Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2010)

Painful I suppose the science behind this content is solid, for this and the sequels. Many of our films — primarily romantic comedies — deliberately give us a surrogate with whom to identify. And then they set the situation to be similar to those we’d experience, but simplified and exaggerated so that we can both… Continue reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2010)

Wrath of Man (2021)

Armoured A bit disappointed in Richie. This is a solid production. Nothing wrong. Timing and pacing are near perfect, as these things require. The drone in soundtrack is apt. The nested flashbacks are exactly where they need to be to get us hooked in that important early phase. But Richie’s work is normally risky with… Continue reading Wrath of Man (2021)

Cruella (2021)

Princess Leyline One way to look at this is why it was made. Clearly, Disney marketing has found a princess niche not served by the direct approach. You have to admire the art of discovering and mining a market. Perhaps no one can do what these folks do in discovering and exploiting tween girl urge.… Continue reading Cruella (2021)

The Willoughbys (2020)

Evil Hair What used to be a side episode in larger stories has now grown to centre stage. In Cinderella, Snow White and such, we have a cruel stepmother. In recent films, we have dozens that mirror that and add inept father. But those use the bad situation of the child as background; the story… Continue reading The Willoughbys (2020)

Captain Underpants (2018-20)

Underawares I actually steer my kids to this area rather than ordinary fare. It has silliness and poor production values. While the stories are vacuous, they are refreshingly free of messages and morals. But the value to me is the incredible fun they have with shifted nesting, what I sometimes call ‘folding’. If you don’t… Continue reading Captain Underpants (2018-20)

The Woman in the Window

Painful You wonder why filmmakers make the choices they do. Here is a filmmaker who specialises in acute realism, expansive vision and narrative clarity. He’s chosen a project designed to expand his palette, one that depends on claustrophobic madness and resulting visions. These visions are what we need for the untrusted narration. I don’t know… Continue reading The Woman in the Window

Army of the Dead

Legionnaire’s Disease I was completely taken by “Sucker Punch”: layered, visually imaginative. Narrative ambiguity and engineered parallel causality. “300” on the other hand seemed an unadorned testosterone arc. In both cases, the visual composition was notable, in terms of mastery of rhythm. This is more on the simple side, albeit festooned with all the shooting… Continue reading Army of the Dead

Willy’s Wonderland (2021)

Mechanical I am interested in the projects that successful artists design for themselves. It often shows that they are less interesting than they appear. Actors in particular depend on surrounding artists that remain invisible. Cage’s work is all over the place, but this is pretty bad. I believe it was made because he wanted it… Continue reading Willy’s Wonderland (2021)