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    I think I’m getting to the bottom of the barrel with 2022 movies. At least, critically acclaimed movies that I’m likely to also like. I’m not sure how to find the critically declaimed ones that I’ll like.

    Brooklyn – B-. I was entertained. It was well done for what it is, which is a dramatization of a romance novel set in the 1950s. I was not the target audience. I was shocked to find out that the screenplay was written by Nick Hornby, because absolutely nothing about this film felt like Nick Hornby. I was even more surprised that the novel was written by a man, because everything about this felt feminine when I watched it. Much more Jane Austen than Charles Dickens. I thought about it a little more than realized that the perspective on the primary female character is in fact a very male one (hints of, “women in general aren’t to be trusted.”) But it’s not my thing. It did stimulate thoughts around immigration and emigration and how those things are so very different in the United States now, yet so universally unchanged.

    Good Luck To You, Leo Grande – B. I knew absolutely nothing about this, having only read the Rotten Tomato critic consensus which reads, “Sexual awakening stories aren’t in short supply, but Good Luck to You, Leo Grande proves you can still tell one with a refreshing — and very funny — spin.” It’s not entirely wrong–it’s a sexual awakening story… about a 65 year old woman. It feels like you might want to include that in your single-sentence review? More importantly the whole thing felt like an apology for sex work. I’m not unsympathetic to the case being made, but I struggled to connect with either character or feel much urgency about the central issues. The acting was terrific, even if I ultimately found the characters unbelievable. I’m also not sure what was “very funny” about it, or how the thing is described as a “comedy”. Not only did I not find it funny, it never occured to me that I was supposed to.

    Aftersun – B-. I think this was a reasonable idea, questionably executed and poorly shot with overly-artistic ambitions. It’s supposed to be a pensive woman “remembering” a summer vacation she took with her father when she was an 11 year-old girl, but you’d be forgiving for not understanding that because like so many art house films, it winds up substituting obtuse for clever, hoping you’ll think you’re too dumb to notice the difference. The cinematography was probably supposed to be edgy and presumably evoke a sense of remembering, but mostly was just crap. And I’m not much holding against it the transition scenes that are supposed to be an 11 year old with a camcorder, but the fact that the whole thing looks like it was shot by someone with the compositional sense of a monkey who’d been to film school and was trying hard to do the opposite of everything it’d seen there. Still, the characters felt real, the acting was great, and I at times soaked up all subtlety in the very real dialog that unraveled at a glacial pace and gave me time to contemplate the nothing that was going on.

    Official Competition – C+. My lack of research and preparation lead to me to watch a film about filmmaking, one of the worst kinds of films. Filmmakers are insufferable about how important they think they are, and as a whole haven’t reached a point where I believe they’re allowed to reflect upon this in public. The saving grace here is that this was funny, and the fact that filmmakers take themselves too seriously is maybe the central thesis. I was entertained through most of it, all the way up until the absurd climax and ridiculous resolution. I think had it managed to be even funnier than it was, I would have liked it better.

    Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. – B-. I read the book when I was Margaret’s age, and don’t remember enough of it to remember how true to it the film wound up being. A commenter on Marginal Revolution called it a “Period piece,” which is a much better review than I think I’ll manage. As someone who grew up in a secular household with parents who had the same backgrounds as Margaret, my feelings about religion when I read the book were, “Why does she care so much? Should I care?” As a teen, I’d sometimes reflect back on Margaret with a bit more sympathy, but in my 40s, I’m over it. It was a well-done adaptation, I enjoyed watching it, but I’m not sure that the world needed it.

    Saltburn – F. Everything about this was terrible. I paused it about halfway through and asked Joanna if we could just stop watching it, but she said she wanted to see it through. When it ended, I asked her if she was glad we’d seen it through–she admitted that she wasn’t. It’s a bad story, poorly told, and relies on a reveal that wasn’t really a reveal. I don’t understand the motivations behind anyone who created it, but the world would be better off without it.

    Love at First Sight (2023) – I can’t properly rate this. It was not a “good” movie, but I really did enjoy it. Maybe all I want in life are decent romantic comedies, and this one checks all the usual boxes.

    Comments: Mediocre Films

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    This is a boring post about a mostly boring thing that I feel compelled to write. It’s aimed at those of you who haven’t thought much about Internet security, find websites increasing security demands obnoxious and just want to go about your life with minimal hassle. Like my Mom. Or Jonah. I find that I’m…

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    Maybe going through and watching critically acclaimed movies is actually working for me. I’m mostly just plugging in the movies that are well-liked by critics into Criticker and watching anything that Criticker agrees I’ll like. This is working better than it usually does. Marcel the Shell with Shoes On: B. I’m not much of a…

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    Girl Picture (Tytöt tytöt tytöt): B+. This felt fresh, maybe because it’s Finnish. The central character is a difficult girl and she’s difficult in ways that resonate. This pretends to be a “coming of age” film, and it technically is, but these characters didn’t really feel like teenagers to me. There are really two stories that…

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