There are several volumes of sophisticated feminist theory at work in the live-action version of MULAN, but, trust me, they are wholly in the service of a first-rate action-adventure film that puts characters ahead of spectacle. Director Niki Caro has created a film that is intense, compelling, and entirely entertaining, while Liu Yifei as the… Read More »
Armando Iannucci, a man possessing a preternatural gift for telling serious stories with a puckish twist, has taken on the classic Dickens tale of David Copperfield, and infused it with sparkling new life while remaining true to the original’s spirit. After all, despite his sometimes cloying sentimentality, Dickens spared his readers nothing when describing the… Read More »
Quiet in tone, and visually arresting, TESLA tells the story of a man whose perspective had only the most tangential relationship to that of the mere mortals who surrounded him. Michael Almereyda film echoes that with a high-minded tone-poem that mixes fact and fiction to achieve an emotional and intellectual, if not factual, truth. The… Read More »
As some of us still ponder the results of the presidential election of 2016, and view the approach of the 2020 election with trepidation, there is no more timely nor illuminating film than Amanda McBaine and Jesse Moss’ cinema verité documentary, BOY’S STATE.
RADIOACTIVE tells a story of scientific curiosity in a world where personality skews the perception of the work itself, and politics are never far from the equation. It lays bare not just the injustice of that, but also its stupidity
Where to begin with BLOODSHOT, a derivative lump of lethargy that taints the thrill of the plot twist, and renders an action sequence in plummeting elevators dully predictable? Right down to the quips. Powered solely by Vin Diesel’s star power, it is overwritten and under cogitated, with special effects that aren’t. Diesel is still a… Read More »
KNIVES OUT takes a brisk pace with its cinematic legerdemain as its cast expertly calibrate their performances so that arch never strays into the certain disaster of becoming artificial. The result is a giddily entertaining, emotionally engaging film that sets a new standard for its genre, and, if there is any justice, will launch the Benoit Blanc franchise.
LAST CHRISTMAS is a lugubrious exercise in muddled storytelling. Billed as a romantic comedy, there is little humor to be found as the romance between a klutz who’s lost her way in life, and the handsome stranger who pops in and out of that life fails to ignite past the infamous friend zone. The klutz… Read More »
THE CURRENT WAR: THE DIRECTOR’S CUT is an elegantly realized intellectual thriller which considers not only the eternal struggle between art and commerce, but also the effect of personalities on inventing the future. In this case, three visionaries, Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse, and Nikola Tesla. Each with a particular kind of genius, each with idiosyncrasies… Read More »
HARRIET achieves the proper, and richly deserved, tone of reverence for its subject, Harriet Tubman. That is, alas, its greatest failing. The astonishing life of one of the most courageous Americans who has ever lived is told in a series of set pieces, vignettes with all drama sapped from them as they take on the… Read More »