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

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)

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)

Wandavision (2021)

Humans vs Robots I work in military AI. As in ordinary domains where AI is applied, we have two camps. One is smitten with the future of what AI can do, and foresee a day where nearly everything we do as humans can be done better by machines. Innovation to these folks is in finding… Continue reading Wandavision (2021)

Uncharted (2022)

The Search for Women Villains I came to this to have something to watch with my 9 and 10 year olds, and for that it was a rousing success. As I’m not familiar with the source material, I can judge it purely on the films and stunts that came before. It seems to register well… Continue reading Uncharted (2022)

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)