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2019 Reviews

So... I swapped grading systems in September 2017!  I've always hated that there are star-grading-systems out of 5 stars, and some out of 4, such that I always need to specify!  And I've found that conversationally I use letter grades more often, as there are more grade options, allowing for greater specificity.  So I figured that with my new approach of posting video-reviews on Instagram, now's a good time to swap grading systems.  Heeeere we go: letter grades it is!

Also, if you think I'm too nice given that most of my reviews are rather positive, remember:  I'm not a critic who's paid to see all movies including the bad.  I only go to see movies that I think I will like, and I'm pretty good at gauging that :) 

1917 (A)  [Instagram post]

AD ASTRA (B-)  [Instagram post]

ALWAYS BE MY MAYBE (B+)  [Instagram post]

APOLLO 11 (A-)  [Instagram post]

AVENGERS: ENDGAME (C)  [Instagram post]


BLINDED BY THE LIGHT (B+)  [Instagram post]

BOMBSHELL (B)  [Instagram post]

BOOKSMART (B+)  [Instagram post]

BRITTANY RUNS A MARATHON (A-)  [Instagram post]

CAPTAIN MARVEL (A-)  [Instagram post]

CATS (D)  Instagram post  &  the dancing outside the theater

& "what is the successful version of Cats?"  &  follow-up review

& Marina CAT dancing in the theater  &  Mystery Science Theater: Cats

CLEMENCY (A-)  Alfre Woodard is a national treasure, almost singlehandedly weaving this into required viewing.  The story of a prison warden struggling with the moral challenge of overseeing death row (especially when potentially-wrongfully-accused black men are due up for the chair), it's beautifully shot and at times enthralling (albeit a bit slow at other times).

COLD PURSUIT (C)  [Instagram post]

DARK WATERS (B+)  [Instagram post]

DOLEMITE IS MY NAME (A-)  [Instagram post]

DOWNTON ABBEY (B-)  [Instagram post]

THE FAREWELL (B-)  [Instagram post]

FORD V FERRARI (B+)  [Instagram post]

FROZEN II (C+)  [Instagram post]

GLORIA BELL (C+)  [Instagram post]

GOOD BOYS (A-)  [Instagram post]

HARRIET (B-)  [Instagram post]

A HIDDEN LIFE (A-)  [Instagram post]

HIGH LIFE (C-)  [Instagram post]

HONEY BOY (A?!)  [Instagram post]

HUSTLERS (B+)  [Instagram post]

I LOST MY BODY (A-)  A beautiful creation, both in visuals and story, that I encourage you to check out.

THE IRISHMAN (B+)  [Instagram post]

ISN'T IT ROMANTIC (B+)  [Instagram post]

IT: CHAPTER 2 (C-)  [Instagram post]

JOJO RABBIT (A-)  [Instagram post]

JOKER (B)  [Instagram post]

JUDY (C-)  [Instagram post]

JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL (B)  [Instagram post]

JUST MERCY (B) [Instagram post]

THE KING (B)  Tbh, I half-watched this at home on the couch while doing some work on my computer.  I feel like I watched it enough to have an opinion (um, totally quality but a bit overwrought, melodramatic, & slow for my tastes), but not closely enough to be confident in that opinion... I'll try to take a closer look at it sometime... just too much to absorb this fall!  Anywho: #ChalametForever

KNIVES OUT (A-)  [Instagram post]

THE LAST BLACK MAN IN SAN FRANCISCO (B+)  At times artistically fresh & quite moving, but ultimately a bit undercooked & melodramatic. 

LATE NIGHT (B+)  A perfectly fun, and at times deceptively moving, dissection of gender roles in the late night comedy world through this story of an old school queen of comedy (Emma Thompson) learning a thing or two from her "diversity hire" new writer (Mindy Kaling).

THE LAUNDROMAT (C+)  At times entertaining, this mess of a Big Short wannabee amounts to very little.  You came out of retirement for this, Soderberg? 

THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART (B)  [Instagram post]

THE LIGHTHOUSE (A-)  [Instagram post]

THE LION KING (B+)  [Instagram post]

LITTLE WOMEN (A-)  [Instagram post]

LONG SHOT (A-)  [Instagram post]

MARRIAGE STORY (B+)  [Instagram post]

MIDSOMMAR (A-/D)  [Instagram post]

MONOS (B)  This Columbian film about eight young army trainees holding a POW hostage on a mountain is relatively captivating.  It's a harrowing story examining uniquely extreme circumstances, but does so with little of the cinematic pop that I craved in order to be more drawn in to the world.  These aren't flaws (its choices were aptly stark - the way in which it let the story speak for itself rather than muddy it with ham-fisted camerawork or sound would surely be appreciated by some) - it just didn't quite match my tastes.  I wanted the film to do a little more to guide my absorption of its world. [Instagram post]

MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN (C+)  [Instagram post]

ONCE UPON A TIME... IN HOLLYWOOD (B-)  [Instagram post]

PAIN AND GLORY (B+)  [Instagram post]

PARASITE (A)  [Instagram post]

THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON (C+)  I want to be a supporter of any movie in which one of the main characters (& actors) is a man with Down Syndrome, especially when he does lovely work (so cool!).  But when you step back and realize that you're watching a movie about Shia Labeouf helping a man with Down Syndrome become a wrestler, it's hard to turn down the sensitivity on your Hallmark-movie-shmaltz-meter.

PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE (B+)  [Instagram post]

QUEEN & SLIM (B-)  [Instagram post]

READY OR NOT (A-)  [Instagram post]

THE REPORT (B+)  [Instagram post]

RICHARD JEWELL (B-)  [Instagram post]

ROCKETMAN (A-)  [Instagram post]

SHAZAM! (B+)  [Instagram post]

SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME (B-)  [Instagram post]

STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER (D+)  [Instagram post, & follow-up video with further railing on it...]

THEY SHALL NOT GROW OLD (A)  [Instagram post]

TOY STORY 4 (B+)  [Instagram post]

THE TWO POPES (A-)  [Instagram post]

UNCUT GEMS (A-)  [Instagram post]

US (B+)  [Instagram post]

WAVES (A-)  [Instagram post]

WINE COUNTRY (A-)  [Instagram post]

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