t care.”

The review:

“The biggest question I have about this movie is the fact that it was directed by Tate Taylor.”

“This is one of the most absurd premises you’ve ever heard: random creepy woman befriends high schoolers and says, “I’ll buy you alcohol. And you can party at my house. Oh, and I’m gonna start hanging out with you and getting involved in your personal lives.” And the kids are just kind of okay with it. And then she turns out to be a psycho. Who knew?”

“These movies just aren’t for me. Especially when it’s so obvious where the movie’s going, does nothing remotely surprising and just kind of feels generic and rote the whole time. So I got nothing out of this. Maybe others did. So I’ll leave it to those people.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

Tate Taylor directing it is what made me go up from 2.5, otherwise this would have been eactly what I expected it to be. It’s just generic Blumhouse shit. I do not like that studio’s movies 90% of the time.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: Off by a half-star.

Godzilla – King of the Monsters (2019) poster.png

Godzilla: King of the Monsters

January’s preview:

“I would have gone 3.5 stars just based on that previous movie alone, but the fact that they’re already cramming like five more monsters into this (not to mention tying it into Godzilla vs. Kong)… I can’t assume I’m gonna like this.”

“So 3 stars.”

“3.5 stars is the ceiling on this. This is starting to get a Pacific Rim: Uprising vibe, which means 3 stars and we’ll see if it is anything worth writing home about.”

The review:

“I loved the first Godzilla. The 2014 one. This new American version. I thought it was really great. Godzilla purists hated it because he was only on screen for like eight minutes. So here, they gave you just straight up monster shit. They just threw the entire kitchen fucking sink at it.”

“Personally I want them to make good movies that also happen to be Godzilla movies. Seems like they’re interested in just Godzilla movies. Which is fine. Just… this didn’t do it for me past it just being watchable.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

Too much broad studio filmmaking here. I’d have been more okay with it had I not loved what Gareth Edwards did with the first one. And judging from the fact that they replaced him with a director who hasn’t really done anything big or good before, they clearly wanted money over quality. So I’m not remotely surprised we got this and I’m glad I saw that all the way throughout the process.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Rocketman (film).png

Rocketman

January’s preview:

“3.5 stars. That has to be the guess.”

The review:

“This movie is destined to be a Broadway musical.”

“Quick rundown of thoughts on it: weird that no song is ever really played in full. All songs feel like they’re about a minute to two minutes and it never feels like you get the whole thing. I thought I was gonna be taken out of it by the fact that Taron Egerton is singing all the songs himself and doesn’t really sound like Elton John. But you just kind of go with it before too long and don’t notice it. I really liked the opening shot, him bursting in with the costume and walking stridently up the hallway just to reveal that it’s rehab. That was a nice touch.”

“Otherwise… it felt weird the way they crammed certain songs in certain situations.”

“This is a solid movie that is kept together by a strong Taron Egerton performance but otherwise hindered by some weak writing at times and some so-so story choices.”

“But it’s fun, and it’s honestly better than it had a lot of business ever being. So let’s just be grateful that we got a solid biopic and not some embarrassing mess, like some end up being.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

Solid, but it’s not Bohemian Rhapsody (which, admittedly is barely Bohemian Rhapsody itself). It was what I was expecting to get.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

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