View profile

🎬 Attack of the Clones, Toy Story 4, and the Grand Budapest Hotel

🌲 Evergreen reminders: Reply to this email with your reactions and recommendations for what I should
🎬 Attack of the Clones, Toy Story 4, and the Grand Budapest Hotel
By Eric Johnson • Issue #44 • View online
🌲 Evergreen reminders:
  • Reply to this email with your reactions and recommendations for what I should watch in the future
  • Follow me on Twitter and Letterboxd
  • Subscribe to my ListenNotes RSS feed for podcast recommendations
This week I watched an exciting Star Wars adventure with strong characters, great special effects, and clever writing. But enough about The Mandalorian, let’s talk about Star Wars: Attack of the Clones…
heyoooo

🤺 Attack of the Clones
Pictured: If you look closely at the hilt of Mace Windu's lightsaber, you'll find the words "Bad Mother Fucker."
Pictured: If you look closely at the hilt of Mace Windu's lightsaber, you'll find the words "Bad Mother Fucker."
ATTACK OF THE CLONES is, like the Phantom Menace, a study in contradictions: It’s a visual spectacle, but some of the CGI is distractingly cheesy; it’s partly a detective story in Star Wars (cool!), but the plot is bogged down by character histories that make no sense; and it’s also a love story, propelled by one of John Williams’ best scores, but (sigh) the romantic dialogue literally includes lines like “I don’t like sand.” So much of what should be subtext in this movie is text, and the subtextual elements that I really like — such as the fact that the Jedi have lost their way and become blind to danger at the worst possible time — are buried under layers of nonsense. I’m glad that I’ve been revisiting the prequels because I’m reminding myself of the things I like about them, but it’s also a frustrating experience because there is so much potential for this story to be great. I hope Disney remakes the prequel trilogy some day with a keener focus on the stuff that really works.
🏨 The Grand Budapest Hotel
Pictured: Don't you just hate it when you get into an elevator and there's no seats left?
Pictured: Don't you just hate it when you get into an elevator and there's no seats left?
THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL is maybe Wes Anderson’s most beautiful film, and one of his most star-studded: Seemingly every role, even the little ones, is filled with a charming and usually famous actor. It’s a madcap bit of fun led by an outstanding Ralph Fiennes as M. Gustave, the concierge of the titular hotel in 1932. I could watch Fiennes talk about anything for 99 minutes, but the fact that he spends most of these 99 wrapped up in murders, an art heist, and the beginnings of World War II is just as well. My one complaint is that the character played by Saiorse Ronan (who wasn’t yet famous when she made this movie, but would quickly her stripes like the rest) is underdeveloped and not given much to say, which makes the melancholy talk about her loveliness fall flat.
🧸 Toy Story 4
Pictured: More like Toy Story Forky, amirite? Guys?
Pictured: More like Toy Story Forky, amirite? Guys?
Attentive readers will note that I’ve already reviewed Toy Story 4 in this newsletter, back when it came out, so I’m re-sharing my original review below. But I leapt at a chance to see it again this week because (through my membership in the Writers Guild of America) I was able to attend a free screening at Pixar HQ. Photos from the visit below the review …
TOY STORY 4 was good — not as great as the rest of the series, but a solidly entertaining update with some fun new characters, including some scene-stealing stuffed animals played by Key & Peele. I was disappointed, however, that their addition to the cast came at the expense of many of the toys from the past 3 films; normally, rewatching past films makes me appreciate sequels more, but here I was left wondering when Jessie or Rex or Hamm was going to get something interesting to do.
I’d add that on this viewing, already knowing the plot and where characters would wind up, I was able to focus more on the animation, and — wow. This is such a beautifully made movie. For anyone who’s already seen it and wants to get geeky about how it was made, I’d recommend this video about the “real fake cameras” that Pixar used.
Anyway, here are those photos!
It was a dark and stormy night (literally!)
It was a dark and stormy night (literally!)
Giant Luxo, Jr. lamp outside
Giant Luxo, Jr. lamp outside
Human (me) for scale
Human (me) for scale
The main atrium
The main atrium
The guest stickers are on brand ...
The guest stickers are on brand ...
... and so are the bathrooms!
... and so are the bathrooms!
And this is the inside of the "Steve Jobs Theatre" where we watched the movie.
And this is the inside of the "Steve Jobs Theatre" where we watched the movie.
⚠️ In Case You Missed It ...
Don’t forget to check out my bonus newsletter from Monday, in which I rounded up 30 movies I loved from the 2010s.
🏆 Every New Movie I've Seen in 2019 (So Far), Ranked
(no new additions this week)

  1. Knives Out
  2. Parasite
  3. Booksmart
  4. The Farewell
  5. If Beale Street Could Talk
  6. Us
  7. Free Solo
  8. Ford v Ferrari
  9. Avengers: Endgame
  10. The Favourite
  11. Amazing Grace
  12. Long Shot
  13. The Wife
  14. The Art of Self-Defense
  15. Toy Story 4
  16. Jojo Rabbit
  17. Shoplifters
  18. Hustlers
  19. The Last Black Man In San Francisco
  20. Once Upon a Time … In Hollywood
  21. The Irishman
  22. Harriet
  23. Apollo 11
  24. Zombieland: Double Tap
  25. Spider-Man: Far From Home
  26. Aladdin
  27. The Peanut Butter Falcon
  28. Slut in a Good Way
  29. Green Book
  30. Cold War
  31. Official Secrets
  32. Ready or Not
  33. Always Be My Maybe
  34. Rocketman
  35. The Lighthouse
  36. Roma
  37. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
  38. Ad Astra
  39. The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part
  40. On the Basis of Sex
  41. Shazam!
  42. Frozen II
  43. Isn’t It Romantic?
  44. Judy
  45. The Lion King
  46. Downton Abbey
  47. Fighting With My Family
  48. They Shall Not Grow Old
  49. Yesterday
  50. Mary Poppins Returns
  51. Captain Marvel
  52. Minding the Gap
  53. Motherless Brooklyn
  54. Tolkien
  55. The Biggest Little Farm
  56. Alita: Battle Angel
  57. The Dead Don’t Die
  58. The Great Hack
  59. Stan & Ollie
  60. Vice
  61. Bohemian Rhapsody
  62. Aquaman

Did you enjoy this issue?
Eric Johnson

I'm reviewing every movie I watch, and watching every movie I own. Settle in, this is going to take a while.

If you don't want these updates anymore, please unsubscribe here.
If you were forwarded this newsletter and you like it, you can subscribe here.
Powered by Revue