The Shape of Water—A Cold War Era Fairytale

The Shape of Water movie poster

The Shape of Water is the story of Elisa, a mute woman who works as a cleaning woman in a top secret facility. One day they bring a fish monster into the lab, and Elisa falls in love. Directed by Guillermo del Toro, and written by del Toro and Vanessa Taylor.

Warning: full frontal nudity, female.

1—Once Upon A Time

Where to start talking about The Shape of Water? It’s a slow simmer, rather than an action-packed romp, but the pacing is just perfect for what it is. I was never bored. The imagery is beautiful, starting with an underwater apartment scene. We meet Elisa and get to know her routine—wake up, masturbate, cook eggs, go to work. And then her routine is disrupted by a scream and a man coming out of a room bleeding from the stumps of his fingers. Continue reading “The Shape of Water—A Cold War Era Fairytale”

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales—Twisty Yet Predictable

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales movie poster
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Dead Men Tell No Tales is the latest in the Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise. It follows Henry Turner as he truest break his father’s curse by enlisting Jack Sparrow and Carina Smyth to find the Trident of Poseidon.

1—Tone

The special effects were spectacular, of course, and the soundtrack is great and follows the music of the rest of the series pretty closely. The tone, creepy and adventurous, is pitch perfect Pirates of the Caribbean. Continue reading “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales—Twisty Yet Predictable”

Star Wars: The Last Jedi—I’m Conflicted

Star Wars: The Last Jedi movie poster
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Star Wars: The Last Jedi continues the adventures of Rey, Finn, and Poe as they battle the First Order for the fate of the universe. Things don’t go so well this time.

1—Thrilling

The fights, both between people and between starships, are great. They all have that sense of awe and danger. Partly this is the choreography and effects, but it’s also that each fight has consequences. People die and fates change. Continue reading “Star Wars: The Last Jedi—I’m Conflicted”

Doctor Strange—Good Second Half

Doctor Strange movie poster
Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange is the first Doctor Strange movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (actually, as of this writing, it’s the only one but I’m assuming they’ll do more). It follows Dr. Stephen Strange as he looses the use of his hands and goes to Nepal to try to get the use of them back and instead finds a sect of mystic sorcerers.

1—The Effects

Let’s start with the good. The special effects in this movie are fantastic, in both senses of the word. They did a great job with the special effects, of which almost the whole movie uses. The effects themselves are also fantastical, with folded cities, portals through space and time, and a living cloak with a sense of humor. Continue reading “Doctor Strange—Good Second Half”

Stardust (the Movie, Not the Book)—Fun But Not Free of Problems

Stardust movie poster
Stardust

Stardust is a romantic fantasy adventure movie based on a book by Neil Gaiman. It’s follows Tristan as he crosses the magical wall that separates his little English village from the magical realm of Stormhold.

1—Beautiful Movie

Stardust is a gorgeous movie with excellent set design, special effects, and editing. The music is often big and bold but also appropriate to each moment. Continue reading “Stardust (the Movie, Not the Book)—Fun But Not Free of Problems”

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2—Family is Complicated

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 movie poster
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

I enjoyed Guardians of the Galaxy and was not disappointed by this sequel. Guardians of the Galaxy Volume Two is a superhero space movie following the further adventures of Peter Quill—aka Star Lord—Gamora, Drax, Rocket the raccoon, and Baby Groot (a tiny sentient tree-creature) as they save the galaxy again.

1—Fatherhood

Rocket and Baby Groot are adorable together. Baby Groot loves music possibly even more than Quill does and Rocket…well, Rocket is a jackass but he’s got his reasons. They don’t stop him from looking after Baby Groot, along with the rest of the Guardians. Continue reading “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2—Family is Complicated”

Murder on the Orient Express, the Movie (2017)—A Well-Done Version of a Classic

Murder on the Orient Express movie 2017
Murder on the Orient Express

Directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh as the inimical detective, Hercule Poirot, Murder on the Orient Express is adapted from one of murder mystery maven Agatha Christie’s best known books.

1—Well Paced and Characterized

Murder on the Orient Express has a lot to set up in little time, lots of clues and characters to introduce, but neither pacing nor characterization feels cheated. Everything flows naturally, including the gradual shift in tone from the lighthearted beginning to the emotional struggles of the climax. Continue reading “Murder on the Orient Express, the Movie (2017)—A Well-Done Version of a Classic”

Wonder Woman—Awesome

Wonder Woman movie poster
Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman, directed by Patty Jenkins, is the origin story of the titular figure.

1—Story

The story is self contained so if you don’t know anything about the rest of Marvel’s universe, you’re fine. It follows Diana, princess of Themyscira as she grows up, rescues Steve Rogers, and goes to fight in WWI. It’s serious in tone, but not grimdark. Though like most superhero movies, there’s plenty of use of gory discretion shots and bloodless carnage. Continue reading “Wonder Woman—Awesome”

Crimson Peak—Creepy but Slow

Crimson Peak movie poster
Crimson Peak

Crimson Peak is a gothic romance-horror movie directed by Guillermo del Torro.

1—Ghostly Atmosphere

The ghosts in Crimson Peak were both creepy and gross, being skeletal-muscular and either black or red. The movie builds good atmosphere, especially via the butterflies and conversations. There’s some violence, mostly at the end, and someone gets stabbed in the face. That was sufficiently gross, despite a lack of gore. Most of the gore is in the ghosts themselves. Continue reading “Crimson Peak—Creepy but Slow”

Miss Peregrin’s Home for Peculiar Children—The Movie Doesn’t Live Up to the Book

Miss Peregrin's Home for Peculiar Children film poster
Miss Peregrin’s Home for Peculiar Children

The movie version of Miss Peregrin’s Home for Peculiar Children lacks the charm of the book. It starts off slow, gets really morbid, the ends as a fluffy action movie. It also had some time travel consequences that didn’t make sense to me, namely the grandfather coming back to life—I know I’ve mentioned I hate time travel, something that didn’t even occur to me while reading the book. Also, I didn’t buy the romance between Emma and Jake.

It wasn’t all bad though. The monster designs were cool, and the special effects were great. Worth seeing once for the scenes in the underwater ship. I also liked Eva Green’s performance as Miss Peregrin.