It still astonishes me that this very good film written/directed by Tom McCarthy won Best Picture at the Oscars less than a year after McCarthy's The Cobbler was released because The Cobbler is one of the worst movies I've ever seen. But Spotlight, yes, it's pretty excellent. I really enjoyed seeing this story told through the lens of newspaper journalism, and worried that it might kind of reduce what it was all about to an abstract principle, but by the end they really drove home the horror of the story without ever showing or barely saying anything particularly explicit. I had been sick for a couple days when I watched it and was feeling kind of fragile, but it really got to me. And the whole movie is just full of actors I enjoy watching, and also Liev Schreiber.
This was a pretty cute novel little movie. But man, what is it with kids' movies always having dead parents as a plot point? Do we really need to do the Bambi thing all the fucking time? Isn't it kind of lazy and callous and a cheap way of obtaining gravitas? Just saying.Vin Diesel sure is resilient, I never thought he'd headline a non-franchise movie with a $90 million budget again, but after the last few Fast & Furious flicks and Guardians, I guess they thought it was worth a shot. But this was a big silly movie with some pretty cool visual effects.
I never lived near a Tower Records, and I was never terribly impressed with Tower on the rare occasions I was in one, but I did buy CDs in record stores pretty heavily in the '90s in the early '00s, so this was an interesting movie, and Tower's story is kind of a good microcosm for the rise and fall of physical media in music commerce. I feel like some day I could show my kids this movie and they'd be completely flabbergasted that music worked this way before the internet.
e) The Walk
I've enjoyed some Joseph Gordon-Levitt movies, but there's always been something kind of forced and unnatural about his performances for me, like the way he projects his voice tends to sound off and weird. So I feel a bit of schadenfreude about watching him attempt a French accent for an entire movie and falling flat on his face. It's funny because he acts opposite Ben Kingsley, who has probably played more nationalities and ethnicities than any actor in screen history, and of course you just buy Kingsley as a French guy so much more easily. But honestly it'd be nice if Hollywood wasn't just so eager to cram Americans and Brits into these roles and actually like, got some French actors? That goes for all sorts of movies/roles, it's obviously a huge widespread problem.
f) The Intern
This movie seemed pretty unappealing based on the ads, especially since a 70-year-old as an intern just seemed like a simple escalation of the comedic premise of Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn as 40-year-old interns in The Internship two years earlier. And in general, De Niro's kindly old man roles since Meet The Parents have been pretty depressing. But I actually really enjoyed this, the story unfolded really well, and there was only one section in the middle with an unnecessary 'madcap scheme' comedy setpiece, everything else felt pretty natural and unforced, with some interesting insights about gender and generational differences and workplaces. Ann Hathaway kind of gets to do a role reversal of The Devil Wears Prada and be the intimidating boss. But man, when "Workaholics" premiered a few years ago, you would not have been able to tell me that 2/3rds of those guys would be co-starring in a Nancy Meyers movie.
I still have this weird compulsion to watch every new Woody Allen movie, even though I feel like his brain has turned to mush and his movies have been incompetent and awful for much longer than most people want to admit. At this point I guess I'm just curious how low he can go. Irrational Man is kind of a return to the themes he's revisited now and again since Crimes And Misdemeanors, of people committing or attempting murders and other terrible crimes and whether they can get away with it and whether they can live with themselves after they do. This movie isn't as dour as Match Point or as laughably bad as Cassandra's Dream, and it doesn't end quite like they do, but it still winds up as a stupid little pointless morality play that's been too painstakingly contrived to actually stand up as any kind of statement.
h) San Andreas
I thought I would enjoy a good old fashioned disaster movie with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson more than I did, but the visuals weren't that impressive, and after a while it just felt stupid to watch all these people die and suffer while you're supposed to cheer on this one lucky family that came out unscathed.
This was a tightly constructed little kidnapping thriller with some cool setpieces and impressive performances -- Gemma Arterton is a great heroine and I've never seen Eddie Marsan in a role where I haven't absolutely hated him, but especially this one. But by the end it kinda felt like they'd just plugged in all these plot points to maximize the drama and it never really gelled as a story.