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)

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

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)

Monster Hunter (2020)

Lovers Back when I was doing this full time, I maintained a database of films where the filmmaker and actor (usually an actress) were lovers. It often imparts a situated intimacy, because you nearly literally see a soul through a lover’s eyes. Is there anything as erotic in fiction? I’m thinking of a Judy Garland… Continue reading Monster Hunter (2020)

Turning Red (2022)

Transitions When narrative transitions occur, they sometimes follow the world and seem smooth, or they try and engineer the future and are jagged. I think this is the latter. Superficially, this film extends the Disney effort to cover all ethnicities with princess characters. It makes business sense to have a modern Chinese girl, and let… Continue reading Turning Red (2022)

Christopher Robin (2018)

Stuck in the Box The story is conventional Disney, and in the trend of expanding the reach of established properties, with as little actual drama as possible. Three things are notable to me. This was shot on video, with a deliberate nod to cheap TeeVee productions from decades ago. Every visual choice was designed to… Continue reading Christopher Robin (2018)

Blown Away (2019)

Someone Else’s Bubble I don’t know who originated the formula. I’ve seen it on “Legomasters”. You start with 8 teams, here 8 glass artists. You give them an assignment, material and some time. Then their creation is judged, someone eliminated until there is a winner. With Lego it works. The competitors are pairs — friends… Continue reading Blown Away (2019)

Haywire (2011)

Needles I saw this years ago and could not find anything useful to say about it. I saw it again because I am trying to understand what Soderbergh is doing with his life. He worries me because I have invested part of my life to films he has made. I know him to be capable… Continue reading Haywire (2011)