When an engineer learns of a mysterious, impenetrable fortress hidden under The Bank of Spain, he joins a crew of master thieves who plan to steal the legendary lost treasure locked inside while the whole country is distracted by Spain’s World Cup Final. (Letterboxd)
Bits of unneeded romance and a meh double-twist are the only hiccups (and small ones at that) in this solid, no-frills heist thriller. The planned deceptions are fun and well-crafted with just the right amount of wrenches thrown in, and the intertwining of it all with the World Cup excitement was a nice added touch. I was waiting for some more noble motivations for both Thom and the crew to make themselves plain but in the end, leaving it with the chaotic-neutral “passion” felt refreshing.
Kenneth Feinberg, a powerful D.C. lawyer appointed Special Master of the 9/11 Fund, fights off the cynicism, bureaucracy, and politics associated with administering government funds and, in doing so, discovers what life is worth. (Letterboxd)
A smooth and well-balanced mix of compelling legal procedural and emotive drama that ends nicely with the climax of Ken’s character arc (“You’re nothing like him”). Some of the script is a bit on the nose, some supporting performances slip up, and the dead screen-space for some of the dialogue scenes is strange, but it’s made up for by some moments of cinematic excellence (see the gradual realization on the train), great performances by the main trio, and some cool camerawork in other places.
Sir Gawain, King Arthur’s reckless and headstrong nephew… embarks on a daring quest to confront the eponymous Green Knight, a gigantic emerald-skinned stranger and tester of men. (Letterboxd)
Gets off to sort of a bland start pre-quest, with more to chew on in acts two and three. Aside from the riveting final meeting, even those are hard to engage with in the moment (the visuals are great but the bizarre symbolism and plot movements are hard to wrap your head around), but looking back, it’s impossible not to appreciate the poetic artistry of it all, from its thought-provoking take on the classic “hero’s quest” story arc to its almost playful engagement with themes of time and honour.
7.5/10 (Really Good)
In 1666, a colonial town is gripped by a hysterical witch-hunt that has deadly consequences for centuries to come, and it’s up to teenagers in 1994 to finally put an end to their town’s curse, before it’s too late. (Letterboxd)
Y’all, the 1666 portion here is badass (see the superbly scored scene with Sarah and Hannah in the chapel: “I don’t fear the devil.. I fear the mother who would let her daughter hang.. They want a witch? I will give them a witch”). The progressive twist on the previously told origin story is deliciously satisfying and retroactively adds some real beating-heart emotion and stakes to the trilogy, which is wrapped up nicely in the return to 1994, albeit without reaching the same emotional heights.
7.5/10 (Really Good)
A family on a tropical holiday discovers that the secluded beach where they are staying is somehow causing them to age rapidly, reducing their entire lives into a single day. (Letterboxd)
A fascinating concept is buried under atrocious acting and dialogue (lots of telling not showing and then telling some more: “I need to visit my sister, she’s a psychologist too-” WHO CARES), a back-and-forth-spotlight narrative on the beach that’s chopped up like a middle school stage play, camerawork that somehow depletes the suspense and horror instead of adding to it, and an over-explained ending that mars any thematic poignancy that came before (see the “what were we fighting about” scene).
In 1978, two rival groups at Camp Nightwing must band together to solve a terrifying mystery when horrors from their towns’ history come alive. (Letterboxd)
The setting and script are perfectly crafted, as the dual narrative perspectives play off each other well (see the dramatic irony after the killer gets loose), and the discomfort and anxious excitement of summer camp (cue mean teens, raging hormones, and sweaty Lord of the Flies-charged games of capture the flag) blend seamlessly into the bloody, supernatural-tinged horror that brings the film to a truly brutal climax. A cohesive, well-acted slasher film that keeps you engaged throughout.
One year after outwitting the FBI and winning the public’s adulation with their mind-bending spectacles, the Four Horsemen resurface only to find themselves face to face with a new enemy who enlists them to pull off their most dangerous heist yet. (Letterboxd)
Whyyyeye must there be a second twist at the end again? It’s not a good thing if it’s unfounded and ruins all the fun that came before and NO ONE CARES ABOUT THE EYE THING. The first twist with the plane also isn’t great cuz you know it’s coming and they explain it to death. Also, is it just me or does Mark Ruffalo’s character NOT look like a Dylan? Lots of specific complaints here cuz it’s just more of the same, though that goes for the good stuff too (that card-throwing heist was pretty cool).
In 1994, a group of teenagers discovers that the terrifying events which have haunted their town for generations are all connected — and that they may be the next targets. (Letterboxd)
It’s not particularly stylish (the aesthetic is neither consistent nor enjoyable, but maybe that’s the 90s?) or well-crafted (the intriguing Shadyville vs. Sunnyvale narrative is dropped quickly; the kids vs. cop dynamic feels unwarranted), but its slasher thrills are solid (the multi-faceted grocery store showdown is intense) and the refreshing batch of teenage characters add a really unique and gritty edge to it all (lots of swearing, drugs, angst, hormones, and questionable decisions).
An FBI agent and an Interpol detective track a team of illusionists who pull off bank heists during their performances and reward their audiences with the money. (Letterboxd)
The end sucks, not just because the twist is nonsensical (flashbacks of the person in a hoodie “there the whole time” isn’t enough explanation), but because the dumb carousal final scene leaves behind the cool Robin Hood-esque motivations of the team for some lame secret club idea–and the cocky characters already weren’t that likeable. Magic and heists are fun though, and fortunately that makes up most of the movie, making it fully watchable when the camera isn’t making you dizzy.
The human city of Zion defends itself against the massive invasion of the machines as Neo fights to end the war at another front while also opposing the rogue Agent Smith. (Letterboxd)
There’s a lot of stuff packed into this plot and it’s hard to make sense of it all, but as a trilogy finale it has a satisfying amount of fittingly epic highs and lows (see the grueling battle for Zion, ominous and lonely lovers’ mission to the Machine City, the unique climactic deal and defeat) to go with its hit or miss philosophical quips (Agent Smith’s frustrated post-fight speech was a highlight: “You can’t win. It’s pointless to keep fighting. Why, Mr. Anderson? Why? Why do you persist?”).