Monday, August 14, 2017

Life in space is impossible


LIFE

Pleasantly grim and agreeably boilerplate, the worst thing you can say about Life is that it doesn't live up to its influences, but then, not too much does.

2017
Directed by Daniel Espinosa
Written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick
With Olga Dihovichnaya (Ekaterina Golovkina), Rebecca Ferguson (Dr. Miranda North), Jake Gyllenhaal (Dr. David Jordan), Ariyon Bakare (Dr. Hugh Derry), Hiroyuki Sanada (Sho Murakami), and Ryan Reynolds (Rory Adams)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Sunday, August 6, 2017

The tree of knowledge


A GHOST STORY

At times, I know, it's almost a parody of an art film, but it's hard to name too many movies that earn their asininity the way A Ghost Story earns its.  It gets to where it needs to go, and a high-concept, low-affect meditation upon the awful, beautiful futility of life was, in the end, the most direct way it could have taken.

2017
Written and directed by David Lowery
With David Pink and Casey Affleck (The Ghost), Rooney Mara (The Woman), and Will Oldman (The Prognosticator)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Sunday, July 30, 2017

The neon demon


ATOMIC BLONDE

Flawed but unforgettable, Atomic Blonde is certainly something to see (and, albeit only intermittently, something to hear, too).

2017
Directed by David Leitch
Written by Kurt Johnstad
With Charlize Theron (Lorraine Broughton), James McAvoy (David Percival), Toby Jones (Eric Gray), John Goodman (Emmett Kurzfeld), James Faulker ('C'), Sofia Boutella (Delphine Lasalle), Roland Moller (Aleksander Bremovych), and Johannes Haukur Johanneson (Yuri Bakhtin)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Friday, July 28, 2017

On the beach


DUNKIRK

I waver between "this is a strikingly ambiguous take on the heroism of a nation" and "look at the awesome airplanes!", but, luckily, Dunkirk is a marvel no matter how you slice it.

2017
Written and directed by Christopher Nolan
With Fionne Whitehead, Damien Bonnard, Harry Styles, Kenneth Branagh, Mark Rylance, Tom Glynn-Karney, Barry Keoghan, Cillian Murphy, Jack Lowden, and Tom Hardy

Spoiler alert: mild

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

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


MANIFESTO

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.

2017
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


VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS

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.

2017
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


SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING

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.)

2017
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