Mank (2020)

1930s Hollywood is reevaluated through the eyes of scathing social critic and alcoholic screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz as he races to finish the screenplay of Citizen Kane. (Letterboxd)
Don’t know what everyone’s babbling about half the time but it’s able to coast on its sharp editing and performances in the dia(not mono)logue scenes (see the excellent back and forth at the b-day party). Mank’s journey through the shifty politics of movie studios in the 30s is much more interesting than the process of his screen-written response to it later though (especially when the connections aren’t always clear), so the film would’ve done better to just make the flashbacks the whole movie.
6.5/10 (Alright)

Zodiac (2007)

In the late 1960s/early 1970s, a San Francisco cartoonist becomes an amateur detective obsessed with tracking down the Zodiac Killer, an unidentified individual who terrorizes Northern California with a killing spree. (IMDb)
Too long? Nah, could’ve used another hour-I mean, that’s how long I spent googling the Zodiac afterwards anyways. It’s that sort of mystery–complex, endless, with countless players and procedures to dissect, and the film with its excellent technique, turns, and script (the time jumps feel natural; the third-act lens shift to Graysmith works well; Avery’s arc feels like it’s cut short though) captures it all with a remarkable sense of cohesion (a couple loose threads along the way) and momentum.
8/10 (Great)

North Country (2005)

A fictionalized account of the first major successful sexual harassment case in the United States — Jenson vs. Eveleth Mines, where a woman who endured a range of abuse while working as a miner filed and won the landmark 1984 lawsuit. (IMDb)
Theron melts into her character here, displaying with ease both Josie’s brokenness and courage. Her experiences of abuse and her lonely fight for her rights are tough to watch but are thoughtfully shown, as picturesque scenes of the equally isolated Minnesota countryside and its bleak mines punctuate her story along with clips of her eventual court case. The supporting cast here is impeccable and solidifies this moving film that comes to a satisfyingly redemptive and tear-jerking conclusion.
7.5/10 (Really Good)

 

The Princess Bride (1987)

While home sick in bed, a young boy’s grandfather reads him a story called The Princess Bride. (IMDb)
A hammed-up fairy tale with all the fixings: Giant rats and madcap magicians, true love and impassioned revenge, kisses and torture, quicksand and castles, and at the core, a romantic tale of a fair and tragic princess kidnapped and her fearless lover (played brilliantly by Elwes) overcoming all odds to fetch her back. Slathered on top of it all is a thick layer of uninhibited silliness that produces a plethora of hilarious quips and mirthful moments throughout. It’s a story for the ages!
8/10 (Great)