thetoastermon

IMDb member since January 2016
    Lifetime Total
    100+
    IMDb Member
    5 years

Reviews

Moonlight
(2016)

Nearly Perfect
I do not say this lightly: Moonlight achieves near perfection. The first time I saw it, it was kind of in one ear, out the other. I don't think I fully saw it, saw it's core. I thought I had a decent understanding of the African-American condition, as a white male, but I didn't. I never will. However, I have learned and expanded my mind since my first viewing of Moonlight, and upon a repeat viewing, I have seen it's core... and at the same time, saw nothing at all.

Some people say that a great edit, great sound design, great visual effects, even great acting and directing is something that you don't notice: it's so immersive, so worthy of your attention yet undistracting, that you don't even notice it; rather, you live it. You experience a perfect scene as if it were real, happening right in front of you. The second time I watched Moonlight, I experienced it. I didn't wonder "Who's that actor?" until I was at it's end. Perhaps this means I should be more familiar with the people on screen, and if so, my ignorance was worth it.

Everything about this film is damn-near untouchable. Moonlight gives hs beautiful cinematography, fantastic acting at all age levels (that's important, I HATE child actors), a phenomenally realistic and powerful script, all tied together truly artful direction. Moonlight is moving, and more than that, it is real. This is an important film: not to watch, but to experience it. I hope everyone gets a chance to experience it as I did.

The Shape of Water
(2017)

The Shape of Set Design
A masterclass in production design and cinematography, driven by sympathetic and captivating characters under the visionary direction of Guillermo Del Torro.

The Peanut Butter Falcon
(2019)

A Modern Huck-Finn Tale
A lovely film. Perfect casting (Shia and Zack's chemistry is infectious) top a delightful story, tear-jerking at times and laugh-out-loud funny at others. This film was, for the first 45 minutes or so, perfect... that was until the romance b-plot. Ruined a truly wonderful thing with needless cliche. That considered, this would have gotten a solid 8 from me, if it weren't for the sappy mini-twists. I hate that Disney movie garbage - so pointless and unfulfilling. Regardless, Peanut Butter Falcon was a very positive experience for me, and I will recommend it every time it comes up in conversation.

Uncut Gems
(2019)

My Favorite Film of the 2010s
The Safdie Brothers' story of a gambling addict in a desperate race against his mounting debts is one of the greatest examples of Realism in modern film. The cinematography and pacing perfectly compliments the rising anxiety that drives the film. In combination with truly incredible performances, a turbulent story set in the real world supported by real people (many among the cast are not actors, including Kevin Garnet), and very clear direction from Josh and Benny Safdie, Uncut Gems builds an intensely immersive tale that audiences will get lost in.

Climax
(2018)

A Great Experiment
This film is a lot. The film is composed of very long takes with fun, disorienting camerawork; the dialogue and many of the events themselves were entirely improvised; there are a lot of fascinating things going on here. The first half of the film is magnetic: there's some great improvised dialogue, a really well shot dancing segment that felt totally natural, a great title sequence that was clearly a labor of love, and a lot of intriguing and shockingly good performances, considering there's only one professional actor in this film. Very good beginnings. However, as the film progressed, the long takes start to feel longer and the characters, as they descend into madness, somehow become terribly boring to watch. The story flatlines partway through the second act, and it becomes more of a show than a story. TLDR, the latter half of the film is mostly just people screaming, and its a bit tiresome.

I admire this film, and I admire its director and his vision, but it lost me in the 3rd act. I recommend this film to anyone that wants to see something strange, or if you're high and want to go for a ride. This is a strong 6/10, in my opinion.

Vivarium
(2019)

Fascinating but Pointless
I believe the point of the film is that it's pointless, a gloomy cycle that repeats itself regardless of whatever may try to get in its way. It's nihilistic, but also does not seek to convey anything to the audience. It's an intriguing story that begins and ends, and in the end was nothing more than a thought experiment without merit.

Rick and Morty: A Rickle in Time
(2015)
Episode 1, Season 2

Brilliant
Comedic science fiction at its best. This episode is a great example of how Rick and Morty breaks ground, especially in its insane writing.

Rick and Morty: The Rickshank Rickdemption
(2017)
Episode 1, Season 3

One of the best episodes of any television show to date
"Yeah, well if you think my Rick is dead, he's alive, and if you think you're safe, he's coming for you!"

This episode blew my mind the first time I saw it, and I notice a new detail every time. Rick and Morty has a unique way of sucking its audience into a world that appears completely random, then fabricating a convoluted plot, well grounded in the apparent chaos. It's complexity veils itself in absurdity, then surprises the audience with simple clarity through the characters themselves, characters birthed in and cultivated by nonsense. This show is a perfect playground for the imagination of the writers and animators, and it's incredible to watch evolve and improve while remaining, at it's core, very silly. Three hats off to Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon, who's unique and unknowable wit somehow found a way into the mainstream. I am personally inspired by this show's mere existence in a world that I expected to reject it.

Solar Opposites: Terry and Korvo Steal a Bear
(2020)
Episode 7, Season 1

A B-Plot brought to the foreground
This is the culmination of the entire season, in my opinion. A beautiful episode, insightfully parodic and emotionally moving. This is the furtherment of Justin Roiland's absurd vision, in which his absurd ramblings become something bigger and more intriguing.

Roma
(2018)

Full Realism
Roma is, at times, painfully realistic. It captures the chaos of the world around the main characters and uses it not to convey the story beneath the surface. Every frame is packed with detail, sometimes to the extent that one loses track of the main characters for a while, enticed by the peripheral yet exigent events of the greater world.

From a critical perspective, I look favorably upon any work of art that tells a story with more detail than I can absorb in a single viewing. The best movies are those that can be seen over and over again and offer a new experience each time, offering more to those willing to look closer. This film does not demand repeat viewings - it tells a clear story, with a clear end - but it will entice the critic to look closer, to examine every shot and every scene, foreground to the background. This film is an exhibition of stark realism, such that few filmmakers can capture as adeptly as Cuarón.

Gwoemul
(2006)

My Introduction to a Great Director
Written and directed by the now world-renowned Bong Joon Ho, the Host is the first film of his that I became acquainted to. It shares the same key features that all of his films do: a fascinating story, a commentary on inequity and the corruption of power, tactful cinematography, and fantastic production design and art direction.

Poh wai ji wong
(1994)

A very silly comedy that's beautifully self aware
A very silly comedy that makes the most out of the visual medium. This film makes its mark on the audience with intense zooms and dolly shots, wide-angle lenses, over-the-top sequences, strange and hilarious scene transitions, creative visual gags, absurd fight sequences, and rapid, witty dialogue. It plays with highs and lows with the unbounded imagination of a child and never relents. Poh wai ji wong is a light hearted comedy that earns its place on the silver screen.

Django Unchained
(2012)

Quentin Tarantino's Best
An extremely stylized slave-era western that paints an almost comedic picture of American slave culture. It is at times hard to watch, yet will have you laughing at its cartoonish violence and have you in awe at the level of detail and care put into its lead characters. A well crafted picture that showcases all of Quentin Tarantino's greatest skills and style as a filmmaker. Even his obligatory cameo in this film is much better than what I generally expect from him. This is a film that can be studied and hyperanalyzed without disappointment.

Better Call Saul: Something Stupid
(2018)
Episode 7, Season 4

Brilliant (I do not use the word lightly)
*light spoilers*

A stellar episode with pointed writing backed by effective, nuanced performances (as seen in Kim's courtroom confrontation and subsequent talk with Jimmy at the end of the episode). This is episode also features several great visual sequences (namely the split intro and underground site entrance sequence). All brought together by a clear and focused director, this is an essentially perfect episode.

Rick and Morty
(2013)

God Bless Rick and Morty
One of the few adultswim titles that gained the traction it deserved, Rick and Morty is the twisted and improvisational brainchild of Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon. I love this series to death. It is weird, self-aware, and made with visible passion and hilarious experimentation. A true success and my favorite cartoon, despite its popularity.

Castlevania
(2017)

Phenomenal Western Animation
A delightfully dark and visually striking action/fantasy, with a twisted sense of humor and a story that consistently surprises me with its depths. Starting with a 4 episode mini-season, I was pleased with but overall indifferent to the series, then season 2 blew me away, proving that the creators are passionate and ever-expanding. Season 3 was good, too, though perhaps a bit too meandering, due to how many characters have been split up and must have their stories told completely separately. However, it remains visually unique and narratively captivating, while maintaining the wicked gore and cruelty that makes it so... addictive.

Skin
(2018)

Some good moments, ruined by the ending
There are some very powerful moments in this film, backed up by very solid performances. The ending is a bit off. I think I understand what the director was going for, but it's not quite there.

The Hangover
(2009)

Whelp.
My initial review of this was "Eh." Here it is: "A dramatically sound comedy with a disappointing solution. It, and several other comedic moments in the film, are reliant on distractingly contrived and implausible variables. In other words, the characters would have to be more stupid than they are presented to be in order for this plot to be possible. So, it's funny, and I watched the whole thing, but overall... eh."

However, this review does not fully account for what you are delivered as a result of these contrived plot points. Sure, a plot hole or two-rather, an impossible scenario or two-can make a story very challenging to agree with. But when it delivers you something like Stu's resolution, or like the photographic sequence during the credits, perhaps it is worth it. Those two things wrap this story up in what I hazard to call... Comedic Realism.

Something I think this film is, perhaps, a pioneer of. I remember this changing American comedies. Now I see why.

Minority Report
(2002)

Great
Not only was this a marvel of digital effects when it was released, but it is expertly directed by Spielberg. With a sometimes off-putting but generally effective pairing of drama, sci-fu, and comic-relief elements, this film tells an interesting and engaging story that will keep you watching through the entire runtime, assuming the occasional eye-rolling visual gags and weird plot-holes don't turn you away. The set and production design and dialogue assist a well-built world and the performances, most notably by Tom Cruise and Collin Ferrel, really sell it. I recommend this film to any movie buff or sci-fi fan.

Enemy
(2013)

Yellow + Spiders + Jake Gyllenhaal
A work of auteur cinema, examining an interesting idea both thoroughly and subtly, thanks to expert direction and two fantastic performances by Jake Gyllenhaal. I think I need to watch it again to figure out what the spiders had to do with anything, but I can't deny that this is a solid work of cinema. That spider ending did throw me for a loop, though. That was jarring.

Koto no ha no niwa
(2013)

Delightful
A visually impressive and narratively engaging anime half-feature that I think is the embodiment of Makoto Shinkai's work. It's intimate, highly visual style is unmistakable and immerses you in a meditative world, and ordinary one where beauty is etched into the everyday. My second time watching it, I helped myself to some beer and chocolate: a very fine combination, one that this film reintroduced me to.

Goodfellas
(1990)

Goodfellas
I wrote pages of notes watching this film, and yet, this is all that really needs to be said: Goodfellas is one of the most masterfully shot and well performed films of all time.

Yip Man 2
(2010)

Success
Although the combat and non-fiction elements are a bit more farfetched than they were in the original, this is a successful sequel. As well, the camerawork showed a great improvement, and the new and more pervasive use of humor was quite a treat.

Halo: Nightfall
(2014)

Lazy Sci-fi
This reminds me of After Earth, but with a significantly lower production value. This is extremely unforgivable when one considers how well thought out and impressive the Halo franchise has proven itself to be (that is until Bungie stepped aside and let 343 take over). Speaking as a long-time fan of the Halo franchise, this series is a grim reminder that a once beloved universe is now in tragically uncreative and clumsy hands.

Midsommar
(2019)

A Masterwork of Suspense and Unease
This is peak horror filmmaking. It shows true restraint in its slow build, one that pays-off immensely. I was emotionally drained and awestruck when the credits rolled. Do yourself a favor and familiarize yourself with this Ari Aster, a dare-I-say new director that I am excited to see break more and more ground. Perhaps he will prove to the Academy that horror films aren't all cheap tricks and hackneyed writing, that the horror genre can offer something truly incredible.

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