Film Review: “The Rental” (2020)

“I’m not saying we’re not going to get away with it, I’m saying I don’t want to get away with it.”

A matter-of-fact unraveling of multiple relationships that takes the long, chill road towards becoming the entry in a hallowed horror genre it ultimately wants to be.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “The main characters are like the high school kids who somehow all successfully escaped one horror movie, grew into their late 20s and 30s, then found themselves caught unawares in another horror movie.”

Film Review “She Dies Tomorrow” (2020)

“It was a nice time. That period of time we spent together.”

A midnight meditation on death that will take me some time to parse. As of right now, mere hours from having watched this in a dark, dirt lot drive-in in New Jersey with Dolittle playing on the second screen just out of sight, part of me feels like I dreamed it.

And that’s perfect.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “I know I’m probably not going to die tomorrow, but, like, well, I feel like I might now.”

Film Review: “The Trip to Greece” (2020)

“Do you want to continue?”

A fitting ending to a series of consistent comedy returns that finally nails the tonal dance routine they’ve been doing since The Trip.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “My partner says our relationship is exactly like Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon’s in these movies, but I say that’s absurd. We don’t have nearly the amount of sexual chemistry that they do.”

Film Review: “Scoob” (2020)

“It gets weirder.”

Less of a Scooby-Doo feature than it is an unabashedly out there and weird all-star Avengers-style Hanna-Barbera extravaganza that’s just centered around Scoob and Shag. It mostly works, though, despite too many pop culture references and modern music cues. Yes, there’s a Hex Girls easter egg. And don’t worry, Hanna-Barbera superfans, Magilla Gorrila makes a small appearance.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island is still the best Scooby-Doo movie because that’s when shit got real for the gang and for me. Scooby Doo, Mystery Inc. is the best Scooby-Doo TV show because that’s just some damn fine cartoon storytelling. Scoob! is probably the best Wacky Races episode of all time.”

Film Review: “Onward” (2020)


“Long ago, there was wonder…”

A fantastic enough questy comedy about brothers, a van, father legs, sons, overcoming loss, and family, featuring some pretty solid D&D references throughout.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “Disney and Pixar put out Cars 2 for money, certainly, but also so that when something like Onward or The Good Dinosaur comes out, which are high quality but not UP or Coco or Wall-E levels of high quality, people will say, “well, it’s not Cars 2 so that’s nice.”

Film Review: “Emma” (2020)

“[scoff]”

A most agreeable adaptation of one of Austen’s more complex protagonists. As lavish and capable of a production as is due, with prim and eccentric performances in equal measure. Quite!

My VHS cover pull-quote: “We had to watch this at home due to the virus sweeping the world and shuttering all the theatres, which sounds like something used to set the tone in a story set in the 1800s but it’s actually happening right now so it’s setting the tone for OUR story and is legit frightening. Quite!”

Film Review: “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” (2020)

“How do we know when it’s finished? | At one point, we stop.”

A romance at once somber, dreamlike, and mythic that uses the social restrictions of the period to tell a beautiful (if bittersweet) forward-thinking story. Yeah, my fave of the year so far.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “I’m just going to talk about the sound and use of music now. Prominent sound and, especially, music (all non-diegetic) only features in a few curated moments. Otherwise, we only hear the loud cracks of a fireplace or waves under the cliffs to illustrate one character’s separation from community and intimacy. When we hear music, we savor it like she does and look forward to our next opportunity to hear it. This is a mere sampling of the sensory experience Celine Sciamma and company create with this piece. Dope!”

Film Review: “Sonic the Hedgehog” (2020)

“Look what came out of my egg sac!”
 

The spirit of Sonic the Hedgehog is that of a sugar-addled me in 199x who loves Jim Carrey and this movie caters right to that loud child with Genesis blisters who is drunk on pixy stix. So, it’s another recent genuine success story in the video game movie genre.

 

My VHS cover pull-quote: “Release the freaky-ass weird looking nightmare humanoid Sonic cut!!”

Film Review: “Birds of Prey” (2020)

“And that is why you should never partake in paying federal income taxes.”

An anarchic, fringe, Gotham Grungy team-up feature that has some of the finest practical (and practical-looking) fight choreography I’ve seen since whatever John Wick we’re on now and can just have fun and say “fuck” whenever it wants.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “I just wanted more of absolutely everything—especially the teaming up. Everyone is a kick-ass, leg breaking delight with great chemistry. I also want an egg sandwich.”

Film Review: “The Gentlemen” (2020)

“There’s fuckery afoot.”

It sometimes plays like a Guy Richie’s Greatest Hits album rather than a wholly original down-in-the-dirt British crime fable, but that’s not really a bad thing. Plus, Richie strings a bit of meta commentary to his entire catalog, which is fun. Truth be told, anything would feel like a creative rebirth after being stuck in the Disney live-action remake quagmire.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “Hugh Grant playing entirely against type is a bright spot, sure, but let’s not pretend Colin Farrell’s bold track suit isn’t the top reason to see this.”