2020: The Year in Reviews (January)

No matter how strange the year is, we still gotta do the thing. You know how it works: in January I preview and guess ratings for a bunch of movies, then most of them come out over the course of the year, and then we recap it all in December. This year will be no different, though admittedly it’s a much thinner year to review than I’m used to. But, we can only review what comes out.

It started as a game for me to see how well I could guess stuff, but really, like most things on this site, it becomes a vehicle to try to get people to watch stuff. The tallying part is just for me to make it interesting. Mostly I’m just trying to tell you about all the cool stuff I saw this year.

We’ll begin with January and all the films I saw that haven’t officially been released yet.

Undated/Unreleased Releases

Above Suspicion

January’s preview:

“This has been held over for like two years now… which probably means it’s not very good.”

“But, given the director and the cast, I can’t imagine it’s anything lower than 3 stars. Even if it’s not great, it should at least be watchable.”

The review:

“Doesn’t really go anywhere you don’t expect, but I did think Clarke did a pretty good job playing southern with little to work with.”

“Overall not really anything to recommend, but if you like these generic-but-watchable thrillers or like the actors, then maybe you’ll get something out of it, but it’s not gonna surprise you at all.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

This was pretty much guaranteed to be one of those ‘it’s fine’ 3-star movies. No one should be surprised.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

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Adults in the Room

January’s preview:

“Not something I’d normally care about, but it’s directed by Costa-Gavras, who is part of my Directors List and made great films like Z and Missing. I’m seeing it for him, though I can’t imagine I’m going to care one bit about the subject matter.”

2.5 stars.

The review:

“Not my kind of movie at all.”

“I got about the same out of this as I would’ve a documentary on the same subject. I know my limitations.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

It’s just not my thing. Like the director, didn’t care about the film.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

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Bad Trip

January’s preview:

3 stars. Can’t assume more, can’t assume less. Looks like it can be really funny, but you can’t assume anything with a movie like this.”

The review:

“This is about what I’d have expected.”

“As dumb and tasteless as some of them are, they did get me to laugh in spite of myself. Maybe it’s because I watched it at 4am during a quarantine. Who’s to say, really?”

“Plus — there’s a MUSICAL NUMBER. They had Eric Andre perform a whole musical number in front of unassuming strangers. I can’t hate the movie on that alone.”

“It’s pure dumb fun, and maybe that’s what we all need right now.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

Hey, they helped me kill 90 minutes during the point of the pandemic when I’d been inside for essentially a full month. I’ll take it.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

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Boss Level

January’s preview:

“I know Joe Carnahan’s style, so this sounds like it’s gonna be fun.”

“Let’s go 3.5 stars, even though 3 makes the most sense. But fuck it. I like the cast, and Mel usually makes these movies fun.”

The review:

“So this is Groundhog Day, but an action movie.”

“Lot of character and a lot of fun. It’s not wholly successful, but in the realm of action movies that actually give you a good time and feel worth the price of admission, this is definitely that.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

I enjoyed the hell out of this.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

The Brilliant Biograph: Earliest Moving Images of Europe (1897-1902) Poster

The Brilliant Biograph

January’s preview:

None.

The review:

“It’s basically just an hour of beautifully restored early silent films.”

“It’s gorgeous. It’s exactly the kind of movie I want in my life. Honestly, if I could just have these things playing in a loop on a screen in my home like a screensaver, I’d do it.”

“If you love early silent film, do yourself a favor and watch this one.”

* * * * (4 stars)

Final thoughts:

* * * * (4 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

How close was I?:

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Ema

January’s preview:

3 stars.

The review:

“This didn’t do it for me. It’s watchable, but didn’t particularly interest me. Oh well.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

Shrug.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Falling

January’s preview:

“Viggo Mortensen wrote, directs and stars. And that gives me hope for this.”

3.5 stars.”

The review:

“The acting is quite good here and it’s just a nice drama about people.”

“And as I always say, I like it when actors direct. And Mortensen was not someone I expected to be someone who directed, so I’m all around very pleased with the result.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

I did like this. Not a film that lends itself to huge responses, but overall a rewarding experience.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

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Georgetown

January’s preview:

3 stars. I’m still interested in it, but I can’t hold out hope for it to be really good anymore.”

The review:

“It’s not the best movie ever, but it definitely is worth watching just because of how insane it all is.”

“It’s probably not as good as maybe it could have been, but I’m also not quite sure how much higher that ceiling actually is, so I’m fine with this.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

I enjoyed this.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

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My Salinger Year

January’s preview:

None.

The review:

“Perfectly watchable, made with a certain amount of flair, and Margaret Qualley is a movie star in the making just waiting for her breakthrough, but I had the same problem with this that I have with every movie about authors and aspiring writers set in New York.”

“Please stop having movie characters analyze literature on screen. It’s pretentious and tiresome and I’ve seen it far too often and not once does it do anything to enhance the film except to alert me that the characters are pretentious (which — they’re an aspiring writer in a movie. We know).”

“As long as they keep traversing the territory, I’ll keep being ambivalent about the finished product.”

“Though I will say, to this film’s credit, the main character, for once, lives in an actual shithole apartment befitting of their job and salary level and doesn’t live in a fucking palace that they chose just because it was big enough to shoot in and looked better.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

That about covers it. Some parts I despised, some parts I respected.

Though that apartment thing — people forget how often movies do that and how often we’re meant to just go along with it. It’s gross. Show how real people live, you cowards (and not in the fucking Hillbilly Elegy way, you psychos).

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

My Zoe

January’s preview:

“Julie Delpy wrote and directed, and her movies, by and large, have been solid 3 star movies.”

The review:

“I can always count on Julie Delpy to make a solid three-star movie. (But) this one was fucking weird.”

“I did find this weirdly watchable, but I do not think this is remotely a good movie and is definitely the weakest thing I’ve seen from Delpy as a director. But hey, at least I’ll be able to talk about how weird this was.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

Definitely a weird as hell movie. Just… that narrative shift it takes… why?

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

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An Officer and a Spy / J’Accuse

January’s preview:

“I mean, it’s Polanski, so I’m sure it’s good.”

3.5 stars.

The review:

“Overall, it’s good. It’s engaging and well-made. Can’t say it’s one of my favorite movies that he’s directed, but it’s also worth your time.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

It’s solid. Polanski usually makes solid movies. Not sure it’s anything more than just solid, but he’s also 87, so there’s that.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Le Prince Oublié

January’s preview:

“Seems like a straight family film he made for his kids, so I’ll only guess 3 stars, but hey, if he directed it, I’ll watch it.”

The review:

It’s cute. Family movie. Inventive. Definitely has Hazanavicius’ visual flair. Perfectly harmless.

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

It’s fine.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

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Rifkin’s Festival

January’s preview:

“It’s Woody Allen. So that means automatic 3 stars, and we’ll see him continuing to get old on screen and be so out of touch so as to make you wonder what anyone really ever saw in the majority of his films. But that’s a discussion for another time.”

“Plus, Steve Guttenberg is in this, and isn’t that really the talking point here?”

The review:

“Everything in the film just feels like an old man who is completely out of touch.”

“He’s falling back on the same damn tropes. And it’s the kind of thing where — and this is why I find it so amusing because I completely understand it — they’re ideas that might have worked if he did them 35 years ago, but now he’s 85, so it’s all just tired and been done before.”

“It’s kind of like when I would see Don Rickles near the end. And he was still doing his same act. And the insults were versions of the same things you heard him say in the 70s and 80s, and the delivery was a little slower, and the wit wasn’t as sharp, and you applauded because it was him and because he was still doing it and because of the body of work, but it’s clear that it’s just an old man doing all this.”

“It’s funny to me how we went from everyone loving Woody Allen despite never seeing his movies to now hating Woody Allen and vowing to never see his movies.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

I feel like what’s gotten lost in the uproar about all the allegations around him is the fact that he really doesn’t make very good movies a lot of the time.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

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Six Minutes to Midnight

January’s preview:

3 stars. Automatic. These kinds of movies never go higher than 3.”

The review:

“It’s a serviceable enough thriller, even though it doesn’t do anything particularly unique. But all the actors are always welcome and the movie is, as I said, very serviceable and gets the job done without much flair.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

Serviceable is the word. Completely adequate in every way, but rarely remarkable.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

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The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run

January’s preview:

“It’s SpongeBob. Automatic 3 stars. I know exactly what I’m getting with this all around.”

The review:

“They’ve made, I think three SpongeBob movies now? And they’re all perfectly pleasant, and loaded with fun cameos. This is no different.”

“Fun, inconsequential, and just a longer version of the show with different animation. I will never begrudge one of these movies.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

It is what it is. We know what we’re getting with these.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Sulphur and White (2020) - IMDb

Sulphur and White 

January’s preview:

3 stars.”

The review:

“This is one of those overlong and boring dramas about someone’s personal problems.”

“I don’t particularly care for movies like this, but to this one’s credit, it held my attention for more than I was expecting it to. So I’ll give it 3 stars, but I don’t recommend it at all.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

I was bored, but I got through it. Pity 3 stars.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

– – – – –

January

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The Grudge

January’s preview:

“Normally I would not care at all about seeing this, but Nicolas Pesce is directing.”

“So that means rather than skipping this, I will watch it. Though it doesn’t particularly mean I’m going to care about it.”

2.5 stars.”

The review:

“These movies aren’t for me… So I leave it alone and more on.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

I never care about these movies. This should come as absolutely no surprise to anyone.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

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Ana

January’s preview:

“It feels like a generically likable indie movie. It’ll either go 2.5 stars or 3 stars depending on how much I care. Trailer basically gives me the entire movie in two minutes.”

“Let’s call it 3 stars and move along.”

The review:

“I enjoyed this.”

“It’s not gonna amount to much for most people, but it is fun watching Keen’s screen presence grow, and always nice to see Garcia in anything.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

It was okay. I probably would’ve had less patience for it the later in the year I saw it, but it still would have been a reasonable enough 3 star movie either way.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

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Imprisoned

January’s preview:

2.5 stars. Maybe I can get 3 out of this, but I guarantee you I won’t get more than that.”

“I’m only gonna see this for Laurence Fishburne and because it’s coming out in a time when it’s easy to watch stuff like this.”

The review:

“Only watched it for Laurence Fishburne. Wasn’t worth it. Completely uninteresting in every way and not something anyone need ever concern themselves with.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

Really boring. Sometimes you watch a movie for the star and realize you probably shouldn’t have. But I love Laurence Fishburne. What are you gonna do?

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

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Like a Boss

January’s preview:

“On paper, this sounds like a terrible, borderline Unforgivable-level comedy.”

“Another concern I have is that the film was originally written by a female TV writer and rewritten by a male writing team. And that’s almost never a good sign.”

2.5 stars.

“I almost feel bad I retired the Unforgivables list. This feels destined for it.”

The review:

“Nope.”

“It’s what you’d expect. Not for me, and not for most people, I’m guessing. The same generic studio comedy stuff I’m used to, unfortunately.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

Absolutely not. Actively disliked this and we should be glad I didn’t go lower (and that the Unforgivables list doesn’t exist anymore).

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

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Underwater

January’s preview:

“Limited cast, people underwater and a monster. Alien, but underwater.”

“Feels like an easy 3 stars. There’s gotta be a whole lot going on that they’re hiding for me to think it can go 3.5 stars. And they don’t dump that stuff in January.”

The review:

“Honestly, I appreciate that it was as straightforward as it was.”

“I like that it wastes no time getting into it.”

“I like that it sets up semi-recognizable actors in the beginning only to kill them early.”

“I like that it’s just them trying to survive and the monsters don’t really show up until the latter third/half of the film.”

“However… kinda too serious, kinda boring, and just not enough going on to keep me fully engaged.”

“It felt like an elevated by-the-numbers movie. They took care to not go down a lot of the pitfalls of a movie like this, but still kinda left out the ‘make it interesting and make characters we care about’ part.”

“But, it’s watchable. So that’s nice.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

I think I said everything I need to say in that first review. I appreciate this as a movie that’s better than the usual shit we get in January, but I don’t grade things on a curve. The movie is the movie. And while it was better than the stuff around it… I still didn’t really care about any of the people in it. So it’s just okay, in the end.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

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Inherit the Viper

January’s preview:

“Aww, this is the generic, early month VOD thriller that I know.”

2.5 stars. Could go 3. They all could go 3. But let’s assume indifference and actually let it do something worthwhile rather than assume it will.”

The review:

“Thought I might only get 2.5 out of this, but I surprisingly got 3.”

“It’s not great. Very serious.”

“Nice to see Josh Hartnett doing what feels like almost real work again.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

It is one of those way-too-serious drama-thrillers that doesn’t feel like it’s having any fun existing. Which makes you wonder what the point of it all was. Since it’s not really about the opioid crisis. It feels like something that would’ve been an acclaimed book because you got to go deep inside the psychology of these characters and this small town. But as a movie — ehh. Just watchable and nothing more (and barely watchable for me at that, and I’m the one who’s lenient on these sorts of movies).

* * * (3 stars)

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

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Three Christs

January’s preview:

“I don’t care how bad this movie sounds/looks, that cast should get it to 3 stars.”

The review:

“I had some issues with how the film does the movie thing of making the head doctor the villain of the piece because he’s envious and feels excluded and doesn’t like Gere’s methods, but a lot of it is well done.”

“I almost got 3.5 out of this. Ultimately I don’t think it got there, but I do think it’s a very solid, if uneven movie.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

The acting was nice. I like Richard Gere’s choices. His movies always seem to be solid, even though no one ever goes to see them. And here you get three great character actors putting in good work too. I’m not sure the film ever really amounts to anything, but the actors make it work.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

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Bad Boys for Life

January’s preview:

“16 years after the second one, we get the third one. Money talks, I guess.”

“This is 3 stars. We know this is 3 stars. If it were Bay, I’d have given a mercy 3.5 stars. But this is only gonna go 3 stars, and it would have to be exceptional to get a 3.5 out of me. 2.5 is impossible. No matter how broad and generic a Will Smith movie is, they never go below 3.”

The review:

“A totally unnecessary, yet oddly welcome sequel.”

“There’s less Bayhem and more, character introspection, I guess? As much as this franchise can. Kinda like Men in Black, where there was that one randomly sorta deep moment at the end of the third one where you were like, ‘Damn, I didn’t think you guys had the capacity to go there anymore.'”

“There’s not really all that much there, but honestly, as bad as this could have been, it actually turned out kinda watchable. So I’m fine with that.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

Unnecessary but oddly welcome feels right. Nothing of value, really, but at least it’s familiar enough that it wasn’t a waste of a bunch of movie making something generic. At least here it’s wasting a bunch of money on something generic that at least we have a fondness for, even if it’s been 17 years.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

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Dolittle

January’s preview:

“Stephen Gaghan is directing this. That’s so insane to me. Dude made Syriana and Gold. He wrote Traffic. And here we are.”

“This was a passion project for Robert Downey, who apparently really wanted to do a Welsh accent, I’m guessing.”

“There are really only two things that will determine if this goes 3 stars or 3.5 stars — if the writing is clever and gets me to laugh (i.e. how dumb and kiddie it’s trying to be), and how annoyed I am by the fact that it’s all really obvious CGI animals.”

:The trailer basically told me I’m getting 3 stars out of this. The fact that it’s Stephen Gaghan makes me hold out hope that there’s a sliver of possibility for 3.5 stars, but the fact that they had a chance to put it out at Christmas and are now putting it in January means they know it’s not good. So we’re sticking with 3 stars and we’ll figure they’re gonna take a financial bath on this domestically.”

The review:

“Not a whole lot of positive things to say about this movie.”

“Feels like they got skittish and recut/rewrote too much of it and were trying to bail out the boat before it started sinking. And then it sank.”

“It’s a totally watchable, throwaway family movie. They spent way too much on it and it’s not particularly good.”

“I’m not sure why anyone decided to reshoot the third act to feature them pulling a set of bagpipes out of a dragon’s asshole (that’s not a joke, that’s how it ends), but hey, they did what they did.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

Look, I’m being lenient because it’s broad, generic family stuff and is perfectly pleasant even if it’s not very good and was a gigantic waste of a lot of money.

But they also pull a set of bagpipes out of a dragon’s ass in the third act, and I’m not really sure what to do with that.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

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VHYes

January’s preview:

“The premise sounds funny. And the fact that they shot it on VHS and Beta means I should enjoy it.”

“The trailer looks wild.”

“I’m going 3.5 stars on this. It looks weird as fuck. Maybe it’ll only be 3, but I’m loving how crazy this looks. I’ll be wrong on this, but I want it to be awesome.”

The review:

“LOVED this.”

“It’s just spot on. Of course, it’s exaggerated for effect, but it feels a lot like what TV felt like during those years.”

“From the weird late night infomercials to weird commercials to cheesy shows to porn — this movie was just a straight line to all the weird shit that was TV in my youth. Plus, recording things on VHS tapes — that was my life.”

“I enjoyed the hell out of this one and it’s just such an ingenious premise. Highly recommend this one.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

I really did love this. I’m aware that I’m way more suited to loving this than most people, but I still loved it. It had exactly the kind of references I remember from growing up and was the right kind of weird that made it stand out for me. Big thumbs up here.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

The Wave (2019) - IMDb

The Wave

January’s preview:

“This looks weird and trippy. I’m in.”

3 stars. The visuals should counteract whatever bad writing is in it.”

The review:

“Turns out, it’s a bit more meta and philosophical than I thought/wanted it to be.”

“Kinda hard for me to love it when it ends the way it does, and I’m not really sure what it is I was supposed to get out of the whole thing. But sure, it’s fine.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

I thought I’d like this more than I did. But at least the visuals were kinda nice at times. Mostly the trippy stuff. Overall — ehh. Not really worth the trip (pun ridiculously intended). But watchable.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

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A Fall from Grace

January’s preview:

“The fact that it’s Tyler Perry means 2.5 stars. I’ve seen three or four of his movies now, and I haven’t found yet I wasn’t indifferent toward. So let’s assume more of the same until something changes my opinion.”

The review:

“Straight Lifetime thriller.”

“I’ve yet to find a film of his that I haven’t been indifferent toward, past a global ‘good for him for becoming fucking rich off them’. And the dramas especially don’t do it for me.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

I dislike the Tyler Perry dramas/thrillers way more than I do the dumb comedies. Respect the man, dislike the output. Maybe one of these days I might find out of his films amusing. So far no dice.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

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Troop Zero

January’s preview:

“It looks cute.”

“Can’t tell if it’s gonna be 3 stars or 3.5 stars, so let’s say 3 stars and hope for 3.5.”

The review:

“I enjoyed this.”

“Granted, I know it’s not great, and some of the stuff (particularly in the third act) is really on the nose. But, I have a higher tolerance to early year stuff and am more willing to be lenient in January because I know how slim the pickings are.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

I did enjoy it. I thought McKenna Grace was really good in it, and I thought it had some likable moments and good acting, even if the story went to obvious places a lot of times. Not something I can hardcore recommend, but it’s definitely cute.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

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The Gentlemen

January’s preview:

“It’s Guy Ritchie returning to his crime roots. Which means at worst it’s a 3.5 star movie.”

“My normal instinct would be to guess 4 and let it just be 3.5. But I’d rather go low and let it be high than the other way around.”

The review:

“I love when Guy Ritchie does his own stuff. Sure, this isn’t Snatch, but it’s also not Aladdin, you know what I mean?”

“I like the flair Ritchie uses to tell stories, and while this isn’t something I’ll go back to like I will some of his other stuff, I’d rather him making movies like this than taking studio gigs that help nothing but his bank account.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

It’s not Lock Stock or Snatch, but it’s also not King Arthur or Aladdin. Guy Ritchie is at his best when he gets to bathe the film in his style. Which is why, even when it’s a paycheck movie like Man from U.N.C.L.E. or the Holmes movies, at least they end up being fun because he controls the style and story to an extent. Here, this is his best, because he’s got full command of everything. Is it perfect? No. Is it fun as hell with a great cast and reminds you of how much more likely the possibility is that Guy Ritchie makes a great movie when he’s on his own? Absolutely. And that’s what we need to be supporting.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

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The Last Full Measure

January’s preview:

3 stars, though that cast makes me think it should be 3.5 stars.”

The review:

“They got a cast on this. And 20 years ago this would have been an almost prestige picture. The late 90s was prime for these kinds of movies. Instead, it looks and feels cheap and it’s like a half a click away from faith-based movie.”

“It goes by every number in the book”.

“It’s watchable but not good. You’re watching it for the cast if you’re watching it at all. And honestly… there’s really not much for the cast to do there, so it’s probably skippable.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

Lot of great people in this… not good writing, borderline bad directing, and the kind of movie that’s in this weird uncanny valley of ‘would have been a prestige movie in the 90s and now is too expensive to be a made-for-TV movie’. So it looks cheap, feels cheap, and yet has a great cast. And now it’s just left to the ether for people to maybe come across because of who’s in it but with nothing really of value to give to anyone. Oh well.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

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The Turning

January’s preview:

“I can’t stand movies like this. So I’m going 2.5 stars and I know I’m not gonna care about this at all, even though it might be perfectly decent.”

“If I get 3 stars I guarantee it’s because of Mackenzie Davis and nothing else.”

The review:

“Based on ‘The Turning of the Screw,’ a novella where not much happens. and guess what? Not much happens here.”

“It’s just a waste of Mackenzie Davis.”

“There’s just no point to this movie. The horror’s not there, the story’s not there. I don’t know who this was for or why it was made. So I just leave it alone and more on.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

This was BORING. I mean, really boring.

What a waste of Mackenzie Davis.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

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Coda

January’s preview:

“Sounds like your standard drama movie, so I’ll say 3 stars, even if it has a shot at 2.5. Those two feel like the only possibilities for this.”

The review:

“It’s not a great movie, but maybe it’s because it’s the beginning of the year and I’m more likely to tolerate stuff like this or maybe I just caught it on a good day, but I was fine with it.”

“If it came out in another month, chances are it might have only gone 2.5 stars, but here, we got 3.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

Patrick Stewart makes things watchable. I won’t recommend it, but I got through it.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Gretel & Hansel - A Grim Fairy Tale theatrical poster.jpeg

Gretel & Hansel

January’s preview:

3 stars.

“This actually looks okay. It looks really well shot and it looks like the character moments are gonna pull it through to 3 for me.”

The review:

“Why did we need this? What was the point? What did we get out of this story?”

“I think there’s supposed to be some metaphor about coming of age and female empowerment, but I honestly didn’t see it. This wasn’t for me, as watchable as it was.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

Looked good, but it was slow and didn’t really have a purpose. I like Sophia Lillis, but the movie had nothing to say, ultimately and didn’t really go anywhere. Oz Perkins has made three movies, and the slowness seems to be part of his style. The problem is whether he can make the films interesting enough for you to like them. He was successful the first time, very much not the second time. This one’s in the middle, but even here, you’re left with, “I guess it’s fine, but why would you watch it?” Maybe fourth time’s a charm?

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

The Assistant poster.jpeg

The Assistant

January’s preview:

Let’s say 3 stars and hope it’s watchable. Could go very badly, could be even better than that.”

The review:

“This movie was my Uncut Gems.”

“It’s like, my own personal PTSD. By 15 minutes in I was having fucking war flashbacks.”

“It’s extremely uncomfortable but also very well done. The HR scene alone is one of the best single scenes you’ll see from this year.”

“I’m gonna have to wait a while to watch this again to get a more complete picture of my feelings on it and being able to see it with some level of detachment, but, it was really solid and definitely one of the better and more important films that should be seen from this year.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

It was difficult to watch, however Julia Garner is very good in it and I like that they focused solely on her without getting hardcore into the Harvey stuff. Because, in a way, this could be anyone in Hollywood she’s working for. A lot of them are like this. But here, you’re aware of the backstory, so the film dips its toes into both pools and manages to come out okay. So good for them for that. I think it’s a solid movie worth seeing, and it really is a solid look at what it’s like to be someone like that.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

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

The Rhythm Section poster.jpg

The Rhythm Section

January’s preview:

“Feels like a 3-star movie all around.”

The review:

“We all were subjected to that trailer for what felt like six months.”

“It felt like barely passable January action. And guess what? That’s what it was.”

“It was way too serious and didn’t really get into anything too interesting.”

“In the end, it felt like a waste of resources. Watchable, but unnecessary.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

It’s exactly what you think it’s gonna be. It’s fine. Watch it once (if that) and move on. It’s the epitome of the 3-star movie.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

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