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Letterboxd Loose Ends 2015

Film reviews I’ve written on Letterboxd that are fewer than 100 words are collected here.

Inherent Vice

There are many enjoyable moments in Inherent Vice’s drug-addled noir, most of them occurring between Joaquin Phoenix’s hippie P.I. and Josh Brolin’s crooked cop. As a whole, though, the stupor the audience is made to share with the protagonist renders the intricacies of the hardboiled plot largely impenetrable. That bewildering effect is fitting but unsatisfying.


A caricature of creativity.

Assault on Precinct 13

A lot of Assault on Precinct 13’s potential appeal rides on its antihero, Napoleon Wilson (Darwin Joston), but the character just doesn’t get there. All of his sardonic one-liners are limp punch lines in search of a joke, and Joston’s portrayal of him as a notorious, cavalier killer is bland and ineffectual, completely absent the menace he is presumed to possess.

The Guest

The original Uncle Buck is still the best, but this is a really fun remake.

High Fidelity

  1. How old is the youngest person alive who unironically uses the phrase “making love?”
  2. How old is the youngest Richard alive who consents to being called Dick?
  3. Is Rob Gordon velumiphobic?

Ghost in the Shell

At its best, Ghost in the Shell is a striking exercise in worldbuilding. If they were extended, I could probably watch an hour or two of its atmospheric montages of daily life in Hong Kong’s near future, whose sights and sounds are at once dreamlike and palpable. But as an exercise in storytelling, it’s disappointing that a film with such strong visuals and interesting ideas relies almost entirely on dialogue for its expository and thematic heavy lifting.


On an emotional level, the aspect of Spotlight that had the biggest impact on me was its journalists’ team dynamic, and the team’s (mostly) unfailing trust in each other to do the job right, even in the middle of the highest-stakes investigation of their careers. In a discussion about the film, this was described with a colloquialism I hadn’t heard before, and which I found too perfect not to make a note of here: competence porn.