Over the Thanksgiving break, I watched a load of movies because it is that time of the year. Screener season is one of my favorites because I can watch stuff I either missed or brand-new stuff I haven’t gotten around to. I had a chance to check out some Oscar contenders, hopefuls, and movies that are hoping for some critics love this award season. While every film I watched didn’t check the box, I did watch some good ones.
As someone who didn’t love X, I was optimistic about whether or not I would like Pearl. The script by Ti West and Mia Goth provided some much-needed depth to Pearl’s character, making me feel more invested than I did with X. I also loved how BRUTAL this movie is. It never shied away from the blood and guts that horror movies sometimes escape from showing these days. Mia Goth gives one heck of a performance in this movie that proves that she is someone we need to keep an eye on. Overall, I didn’t love the entire film, but Goth’s performance delivers enough for it to be worth a watch.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when heading into The Inspection, but I walked away impressed with Elegance Bratton’s heartfelt directorial debut. While the film can feel procedural at times, it does have so much of Bratton’s heart in front of and behind the camera that it brings you to tears. Jeremy Pope is a star and continues to show that with a brilliant performance. It’s an emotional gut punch of a film you don’t want to miss.
Are we talking about Bill Nighy enough regarding the Best Actor conversation? I don’t think we are. I was genuinely surprised by how much I enjoyed this movie and most of it had to do with Nighy’s performance. The script might seem simplistic, but the way Kazuo Ishiguro wrote the film made you do quite a bit of reflecting. Aimee Lou Wood was an absolute delight in the role of Miss Harris. She provided the perfect enough balance to give the film a much need laugh while also, deep down, giving us some heart. Living is an honest and thought-provoking film that I adore.
Empire of Light
Sam Mendes brings us his latest in the form of a film based on his childhood in Empire of Light. There are so many great things about this film, from the score to the cinematography to Colman and Ward’s brilliant performances. However, Mendes’s script is oddly shallow, which holds the entire film back. It’s one of those “what could’ve been” films that will haunt me for years to come.
After providing us one of the best movies of the last decade with The Father, Florian Zeller is back with his latest, The Son. I had so many high hopes after giving us what he did with The Father, but Zeller let us down in a massive way. I am not sure if this stems from a rushed script after the success of his first film, but as a Father, stepfather, and son of a broken home, Zeller never seems to take any of those topics seriously. It’s a deeply misguided film with some laughable performances that scream GIVE ME AN OSCAR.
Steven Spielberg is one of those directors that most people don’t think can do any wrong, but they couldn’t be more wrong. Spielberg swung and missed with last year’s West Side Story and missed quite a bit on his latest film, The Fabelmans. Between a massive miss on casting, a story that is filled with pretentious moments that felt forced, and a story that lacked complete structure, The Fabelmans is not a good movie. It’s one of the biggest disappointments of 2022.