No wonder Green Book, which is like an inverted "Driving Miss Daisy" by way of "Rain Man’s" mismatched-buddy road trip, is already earning ovations: Intentionally or not, it flatters the delusion that racism, in its ugliest form, is more of a past-tense problem.
Harry Potter, for all his nice-kid incorruptibility, looks downright four-dimensional compared to Redmayne’s milquetoast Newt—an impossibly twee soul with few discernible flaws or even particularly interesting characteristics.
Pity that Metz exhibits so little interest in delineating the play styles of the players, in capturing what made them the best. Borg Vs. McEnroe all but tells us that we’re seeing the greatest tennis match of all time. But it doesn’t show us.
For as much as Van Groeningen may have pulled from both of his mirrored source materials, for as deep as Chalamet digs into his character’s skirmish with own urges, Beautiful Boy holds us outside of his struggle.
With 22 July, Greengrass pushes up against the boundaries of respectful representation, traipsing queasily close to outright exploitation with his reenactment of the 2011 Norway terrorist attacks, which claimed the lives of 77 people, many of them children.
They run a gamut of conventions, proving just how much landscape—geographic and narrative—the Western really covers. What they all convey, some more comically than others, is how short and pitiless life could be in this heavily mythologized era.
If Widows is pulp, it’s pulp made with intelligence and craft and an urgent social conscience. One might even call it a throwback to a richer era of American studio movies, except that the story also feels attuned to a very contemporary anger, aimed at powerful men and the corrupt systems that sanction their abuses.
I reserve the right—as I do at every festival, where I tend to hedge my bets and temper my praise—to decide that, never mind, everyone’s right, this is a masterpiece. For now, what I see is staggering formal prowess that is maybe just a little at odds with the small, even modest character drama it’s supporting.
Cooper keeps both the camera and his dramatic focus tightly locked on the characters, and on Lady Gaga’s face, expressing the full ecstasy and agony of what this timeless tale throws at her. Like Jackson, he can recognize a natural, brilliant talent when he sees one. And he knows, too, when to get out of the way and cede the spotlight.
What Chazelle has made, in other words, is a nitty-gritty procedural that treats the NASA odyssey as a window into Armstrong’s unknowable mind, an inner space as mysterious as the outer one he blasts himself into.
Halloween isn’t explicitly a horror-comedy, but it does have the destructive habit of undercutting its scares with broad laughs, Green and McBride deflating the tension at every turn with goofball asides.