Bachelorette (2012)

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Three friends are asked to be bridesmaids at a wedding of a woman they used to ridicule back in high school. (Letterboxd)
Really hard to enjoy, thanks to unlikeable main characters, uninteresting hijinks, and distasteful attempts at humour. It seems to be a problem in tone management though, because underneath its sickening candy comedy shell is a rather intriguing web of dark character drama (see the eating disorder cover-up, drug addiction, and tale of a suicide attempt). The overdose to ambulance ride sequence feels like it finds the right groove but it’s overshadowed by a shallow shrug-it-off ending.
5.5/10 (Poor)

The Aviator (2004)

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Thinking he can overshadow an unknown actress in the part, an egocentric actor unknowingly gets a witch cast in an upcoming television remake of the classic show “Bewitched”. (Letterboxd)
All the right ingredients for a compelling biopic: Great turns (Leo’s a good lead but Kate, I mean Cate, is a standout support), a complex character to study, and an epic plot that flies high (the dual ambitions in film and aviation make for a riveting back-and-forth script) but also digs deep (“Howard, we’re not like everyone else. Too many acute angles”). Interesting editing adds some spice while a soaring climax and a great final line wrap things up nicely (“the way of the future…”).
7.5/10 (Really Good)

Bewitched (2005)

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Thinking he can overshadow an unknown actress in the part, an egocentric actor unknowingly gets a witch cast in an upcoming television remake of the classic show “Bewitched”. (Letterboxd)
Call me bewitched but I found this really charming. It doesn’t waste any screen time (love how it introduces the “want to be normal” crisis right off the bat), and the many narrative states (on TV, in real-life, in a dream, in an alternative timeline, under a spell) put a unique twist on the typical romantic arc. Ferrell and Kidman are both engaging in their own way, and the side characters have their moments too (Nina especially: “We could electrocute him. There’s a ton of wires around here”).
7/10 (Good)

Masterminds (2016)

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A night guard at an armored car company in the Southern U.S. organizes one of the biggest bank heists in American history. (Letterboxd)
The plot is just-got-robbed-poor (there’s no heist, fugitive, or character tension to be found), and only a couple of the many jokes land, so two acts in and things are looking bleaker than a corn dog at a hot dog party before the marvelous moustached Mike McKinney shows up and finds his fate to add a jolt of comedy and give the plot a needed twist. The climax lets things down again but by then the continued earnest charm of David Ghantt has at least made him somewhat of an engaging lead.
5.5/10 (Poor)

Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)

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Follows a group of high school students growing up in southern California. (Letterboxd)
Falls prey to the gross guy’s perspective a few times (see the casual homophobia, teen boobs fantasy, the “bro code” being more important than the girl’s well-being), but not as often as I feared thanks to its loose, authentic-feeling storytelling and a few moments of surprising depth (see Brad picking up Stacy). Brad’s job woes and Spicoli ordering pizza to history class are two comedic highlights (“Just what in the hell do you think you’re doing?” “Eating some food, learning about Cuba”).
6.5/10 (Alright)

The Vault (2021)

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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.
7/10 (Good)

Worth (2020)

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.
7/10 (Good)

The Green Knight (2021)

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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)

Fear Street: Part Three – 1666 (2021)

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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)

Old (2021)

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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).
4.5/10 (Bad)