‘The Incredibles 2’ Review

The Incredibles 2

The Incredibles is that rare Pixar movie that doesn’t feel as if it were designed to rip your heart out and devastate you. It has nothing like the opening montage of Up, during which we experience the ups and downs of a shared life full of love in just a few minutes; nothing like the moment near the end of Toy Story 3, when it seems as if our heroes are about to end up where all toys end up; nothing like Bing Bong’s self-negation in Inside Out.

Critical Inclusions

There has been much discussion of a recent USC study suggesting that film critics, as a group, are disproportionately white and male. You could quibble with methodology (some say Rotten Tomatoes is a useful, easy-to-access measuring stick but far from comprehensive; I think it’s a fair cross-section of the critical community) if you wanted to, but, honestly, it feels pretty accurate to me. Women, non-white writers, and, as I have noted elsewhere, conservatives, are pretty underrepresented in the world of film criticism.

‘Ocean’s 8’ Review

Ocean's 8

Ocean’s 8 is almost certainly the best date movie of the year: It’s a clever heist movie that’s deeply amusing and features the most entertaining and attractive collection of actresses collected in one spot in a great many years. Men and women alike will find plenty to love. Word of mouth is going to be great. I promise you this: It’s going to be a huge hit. See it now before one of your colleagues spoils the ending.

New Substandard, Plus a Book Recommendation

The latest Substandard is here; we spend about the first half of the show kibitzing, the second half of the show half-assing our way through some extra Solo: A Star Wars Story thoughts. Not necessarily our best episode; the embed is at the bottom of the post if I haven’t turned you off entirely. But one …

‘First Reformed,’ ‘Filmworker’ Reviews

First Reformed

The plot of First Reformed is relatively straightforward. Reverend Toller (Ethan Hawke), an ill preacher who finds himself unable to communicate with God following the death of his son and the dissolution of his marriage, attempts to help radical environmentalist Michael (Phillip Ettinger) find a reason to celebrate bringing a child into the world following the revelation that his girlfriend, Mary (Amanda Seyfried), is pregnant. Michael’s extremism rubs off on Toller, who begins to wonder if God can forgive us for the harm we’ve done to the planet—or our inaction in the face of said despoliation.

‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ Review

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Solo is an extremely competent piece of filmmaking: it is definitely a movie that tells a story and has characters, some of whom you have met before, all of whom have specific goals and hopes and dreams. The performances range from good to quite good. The special effects are unmemorable but well executed. I remember action sequences being a part of the film, but couldn’t really pinpoint a standout moment or signature in from any of them.

New Starbucks Code of Conduct

Instead of Starbucks simply saying that they’ll try not to arrest any more random black dudes who are standing around their stores for a couple of minutes, the higher-ups have lost their damn minds, sending their employees to reeducation camp and announcing that anyone can linger in a Starbucks for as long as they want, …