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Archive | October, 2018

Widows Review

29 Oct

It really gives me no joy to say that outside of the performances and directing, this film is a pretty significant letdown. It’s especially a shame considering this was my most anticipated of the year.

I appreciate the film’s intent when it comes to portraying a sprawling community and the racial and class politics that abound, but this is a two hour story and not a David Simon miniseries. McQueen and Flynn struggle to write a compelling story for any character amid the backdrop of their view on the city, and the development of the heist itself is hastily conceived, sidelined, and rushed at various points throughout. This shouldn’t be that big of a problem considering the film doesn’t purport to be a “heist film” in the conventional sense, but the motivations of the characters involved in the heist are very poorly written. Rodriguez doesn’t get much to do, Debicki’s storyline is trite and dull, and though Davis gets the most material to work with, it’s not good or substantial material. It’s just so evident how hard the script is trying to make you invested in her backstory with all its mini flashbacks, and the only reason the emotional climax has any semblance of payoff is because Davis tries her hardest to sell you on it.

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Wildlife Review

28 Oct

Beautifully shot and fairly compelling for a refreshingly simple story, but the entire thing is almost a bit too technical, a bit too controlled. The writing and directing keep you at a distance for far too long, and the entire arc of the story struggles to build emotional resonance. It’s almost as if Dano and Kazan, in the name of being understated, didn’t particularly develop any aspect of the story and instead relied on sad domestic drama bullet points. I’m also just not as impressed with Oxenbould as everyone else seems to be; the performance isn’t interesting enough to have him be the focal point, though I’m a fan of the idea.

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Bad Times at the El Royale Review

21 Oct

This discount Tarantino knockoff is not even half the film The Cabin in the Woodswas. Very few films this year have managed to spin their wheels more than this one does, overstaying its welcome by a good 45 minutes and thus losing any semblance of the necessary propulsive energy. It’s not even really that funny or fun. Goddard tries and fails to spin the complicated narrative together through pointless flashbacks (there’s an especially cringeworthy one late in the film) and emotional character backstory, stripping the entire thing of the charm behind its “strangers in a room” premise. Ultimately, the underwhelming climax hardly justifies the needless narrative complications that get us there. Performances are good, cinematography is great, and the style is slick, but this just spreads the fun out so thin that it all disappears by the end.

GRADE: B-

A Star Is Born Review

6 Oct

This film owes Lady Gaga’s vocal chords a big one.

The scene everyone is talking about—Cooper and Gaga teaming up on stage for a rousing performance of “Sorrow”—is a legitimate knockout. It’s like a short film in and of itself, a kinetic escapade into catharsis. It’s thrilling and emotional, and Gaga murders the mic with all that she’s got.

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