Reminiscence, The Voyeurs, and The Card Counter — What You Might Like

Images retrieved from TMDb

I no longer write reviews for movies I don’t like. Lately, I’ve been attempting to express myself artistically in a way I never have before. In doing so, I’ve empathized with filmmakers and creators attempting something artistic, whether or not it’s effective for me or other members of the audience. I don’t review movies to portray an objective experience that everyone will have, so if I don’t like something, that doesn’t mean that someone else won’t. I love movies that others dislike and I dislike movies that others love. It’s really what I like so much about the art of film — the idea that a movie could hit one particular person in a unique way and give them an important experience that no one else will have. 

I look at my role on this blog to be one of recommending movies I enjoyed so that others might get the chance to enjoy them as well. There are plenty of more experienced and knowledgeable critics who can review everything they see, good and bad, and give you their value judgement. But from here on out, apart from when I see something I personally feel should be talked about, I’ll only be writing full reviews for movies that had a positive impact on me. For movies that weren’t for me, I write shorter blurbs like the three below just to get out some overarching thoughts out there, but I won’t do a full-blown takedown. Because that’s how we’re gonna win — not by ranting against what we hate. But by praising what we love. 

Reminiscence

Reminiscence didn’t really do anything for me, but I don’t think it was a total waste of time, either. If you’re a Hugh Jackman fan, this movie will definitely be up your alley. It comes from the “It’s like Inception!” vein along with Tenet, Arrival, or the lesser entries like Transcendence or In Time. It’s a world where you can go into a contraption and view memories, so it checks its high concept box. And with Jackman and Rebecca Ferguson leading the cast, you can’t go too wrong. Add in a love story, a mystery, and some intrigue, and you should be in for a solid ride if this seems like your thing. 

The Voyeurs

The Voyeurs is definitely the wildest movie I’ve seen yet this year. After The Woman in the Window, it’s the second not-very-good variation on Rear Window I’ve seen this year — it’s just that this one features just a fraction of the star power. But even with its lack of star power, The Voyeurs does create an interesting setup in which a couple moves in to a new apartment where they see another couple in the building across the street who never closes their blinds. There are about five different twists along the way with increasing frequency once the first one hits about 45 minutes in. It’s not terrible by any means — it just had the chance to say a couple different things that were thematically coherent before getting too twist happy. But it is the perfect movie to keep you mildly interested in something that doesn’t demand 100% of your attention if you start it at 1:30 a.m. like I did. 

The Card Counter

Between Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and The Last Temptation of Christ, Paul Schrader wrote some of the best screenplays of the ‘70s and ‘80s, and with First Reformed, he wrote and directed a lot of people’s favorite movie of the last five years. Well, with The Card Counter, he’s back at it with another dark, lonely, and mysterious middle-aged man; this time it’s ex-con Oscar Isaac. This effort unfortunately didn’t grab me like the previous four movies I mentioned, but a lot of that might have just been because I didn’t quite get it. I’m not a poker player by any stretch of the imagination, so I had a hard time keeping track on that front. Plus, Schrader’s signature dry, objective style didn’t do me any favors in that regard. But it is an unequivocally “Schrader” movie, and I know many people will love it for that. It just wasn’t my thing this time around. 

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