Tagged 2019

Murder Mystery (Newacheck, 2019)

I’ve gobbled up my fair share of mystery novels when I was growing up. I still do, on occasion. I even took a class on detective novels in university because I thought it’d be fun. So this latest Netflix original was kind of irresistible to me, since it promised to pay homage to a genre…

Rocketman (Fletcher, 2019)

I’ll give Rocketman this much: it is a more credible endeavour than its closest antecedent, Bohemian Rhapsody. On the aesthetic front, Rocketman is not as visually shoddy or bogged down by competing artistic visions. Dexter Fletcher had a clear concept in mind and ran with it, whereas with Bohemian Rhapsody he was forced to paste together a film from scraps left behind…

Aladdin (Ritchie, 2019)

It is quite the relief when a movie that has been beleaguered with terrible promotion turns out to be better than expected. And let me tell you, Guy Ritchie’s Aladdin instilled no confidence before its release date. When Will Smith’s buff and blue Genie was finally unveiled to a flurry of online backlash and mockery, I couldn’t…

Booksmart (Wilde, 2019)

Social media has been abuzz with debates about Olivia Wilde’s debut, from its marketing campaign to its struggle to make gains at the box office to questions about its diversity (or lack thereof). I want to review Booksmart on its own terms, so forgive me if what I write doesn’t substantially contribute to the current discourse. I’d…

Poms (Hayes, 2019)

Anyone who watches Poms will manage to crack a smile a few times, even if they recognize internally that they’re smiling at shtick that isn’t particularly intelligent. It’s humour that’s meant to be broad and instantly digestible, like one punchline early on that explains why a woman got second place at a talent contest in the ‘50s…

Guava Island (Murai, 2019)

Last year Janelle Monáe released a conceptual “emotion picture” to act as a thematic and visual supplement to her third studio album Dirty Computer. Now Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino) is taking a similar approach with Guava Island, an hour-long film directed by frequent collaborator Hiro Murai that gives us a cogent tour of his musical career…

Dumbo (Burton, 2019)

These Disney live-action remakes are threatening to create more cynics than converts, as we haven’t yet seen one that can stand on its own and make a case for itself. Worse yet, 2019 is going to be inundated with them, and there’s no telling if any will succeed in having artistic merit. Tim Burton’s take…

High Flying Bird (Soderbergh, 2019)

Steven Soderbergh’s iPhone rush is not over. With Unsane, he made it possible to make an effective thriller with minimal fuss, and now with High Flying Bird, he’s clamped down on his values and refuses to budge an inch. This is, in a way, his revenge against the system that once pushed him aside. This is his Moneyball and,…

Velvet Buzzsaw (Gilroy, 2019)

If Velvet Buzzsaw was going for incisive critique of the art world’s myriad frivolities, it doesn’t work well. The best it can do is to emulate the kind of dead air that’s generated by those who equate premium connoisseurship with maximum pretension. And even then it can only go so far without looking incompetently cartoonish—and oftentimes it…