Extracts, February 2019

"Close" (Vicky Jewson, 2019)
Select review blurbs collected from Letterboxd & Twitter

Alita: Battle Angel (Robert Rodriguez, 2019)
If "RoboCop" took place in the "Titanic" movie universe under the narrative guidance of whoever was responsible for "Street Sharks". If you can jive with contrivances in the school of a Saturday morning cartoon, there is enough in "Alita" to leave you interested in the clear direction for a follow-up without all the origin story-itis. The best part is that one Toto song finally makes sense. Also 100% thought that was James Cameron before he took the goggles off.

Close (Vicky Jewson, 2019)
Tomb Raider by way of Tom Clancy. Though rarely rising above direct-to-whatever sensibility, there is plenty to mine from this extremely expedient Noomi paycheck. And there is little more agreeable in cinema today than Noomi getting a paycheck.

High Flying Bird (Steven Soderbergh, 2019)
Soderbergh at his Soderberghiest. Every hallmark is here. A single, static camera placement for a conversation about contracts can be studied the way entire classic scenes are studied.

The Other Side of the Wind (Orson Welles, 2018)
Unlike “On the Silver Globe” proving unfinished films can be monumental, there is sadly so little to “The Other Side of the Wind” that it leaves me wondering only these two things: why anyone even tried, and whether latter years Welles was more bitter or more horny.
This review blurb led to an intriguing conversation with a Welles enthusiast on Twitter, in which we observed among other things that "Other Side" evokes John Cassavetes' "Faces".

Velvet Buzzsaw (Dan Gilroy, 2019)
Glimpses of an interesting film biting at the business of modern art that suffocate when stitched to an embarrassingly pedestrian, go-nowhere “A Nightmare on Elm Street” wannabe. One would be forgiven for watching due to the Jake Gyllenhaal factor, and rewarded only by another look at Daveed Diggs.

"Velvet Buzzsaw" (Dan Gilroy, 2019)