Thanksgiving watchlist: Parasite, Charlie’s Angels, more

By Kyler Guebert, Staff Writer

This last stretch of the year seems to be the time where I watch a lot of films, probably too many to be honest. 

With awards season kicking off and lots of high profile releases coming out, it would be far too exhausting and, frankly, far too unnecessary to write large-scale reviews for all of the content. 

Here are some quick reviews for some of the many films that have been released recently with an accompanying grade for each.

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Parasite (in theaters)

South Korean director Bong Joon-Ho’s latest film, “Parasite,” follows a lower-class family who slowly infiltrates an upper-class family’s home and lives. However, there is so much more present in the film than this simple premise seems to offer. 

The screenplay is like a Polaroid, slowly exposing more and more to the audience until the complete picture is revealed. 

The performances are all incredibly strong, the cinematography is beautiful and the production design and imagery only help to drive home the narrative of the wealth gap and the effects it has on the lives of those it benefits and disadvantages. 

It’s a beautiful and harrowing experience that will be a looming threat throughout this award’s season and a high-ranking candidate in the conversations about the best films of the decade.

Grade: A+

Noelle (Disney+)

Originally planned as a theatrical release, “Noelle” feels much more at home on Disney’s streaming service. 

The film follows Anna Kendrick as Santa’s daughter, who must find a way to save Christmas when her brother the newly appointed Santa, played by Bill Hader, disappears after some misinterpreted advice. 

Kendrick does some great work as the center of the film, and the supporting cast including Hader, Shirley MacClaine, Kingsley Ben-Adir and Billy Eichner are all very funny and help to bring the charm to this Christmas film. 

It’s fairly formulaic and predictable, and the visual effects are mediocre at times, but, for a Christmas film full of heart and holiday spirit, it’s still fun, heartwarming and great for the whole family.

Grade: B

Charlie’s Angels (in theaters)

This may come as a surprise to some, but I’m actually a big fan of the McG “Charlie’s Angels” films from the early 2000’s. They’re a lot of fun, and they always put me in a good mood. 

Now, Elizabeth Banks has rebooted the franchise, with Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott and Ella Balinska putting on the wings. 

Banks directed and wrote the film, in which she also stars as one of the Bosleys who work for Charlie. 

One of the things that works really well in this film is the chemistry with the new angels, specifically with Stewart and Balinska. Both are game for the action in the film, and both have really great comedic timing. 

The film does feel a bit heavy handed at times with its social commentary, and the pacing of the drags at times. Some of the action sequences are a bit slow-paced. 

The editing also cuts throughout the action scenes, and we never get a good view of everything that’s going on. It’s a fun film with some funny moments and some cool scenes, but it definitely doesn’t live up to the McG originals.

Grade: C

Let It Snow (Netflix)

Based on the YA novel of the same name, “Let It Snow” follows multiple teens dealing with a snowstorm in a small town. The film, at its heart, is a love story, and it both captures the spirit of love and the spirit of the holidays that exist throughout the story. 

The teen stars are all very good, pulling humor and heart when they need to. Liv Hewson, Joan Cusack and Jacob Batalon, specifically, are standouts among the cast. 

It’s nothing new or special, but it’s a fun holiday treat for teens and young adults that has just enough for older viewers to enjoy as well.

Grade: B

Jojo Rabbit (in theaters)

Taika Waititi’s follow-up to “Thor: Ragnarok,” “Jojo Rabbit” follows a young boy in Nazi Germany and his imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler, played by Waititi, as he discovers his mother is hiding a young Jewish woman in their house. 

The first thing to note is that the film is a satirical black comedy, and there are plenty of jokes throughout. Some don’t land, but the ones that do hit hard. There’s one scene in particular halfway through the film that is both incredibly hilarious and tense. 

The performances are all stellar, especially newcomer Roman Griffin Davis and Thomasin McKenzie. The rest of the supporting cast provide a lot of comedy as well, but the film isn’t afraid to have a more serious tone at times. 

The film never once glorifies or humanizes the Nazis it portrays throughout, although the pacing does feel a bit slow at times. The message about compassion never once falters, and has a lot of great commentary about mob mentality and loyalty. 

I don’t know how big of a threat “Jojo Rabbit” will be when it comes to awards season, but it’s definitely going to be a contender, as it should be.

Grade: A-

Staff Writer Kyler Guebert can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @kguebert88.

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