Tuesday, July 25, 2017

I am for an art that has explosions, and car chases, and maybe a little skin


A little airless, but not arid, Manifesto is a strange and fascinating curio, centering itself upon a feature-length consideration of art's history of outright comical hubris.

Written and directed by Julian Rosenfeldt
With Cate Blanchett

Spoiler alert: N/A

Sunday, July 23, 2017

And the sixth element, it turns out, is poop


The Death of Story continues, but Valerian offers more than story.  It gives us a heaping helping of gorgeously wonderful (and gloriously stupid) visuals, too.  You can call it good, if you want to; but it's sort of beyond that type of categorization.

Written and directed by Luc Besson
With Dane DeHaan (Valerian), Cara Delevingne (Laureline), Sasha Luss (Princess Liho-Minaa), Rihanna (Bubble), Ethan Hawke (Jolly the Pimp), John Goodman (Igon Siruss), and Clive Owen (Commander Arun Filitt)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The young avenger


A Spider-Man movie, that isn't a Spider-Man movie, but is?  (Review summary best read in the voice of would-be Spider-Man Donald Glover, for whom we shall shed a small tear, and always wish the best.)

Directed by Jon Watts
Written by Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley, Jon Watts, Christopher Ford, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, and Jon Watts
With Tom Holland (Peter Parker), Jacob Batalon (Ned), Jennifer Connelly (Karen), Marisa Tomei (May Parker), Laura Harrier (Liz Allan), Zendaya (Michelle), Tony Revolori (Flash Thompson), Donald Glover (Aaron Davis), Jon Favreau (Happy Hogan), Robert Downey Jr. (Tony Stark), and Michael Keaton (Adrian Toomes)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Alien Week, part VIII: The dark star


About seven weeks too late, we reach the conclusion of our journey—and, in keeping with the anticlimactic nature of our retrospective, we find it lacking not just everything that made Alien great, but even most of the things that made its immediate predecessor Prometheus good, too.

Directed by Ridley Scott
Written by Jack Peglen, Michael Green, John Logan, and Dante Harper
With Michael Fassbender (David and Walter), Katherine Waterston (Daniels), Billy Crudup (Oram), Danny McBride (Tennessee), James Franco (Capt. Branson), and Guy Pearce (Peter Weyland)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Simon and Carfunkel


Edgar Wright returns to do what he does best these days: squander a premise.

Written and directed by Edgar Wright
With Ansel Elgort (Baby), Lily James (Debora), Jon Hamm (Buddy), Eiza Gonzalez (Darling), Jamie Foxx (Bats), and Kevin Spacey (Doc)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Alien Week, part VII: The space odyssey


Fitfully great, and with far more potential than it ever quite pays off upon, Prometheus is ironic in that it's an Alien film that itself suffers from an unwanted xenomorphic impregnation.

Directed by Ridley Scott
Written by Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof
With Michael Fassbender (David), Noomi Rapace (Dr. Elizabeth Shaw), Logan Marshall-Green (Dr. Charlie Holloway), Charlize Theron (Meredith Vickers), Idris Elba (Capt. Janek), and Guy Pearce (Peter Weyland)

Spoiler alert: high

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Tommy the Mummy Slayer


It's mostly a waste of a perfectly good all-powerful resurrected corpse, but it does have a few nice compensations.

Directed by Alex Kurtzman
Written by (deep breath) Jon Spaihts, Jenny Lumet, Dylan Kussman, Christopher McQuarrie, David Koepp, and Alex Kurtzman
With Tom Cruise (Nick Morton), Annabelle Wallis (Jenny Halsey), Jake Johnson (Chris Vail), Russell Crowe (Dr. Henry Jekyll), and Sofia Boutella (Ahmanet)

Spoiler alert: moderate