1917

1917 

★★★★ 

Take Saving Private Ryan, Dunkirk, Gravity and Battlefield 1, throw ’em all in a blender, hit puree and the result is 1917.
Sam Mendes’ movie is undeniably beautiful – it’s one of the best-looking films of the year as shot by esteemed cinematographer Roger Deakins. It also sports a splendid score from Thomas Newman. All that said, it’s kinda boring.
Saving Private Ryan and Dunkirk mop the floor with this movie. 1917 lacks the tension of Gravity. The picture kinda feels like it’s on rails like Battlefield 1, but your buddy’s hogging the controller and you’re stuck simply watching. 1917 ultimately packs some emotional wallop in the late goings, but most the movie you’re stuck with ciphers you don’t really get to know. The picture also strains the realms of believability – there are some A-Team gunfight dynamics at play here – our primary protagonist is pretty much a crack shot and the Jerries can’t hit the broad side of a barn.
Ultimately, 1917 AKA Saving Leftenant Blake is a technical marvel that veers into emotional hollowness. It’s more sizzle than steak, but what sizzle …

Little Women (2019)

Little Women 

★★★★★ 

Quite simply Little Women is exquisite. Greta Gerwig improved upon the already impressive game she displayed with Lady Bird to make one of 2019’s absolutely best films. Its cast is uniformly excellent. The costumes, sets and cinematography are stunning. Alexandre Desplat’s score is gorgeous. Gerwig fucking with Louisa May Alcott’s chronology further plumbs emotional depths. Feminist, humanist, funny and moving – Little Women’s a damned near perfect movie. The student’s exceeded the teacher as the new Gerwig > the new Noah Baumbach.

A Hidden Life

A Hidden Life

★★★★ 

If A Hidden Life were 45 minutes shorter it’d be a masterpiece. The movie kinda reminded me of The Irishman in that after the first hour I thought this was the best film I’d seen all year … then each fell into the trap of repetition. Both movies depict mob mentality and our protagonist is every bit as stubborn as Al Pacino’s Jimmy Hoffa. This is easily the best Terrence Malick movie since The Tree of Life. This thing is undeniably exquisite-looking and sounding. If I had my druthers it’d get Oscar nominations for cinematography and its score.
It’s kind of amusing to see August Diehl play a character that’s the antithesis of his Inglorious Basterds role. Diehl is an interestingly handsome actor – he kinda looks like a combination of a younger Christopher Walken and Americana statesman Jason Isbell. I could watch the dude ride a motorcycle all damned day. I can’t decide if Diehl’s character is virtuous, prideful or both, which makes the film interesting even if it’s overlong.
“Christians” who are still supporting 45 should be required to watch A Hidden Life before hitting the voting booth in 2020 for a glimpse at what truth faith looks like. 4.25/5 stars.

Richard Jewell

Richard Jewell

★★★★½ 

Richard Jewell was fairly fuckin’ outstanding. I didn’t see it as being particularly politicized. It’s first and foremost the story of a simple, decent man being railroaded by the powers that be. Additionally, it chronicles the relationship between that man and his mother as well as the man and his friend/lawyer. Kathy Bates is the one getting all the awards buzz (much deserved – especially for her press conference scene), but I thought Paul Walter Hauser and Sam Rockwell were equally excellent.