The Old Man & the Gun (2018)

TOMATG_1Sheet_27x40_MECH_8R1.indd

Based on the true story of Forrest Tucker and his audacious escape from San Quentin at the age of 70 to an unprecedented string of heists that confounded authorities and enchanted the public. (IMDb)
Over a wonderful aesthetic (warm cinematography, clever editing, and cozy jazz), light and leisurely character set-ups (Forrest and Jewel have great banter) set the stage for a fun little plot (Affleck’s weary cop is a perfect match for Redford’s relaxed con). The final act fails to wrap things up as gracefully, however, thanks to a couple plot snags (why let him leave the bathroom, and why a horse instead of the car?) and Forrest’s now irritatingly breezy attitude in the face of adversity.
7/10 (Good)

 

JWM 2018 wrap-up

Happy New Year everyone! Thanks to all who took the time to check out this humble movie blog of mine in 2018.
Here are a few stats and superlatives from the year that was at Joel Watches Movies:
Reviews posted: 125
First review: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)
Last review: Green Book (2018)
Most liked review: Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)
Least liked review: Gold (2016)Green Book (2018)
Best classic film (20+ years old) watched: Reservoir Dogs (1992) (8/10)
Worst film(s) watched: Game Over, Man! (2018) (3.5/10)
Stay tuned for my Oscar picks and snubs when the nominations come out! (I’ll hopefully have watched all the major contenders by then!)
Looking forward to another year of film in 2019- thanks for following along on my journey 🙂
– Joel

 

Roma (2018)

roma_xlg

A story that chronicles a year in the life of a middle-class family’s maid in Mexico City in the early 1970s. (IMDb)
I nearly cried during the first shot and it was the credits over a damn floor. Cuarón’s direction is exquisite in its patience, thoughtfulness, and attention to detail with long tracking shots, intimate close-ups, busy backgrounds, and remarkable soundscapes. Beyond its aesthetic beauty though, it’s poignant in its ability to tell a story (Aparicio’s great turn helps of course)–this one being a powerful character study about finding strength and peace amidst chaos (see Cleo’s one-leg stand).
9/10 (Amazing)

 

Crazy Rich Asians (2018)

crazy_rich_asians_xxlg

This contemporary romantic comedy, based on a global bestseller, follows native New Yorker Rachel Chu to Singapore to meet her boyfriend’s family. (IMDb)
Takes a while to get anywhere substantial conflict-wise, and when it arrives it’s weirdly inconsistent (the post-bach party tension was high but dissipated quite quickly; the side plot with Astrid didn’t help). Overall though it has some interesting things to say about prejudice, family, and relationships on its way to a solid climactic confrontation (the Mahjong game) and resolve (cliche but sweet), with lots of laughs filling in the gaps (Awkwafina and Jeong are both hilarious in their roles).
7/10 (Good)

A Quiet Place (2018)

a-quiet-place-poster-1

In a post-apocalyptic world, a family is forced to live in silence while hiding from monsters with ultra-sensitive hearing. (IMDb)
Excellent camerawork, soundscapes (the mournful recurring theme is a nice addition), and acting (see brilliant Blunt’s brutal birthing escapade), with effective family drama underlying the tense horror (see the shocking pre-title climax). Normally that’d be plenty to distract me from any plot/concept holes, but in this case they’re too frequent and glaring (like, you literally just showed me a newspaper clipping saying the monsters are indestructable and now they just killed one with a gun).
7/10 (Good)