Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Movie Review - "Bull Durham" (1988)

"Bull Durham" is not only the greatest baseball movie of all time, but might also be one of the greatest sports movies of all time. Despite my love for sports and movies, sports movies are often tedious to watch because they’re so predictable and formulaic. If you’ve seen one comeback story about the underdog like "Rocky," then you’ve watched 95% of sports movies. But then you get a film like "Bull Durham," which looks at baseball like it was a religion, a way of life, a fun life that can be as quick as a fast ball or as leisurely as a nine-inning game on a warm summer day. And not just in the way to watch baseball but how it encourages patience, focus and intensity into our everyday lives, but especially into the way we make love. It honestly believe that baseball has all the answers to life as Susan Sarandon molds young baseball players not just into fine men but fine lovers. It plays with its sport better than any other sports movie, creating this shrine to baseball as a mental state and why people love the game so much.

Writer and director Ron Shelton once described "Bull Durham" more as a western than a sports movie, and I can see why he would think that through Kevin Costner’s character. Costner plays an aging veteran baseball player who reluctantly comes to town to coach a rising star (Tim Robbins), who has a chance to make it to the majors if he can learn to stop being such a hothead. Robbins and Sarandon find Costner mysterious, full of wisdom and a love for the game but little love for himself. He’s rough and rash but wants nothing more than to make the game he loves so much a little bit better, even if that means he gets shafted for the majors. Just replace the wide-open plains of the old west with a baseball diamond and bullets with an equally fast baseball and you’ve got yourself the most unique and hilarious sports film you’ll ever see.

Final Grade: A

Movie Review - "Cat Ballou" (1965)

By the 1950s, the western genre was beginning to fade, slowly but surely taking those same western stories of exploring an unknown frontier and setting them in the truly unexplored frontier space, which would eventually create the sci-fi genre. By the 1960s though, the western was essentially dead in Hollywood (though not so much in Italy with Sergio Leone reinventing the genre). It had become a tired genre filled with cliches of cowboys roaming a land that had already been conquered, so Hollywood needed to do something new to keep the genre alive. And you can’t say that they didn’t try with "Cat Ballou," since it gave us one of the most memorable performances in a western with Lee Marvin’s drunk stumbling turned into an art form here.

"Cat Ballou" takes many of those tired Western cliches and turns them on its head a female lead (Jane Fonda), bandits who actually want to be helpful instead of selfish and greedy, a town that loves its criminals more than its heroes, a savior who actually can’t do anything unless he’s drunk as a skunk. It plays with some of these effectively enough, though the best part of the movie is certainly Lee Marvin who shows that he has the slapstick comedy timing of Charlie Chaplin and the intensity of John Wayne. It gets even better since Marvin plays two roles, the bumbling hired gun who becomes surprisingly articulate once he’s got some booze in him, and a quiet assassin with a piece of silver over his nose, with Marvin making each of them his own man. But beyond this, there isn’t much to "Cat Ballou." It has a few laughs, but despite trying to buck with the western cliches, it falls into many of the same trappings as before, only usually saved by Lee Marvin giving one of the best performances of his career.

Final Grade: C+

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

My Favorite Films of the 2010s

It’s strange to think that we now live in the far off future of the 2020s. But with that new and strange future waiting for us, we also leave behind a decade filled with some of the best movies we have ever known. While there are a lot of negative and overwhelming things about the 2010s that we’ll always remember, whether we want to or not, I believe it is safe to say that this past decade was one of the best for cinema. It allowed the widest range of filmmakers to tell their unique and awe-inspiring stories that forever changed the landscape. From “Get Out” and “Moonlight” to “Lady Bird” and “Roma,” this was the decade of imaginative storytelling.

For me, I got to see far more wonderful movies than I can count. Not only did I get to see nearly every major release in my small town from 2014 onward, but this was a decade that significantly expanded my world view and tastes in cinema, allowing me to see pictures I would have never expected and now I can’t imagine a world without movies like “Spotlight” or “The Social Network.” But there are so many of those stunning films that forever changed cinema that it’s daunting to even narrow them all down to one list. 

So rather than talk about the best movies that changed the decade and movies forever, I’m going to stick with what I know and talk about the movies that changed me. The movies that I will remember forever from the 2010s and ones that I could watch again and again. I also couldn’t do any of these films justice with a short description here, though I do have full length reviews for nearly all of them elsewhere on my blog, so links to those will be included for each of them. These are not necessarily my picks for the best films of the decade (though some of these would be on that list too), but rather these are my absolute favorite and most memorable films of the 2010s (in no particular order…except for the last one).

“The Artist” (2011)

Out of all these picks, “The Artist” is the only one I haven’t talked about at length. But to get to the heart of it, “The Artist” is cinema at its purest. Raw, emotional, visual storytelling at its finest, celebrating how beautiful and tragic cinema can be by crafting a tale that hasn’t been told for nearly 80 years. It’s one thing to make a silent movie in 2011, but it’s another thing entirely to make about the story of how silent cinema faded and the lives that were crushed by that transition. At times, it evokes the whimsy and energy of “Singin’ in the Rain,” while other times the tragedy of being lost in an ever-evolving world like Norma Desmond in “Sunset Boulevard.” It is a timeless tale about why we love movies so much and why they’ll always be relevant, a love letter not just to silent cinema but cinema in general. 

“Her” (2013)

Simple, yet innovative. This is a science fiction piece that understands technology in cinema is not just fiction, but can be relatable and logical yet still fascinating and imaginative. I found myself just as invested in the futuristic Los Angeles as I was in the romance between Theodore and Samantha, finding a love story set in a world not too different from our own. A world where technology might have advanced further than us, and has replaced us in many capacities. Yet “Her” finds a middle ground where humans and technology make each other more desirable. That we wouldn’t be complete without the other. With the same quirky, off-the-wall craziness you can only get out of a Spike Jones film, “Her is one of the most creative and heart-warming films of the decade. 

“La La Land” (2016) and “Whiplash” (2014)

After a lot of consideration, I’ve come to the decision that I cannot decide which of Damien Chazelle’s masterpieces I love more. So rather than pick one, why not just include both in one spot? Though both films do tell me the same thing – that the musical is not dead. Chazelle’s take on the genre uses music more as an emotion or a state of mind that is complimented by a passion for why music, moving music, needs to be shared with the world. In “Whiplash,” this is taken to its most extreme through J.K. Simmons’ character and his anger at a world that doesn’t share his enthusiasm for music and can’t understand why his students don’t care about it as much as he does. While in “La La Land,” that passion is splashed all over the screen through vibrant colors, long shots of stunning choreography that demonstrates why musicals are beautifully unique without ever sacrificing that same harsh reality that “Whiplash” started. While both films are joyous in their own way, they never sugar-coat anything and often show just how cruel and unforgiving the world can be, but also why that passion is something worth fighting for.


“The Lego Movie” (2014)

There were a large amount of noteworthy animated movies over the last decade – “Inside Out,” “How to Train Your Dragon,” “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse,” “Kung Fu Panda 2,” “Zootopia,” “The Wind Rises,” “Kubo and the Two Strings” just to name a few. But none of them made quite as much of an impact on me as “The Lego Movie.” As strange as this is to say about a film meant to sell tiny bricks of plastic that are a pain to step on, “The Lego Movie” might have been the most creative, heartfelt, nostalgic and visually-striking film of the decade. Say what you will about some of the best cinematography of the decade, none of those movies were made up entirely of legos. But beyond the vast cast of characters that seems to cover nearly every franchise in existence and makes it all feel connected, what makes this so important is the twist near the end and the message that comes from it. No other animated movie hit me nearly as hard as that moment when you find out who has really been pulling all the strings and how it fits right at home with the imagination of legos. I didn’t know that I ever wanted a movie about yellow bricks that has Batman, Shaquille O’Neal and Charlie Day playing a crazy astronaut obsessed with spaceships, but now I can’t imagine a world without “The Lego Movie.”  


“Mad Max: Fury Road” (2015)

This film still blows me away. So much is conveyed with little dialogue and visually-rich imagery, creating this hellscape built on madness and cars. It is not only the most high-octane movie of the decade, but also the most authentic action movie of the decade too, with little CGI and epic level action sequences that would make David Lean blush with jealousy. This is what every action movie should aspire to be like – beautiful, detailed in its simplicity, deliciously hand-crafted and satisfying. Any day with “Mad Max: Fury Road” is a lovely day indeed.

“The Martian” (2015)

As time has passed, the more I have fallen in love with “The Martian.” I’d describe it now as a comedy that laughs in the face of certain death and takes delight in the small moments of happiness, anything to remind us why it’s wonderful to be alive. Despite films like “Gravity” or “Interstellar” taking giant leaps for exploring the universe in new and creative ways, it’s the heart and honesty of “The Martian” that wins me over every time. Matt Damon gives the best performance of his career, perfectly capturing the highs and lows of having a planet to yourself while refusing to succumb to the dread of dying and working towards another chance to live. “The Martian” is as uplifting as it is hilarious, striking the perfect balance between crisis and serenity. 

“Nightcrawler” (2014)

If I had to include one gritty and unsettling film from the 2010s, I’d certainly go with the irresistible “Nightcrawler.” Jake Gyllenhaal’s performance might be my second favorite of the decade, as a man so engrossed in his own uncaring and unsympathetic world that he has to go out to prove his worth in any meaningful way. The way he treats others like his pawns or tools yet how it plays so well into the world he creates for himself and the “Man bites dog” mentality of journalism is so highly captivating. Watching this man try to conquer the world in his own way is a treat all on its own, especially once he starts to succeed at it. 

“Parasite” (2019)

While I tried to stay away from more recent films that haven’t had as much time for reflection as the other films on this list, I keep coming back to Bong-Joon Ho’s immensely captivating genre-bender. Not only is the film able to effortlessly bounce between being a thriller, comedy and social commentary, but it is the most unpredictable experience of the decade. With each scene, it feels like the film could spring off a million different ways, always keeping the audience guessing as to which path it will take, and yet Bong-Joon Ho often picks none of those million possibilities and goes off in a completely different and yet still fascinating path no one could have expected. “Parasite” makes storytelling as creative and original as it was when we first heard stories and reminds me why cinematic storytelling can be so fun in the first place. 

“Shin Godzilla” (2016)

I tried desperately to think of a movie that I loved more than “Shin Godzilla” from the 2010s, and I could only come with a few movies, and certainly no other kaiju films. When I think of a modern monster movie, one that portrays a honest depiction of what would happen if there ever was a giant monster running around, “Shin Godzilla” captures that perfectly. The dread and uncertainty of a creature that defies all the laws of nature and the cold reality that scared, tired and confused men are in charge of dealing with that creature is terrifying in its own right. Democracy was not meant to handle a nearly indestructible monster that destroys everything in its path. And even beyond that, this version of Godzilla is the most terrifying since the original monster, leading to monster scenes that are just as intense and gripping as the scenes with the government, and helped by wonderfully dynamic cinematography. Lastly, there’s the national identity of Japan on full display as the film makes Japan the main character with its demeanor, ideals and fears bared for everyone, leading to a climax that is triumphant as it is exhilarating.  

“The Shape of Water” (2017)

Despite everything else being in no particular order, “The Shape of Water” is, without a doubt, my favorite movie of the 2010s. From the opening scenes of finding joy in the small moments of happiness like the smell of chocolate in the air to tap dancing after watching in on TV, to the transparently wicked Michael Shannon soaking up every minute he has a chance to assert his authority, to the hauntingly beautiful dream dance sequence that brings me to tears every time, there is no shortage of wonder and awe in this movie. But what really brings it all together is Sally Hawkins giving my favorite performance of the decade, so raw and emotionally gripping as she acts her heart out in every scene without ever saying a word. She commands the screen, not like Michael Shannon’s intensity, but through her vulnerability. “The Shape of Water” is joy in its purest form, capturing the majesty and imagination that cinema can offer without ever shying away from the darker, more horrific sides of that imagination that leads to powerful emotional moments that I’ll never forget. And it is because of Guillermo del Toro’s passion for filmmaking, passion for the fantastical and passion for life that makes “The Shape of Water” the most rewarding movie of the decade. 

This has been a decade of so many wonderful movies that I’m sure there’s a bunch that I missed or left out or possibly some that I didn’t even see. So if you have any of those, be sure to let me know what your favorite movies of the 2010s were!

Movie Review - "Going My Way" (1944)

Fun fact: I grew up in the town where Bing Crosby lived, Spokane. One of our local theaters is named after him and every Christmas they play a marathon of a few of his movies, usually ending with "White Christmas." And yet I don’t think that theater, simply known as The Bing, plays the movies of his that I’ve seen lately, like the "Road to…" movies, or more recently the film that won Bing Crosby an Oscar, "Going My Way." You would think that film would have solidified itself as a Crosby classic but nowadays it’s not nearly as popular as "Holiday Inn" or "White Christmas." "Going My Way" is just as smaultzy and overly sweet as those films, so go figure.

"Going My Way" tells the tale of Father O’Malley (Crosby), a priest who is sent to a decaying church in New York to help the elder pastor (Barry Fitzgerald) and is to take charge of the affairs of the parish. The more traditional pastor and the more relaxed and unconventional priest don’t get along at first, but as Father O’Malley starts helping out around town by making the young delinquent boys into the church’s choir and a young woman thought to be a prostitute is given a new outlook on life by Crosby, the pastor starts to open up to him. It is easy to tell this film came out in the middle of World War II, showing that the battle back home is in good hands by men who put everyone else ahead of themselves and want nothing more than to make the world a better place, something Americans can aspire to be like and brings soldiers peace and comfort. Crosby is more relaxed and at peace in this role and the on-screen chemistry he has with Barry Fitzgerald is delightful, if a bit too sweet. Nowadays, "Going My Way" is harmless fun about a priest that genuinely wants to make the world better with an ending that you’ll either love or find contrived. It was good enough to win Best Picture in 1944, so I’d say it’s still worth a look.

Final Grade: B-

Movie Review - "Klaus" (2019)

"Klaus" is the closest we’ve gotten to classic Disney animated storytelling since "Hercules." The fact that it isn’t Disney makes that even more impressive. But it’s not because of the animation that looks hand-drawn yet is somehow more immersive than that, it’s not even because of the retelling of a fairy tale we’re all familiar with, in this case how Santa Claus came to be it’s because of its heart, the warmth and compassion it has for the wonder of Santa and a burning passion to share that warmth with everyone and shares its message loud and proud, that selfless kindness is as infectious as it is moving.

Everything we love about Santa is given a purpose here the reindeer, the cookies, the elves, his laugh, giving bad kids lumps of coal, all of it is given new meaning and often leads to hilarious results. What works especially well is that this Santa (voiced by J.K. Simmons) is paired up with a pampered but hopeless postman (Jason Schwartzman) who is forced to move to the island Santa lives on, a dark, snowy island where two rival families have constantly fought one another for generations. This postman reminds me of Kuzco from "The Emperor’s New Groove" egotistical and so sure of himself but is thrust into a world he was never ready for and has to make the best of it, leading him to build a strange friendship that becomes the backbone of the movie. And through this strange friendship that neither the postman or Santa fully understand, all of the Santa-isms are given new meaning, but especially the joy of giving back to the world and watching the happiness that springs from that.

"Klaus" is as lovely as it is imaginative and is just as entertaining for adults as it is for kids. The animation is beautifully colorful and atmospheric, the comedy wonderfully balances good slap stick with witty comebacks and jokes and every character is energetic lively, even the rival families in their seriousness about their on-going war. But I can’t overstate how loving and caring this film is, not just for the story of Santa Claus but for what he stands for, that no matter who you are and what you’ve done, everyone deserves that same joy we all feel when we get a new toy.

Final Grade: A

Monday, February 17, 2020

Movie Review - "Birds of Prey" (2020)

If you asked me which sidekicks to DC characters deserved their own movies, my first pick would not be Harley Quinn. Robin, Lois Lane, the Teen Titans, even Mera from "Aquaman" have potential for poignant, worthwhile superhero movies. Yet we live in a world where the Joker’s obsessed girlfriend got her own movie in the DC cinematic universe before Batman, the Flash or Green Lantern got their own movies. And make no mistake, despite the title and advertisements billing this movie as an ensemble cast with several main characters, "Birds of Prey" focuses on Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn as much as the Deadpool franchise focuses on Deadpool, with lots of fourth wall breaking and self-important, hyper-active characters.

If "Suicide Squad" was DC’s rip off of "Guardians of the Galaxy," then "Birds of Prey" is their rip off of "Deadpool" R-rated superhero violence with loads of in-jokes and our hero bouncing back and forth between good and evil. But I’ll give "Birds of Prey" this much, at least it’s not horrendously unlikable like "Suicide Squad" since this one does try to have some personality and moral dilemmas.

Set some time after the events of "Suicide Squad," Harley Quinn (Robbie) has gotten tired of purportedly years of abuse, neglect and both mental and physical scars from the Joker and breaks up with him in the most ludicrously over the top way, which also puts a massive target on her back. This results in open season being declared on Harley, where she eventually ends up in the hands of the mob boss Black Mask (Ewan McGregor). Harley is able to weasel her way out of his clutches by doing a job for him that leads into a much bigger plot about a priceless gem that holds the key to a massive fortune, which very quickly involves a police detective (Rosie Perez), one of Black Mask’s employees who considers turning on him (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), a mysterious crossbow killer going after mob bosses (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), and a teenage thief who gets her hands on the diamond (Ella Jay Basco).

The strength of "Birds of Prey" lies in its supporting cast, especially the titular team of heroes. Perez plays a tired detective who has had enough of the corruption of the police department and just wants to make a difference in the world. Smollett-Bell plays a torn and confused woman who has seen how tough the world can be and just wants to live rather than survive, but realizes the conflict that creates for the rest of the world. Winstead plays a little girl in an adult’s body who only seeks vengeance, and then can’t figure out what to do with herself once she’s achieved that goal. All of them are charming and complex in their own ways, angry at the world but unsure how to make a big difference without ever coming across as brooding or angsty. Even Ewan McGregor is rather charming in his insanity and maniacal ego-trip, always ready to party but always read to attack without any regard or remorse. Every one of these characters is written and performed with the perfect amount of gravitas and dignity.

Where the film makes or breaks it though is with Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, who is in every scene. Even scenes where she’s not on screen, she’s providing narration about her thoughts on each character or writing on the screen about her nickname for them and why they probably hate her. Whether you love or hate this film will depend entirely on how much you enjoy Robbie’s kinetic and over-the-top performance and if you feel she differentiates herself enough from Ryan Reynold’s Deadpool in terms of zany, almost cartoon-esque antics. Personally, I felt Robbie’s performance was at odds with the serious-minded stories of the other female leads and didn’t contribute to any of them beyond bringing them together. As her own character, her redemption is serviceable but Robbie really dials everything up to 11. It’s like if William Shatner tried to be Batman in one of Christopher Nolan’s movies. There are times where the movie would have been better off without her, and other times where her frenetic energy is hilarious, especially when she’s being hunted by all of Gotham.

Overall though, "Birds of Prey" is a serviceable R-rated superhero film. The supporting cast is really given a chance to shine and the writing can sometimes be clever, but it does use many of the same fourth-wall breaking jokes and nods as "Deadpool" and it doesn’t help that Harley Quinn is as cartoony as Ryan Reynolds. Yet despite the many branching storylines, there is a solid connecting theme of turning anger and confusion into a weapon that brings them all together. "Birds of Prey" is far from the worst the DC cinematic universe has to offer, but it’s a sign that they’re still trying to copy Marvel’s success.
Final Grade: C+

Friday, February 14, 2020

Movie Review - "The Gentlemen" (2019)

Guy Ritchie’s "The Gentlemen" is about a herd of alpha dogs competing to see whose ego reigns supreme. Everyone in the cast turns up the charisma to win both the approval of competing rival gangs and the audience. From Henry Golding’s suave but explosive Dry Eye, to Charlie Hunnam’s orderly but smug Raymond, to Hugh Grant’s slimey reporter who desires recognition for his storytelling abilities (he recounts everything like he’s writing a screenplay) to especially Matthew McConaughey’s resourceful thug who has gained more power than he had ever hoped and tries desperately to be, well, a gentleman. There is no shortage of likable and explosive characters in this gangster comedy, all of them acting like bloodthirsty lords who wish to be proper and regal.

Though at times, it does feel like these characters go off and wander away from the plot, like someone forgot to herd these alpha dogs. There are many times where the film wanders around aimlessly, like when McConaughey’s character is confronting Dry Eye’s boss or a subplot involving a rebellious teenage girl. It does give Hunnam a chance to be intimidating and McConaughey to show that he can be scary when he wants to be, but these scenes don’t really go anywhere. The biggest problem with "The Gentlemen" is that it’s all style and charm with little direction, letting that style overwhelm the story, especially when it comes to Hugh Grant’s description of the events like it was a glamorous movie that he’s weaving together. At times it is intriguing and even hilarious with the word play and clever insults, but the story never feels coherent and it often feels like there is no story its just gangsters being gangsters. It makes for an entertaining ride filled with odd ball characters that feel larger than life with a unique style of cutting things together like the movie was being made right in front of us, but without a solid story it lacks any real teeth fun but kinda forgettable.

Final Grade: B-

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Movie Review - "Just Mercy" (2019)

This is another instance of why I’m glad that I wait a few days to write my reviews after watching the movie, to give myself time to reflect on what I felt was important about the movie and to see what really stood out. In the case of this film, "Just Mercy," I can now say that not much of this film really stands out it is your basic legal drama with emphasis on how racist was diabolical in the 80s and 90s. The film offers little of substance and feels very by-the-numbers in its legal cases, feeling like every other courtroom drama out there. Despite the film depicting real life events, in particular Harvard graduate Bryan Steveson (Michael B. Jordan) opening up a legal firm in a small Alabama town for death-row inmates who can’t afford legal support and his attempts to get a man wrongfully convicted of a murder, Walter McMillian (Jamie Foxx), there are few times where the film creates its own identity, instead coming across as a quieter, more reserved "A Few Good Man."

When I walked out of "Just Mercy," there were some elements worth praising, mostly in the acting from Jordan and Foxx, who do quietly show the turmoil that came with the racism and bigotry. However, while Jordan has moments of pain and regret, he spends most of the film being stoic, leaving his acting a lot to be desired. Foxx is good, though the best performance just might be Tim Blake Nelson as Ralph Myers, a convicted criminal whose testimony led to McMillian getting arrested. Nelson nails the criminal with nothing to lose yet is confused by the opportunity to do something good by helping the man he put on death row, like you can see the conflict going on inside his head over doing what he knows is right or doing what he’s been told do his entire life to keep himself clean.

However, the biggest problem is that "Just Mercy" doesn’t have anything to say other than general platitudes Racism is bad, and everyone deserves justice. It doesn’t get to the root of these problems and lacks any sort of subtlety or nuances. There is an attempt at a larger sense of humanity through the racial divide, but it doesn’t really go anywhere. It just ends up being your fairly generic courtroom drama with some worthwhile performances, nothing to really write home about.

Final Grade: C

Movie Review - "Dolemite" (1975)

“Dolemite” really is like if Ed Wood tried to make a Blaxploitation movie – a pimp, drug-dealing, comedian, kung-fu master tries to make a living in Hollywood despite the police and FBI constantly on his backs and an evil drug dealer trying to take his club and brothel, and there’s also a plot about arming a crazy priest for war in there too. The production values are non-existent, a lot of shots going on for about a minute longer than they need to, many pointless shots of kids playing in the parking lot or a long subplot involving a heroine addict, and a level of incompetent filmmaking that even a child could pick up on, like the boom mic in a lot of shots or the reflection of the camera man in every window (and there’s a lot of them). And then there’s our lead, Rudy Ray Moore, who fights everyone like he was Bruce Lee without ever actually landing a punch with the physique of someone who really loves his sweets. 

And yet, despite all of these flaws, there’s an undeniable charm to “Dolemite.” 

The film knows that it is not good and doesn’t care. What it does care about is making something for those wouldn’t normally be up on the big screen – the faces that aren’t instantly recognizable or the bodies that wouldn’t get a second glance. “Dolemite” is made by those people, for those people, giving they can look up to just like anyone else should be able to when they go to the movies. The inexperience behind the screen gives “Dolemite” an honesty that is both hilarious and oddly likable, like anyone learning a new craft with all of their bold visions of what they’d like to do. This film throws everything that it can at you – kung fu, gang violence, sex, comedy, car chases. It rarely sticks, but more than anything else with this movie, it’s all about the attempt.

Final Grade: C+

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Movie Review - "I Lost My Body" (2019)

"I Lost My Body" relishes in the bizarre, while also finding a strangely charming and unique idea in that same bizarre-ness. The film is about a young French boy, Naoufel, who recently had his hand severed in an accident. But rather than tell the story from Naoufel’s perspective, the film is told from his hand’s perspective, as it comes to life and desperately tries to make it back home to Naoufel without being spotted. The hand sometimes walks around like a flesh crab, while other times it looks like a little person, giving it a rather curious but hopeful personality that makes it rather lovable. Its journey is interspersed with flashbacks of Naoufel’s tragic life, but also how he always picks himself back up, making him just as likable as his hand, especially since both of them are so optimistic despite everything that’s happened to them.

But what makes "I Lost My Body" even more bizarre are the feelings that it evokes. Most films tend to focus on one of two senses, sight or sound. But "I Lost My Body" is the first film I’ve ever seen that plays on our sense of touch, evoking memories of how it feels to have sand running through your fingers, or holding your hand out of a car window and feeling the wind blowing through it, or even the sensation of trying to catch a fly. There are times where so many of these sensations start to feel tangible, like we’re right there with Naoufel. This is something no other film has tried to do and a point of view that is just as unique as it is charming, and it certainly makes "I Lost My Body" worth a watch.

Final Grade: A-