Sunday Short Reviews

Every Sunday, Gill delves into his archive of over 800 movie reviews and randomly selects three for your enjoyment! Here are this week’s…

Anomalisa
Charlie Kaufman’s first foray into the world of animation doesn’t bring anything new to the table with regards to his writing. As with many (if not all) of Kaufman’s other films, this is a movie about a talented man who is dissatisfied with the mundane world around him, but finds a new lease on life in the form of a manic pixie dream girl who helps him see things from a different perspective. But Anomalisa stands apart from Kaufman’s other works by being rendered in a truly unique stop-motion world of tiny dioramas and sets. What’s really interesting about Anomalisa is the fact that all of the settings and people in the film are mundane, normal stuff, but the detail with which they’re constructed on a small scale is breathtaking. A simple cab ride or hotel room suddenly becomes a masterful work of art just because of how much thought has been put into capturing every little piece of it. Because I’m a sucker for good stop-motion animation, I really enjoyed this movie, but viewers might get hung up on how much of a sad sack douchebag the main character is. But the quirkier moments in the script and the beautiful animation were enough to make me overlook the film’s flaws.
3.5 out of 5

The Witch
Fans of jump-scare horror probably won’t like The Witch, but if you enjoy classic slow-burn horror, then I highly recommend this one. A group of puritans in the 1600’s have been banished from their New England colony and move to the edge of a big, dark wood to start their lives anew. Shortly after their arrival, however, the family’s baby goes missing, and we discover that he was stolen by a witch who has designs to torment the entire family. Accusations fly, lies are told, the family begins to be torn asunder, and it all culminates in a truly satisfying ending. The Witch‘s greatest achievement is feeling authentic to the time and place in which it is set. Writer/director Robert Eggers apparently took dialogue chunks from real written accounts from the time period, and thus it feels as though we’re looking at something that is, in part, a historical document, enhancing the moments of horror with a strange kind of temporal realism. The production design and camerawork in The Witch are also top notch, and though modern horror fans may be unimpressed, I really enjoyed this movie.
3.5 out of 5

Deadpool
Wade Wilson is a foul-mouthed mercenary with a heart of gold who discovers he has cancer, and so undergoes a superhero overhaul treatment to cure it. But when the treatment leaves him horribly scarred and ugly, he vows revenge on the British villain who kidnapped his girlfriend. This plot description sums up one of my major complaints about Deadpool. This film is clearly trying to bring some fresh, new ideas to the superhero movie trend that has now overstayed its welcome. Its protagonist can break the fourth wall, he’s prone to filthy yet funny turns of phrase, and there’s way more blood, violence, and mayhem than any other Marvel movie to date…but if you boil it all down, this is just yet another superhero origin story. The villains are uninspired, there are only a couple of action sequences, and the settings (mainly a freeway and a junkyard) are so generic that you can barely tell them apart. Furthermore, the cartoonish aspects of the movie often don’t go far enough, and Deadpool’s ability to speak directly to the audience is never really taken advantage of. I can see why people would flock to Deadpool in response to being tired of getting a half-dozen superhero movies every year, but in a way, I feel as though we’ve had the wool pulled over our eyes, because this movie is only “fresh” and “new” on a superficial level. If you look a bit closer, you’ll see that it’s just another Marvel superhero origin story. That being said, the duo of Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead were great, and I would much rather have watching a whole movie about them.
2.5 out of 5

See you next Sunday for three more thrilling short reviews!

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