Despite small but powerful gestures in the finale, it leaves the audience feeling just as immobilized and powerless as its characters. Labaki chose the title Capernaum because the word was often used to mean “chaos” in French literature. That’s precisely what she presents to us, with precious little relief in sight.
For Kidman, Destroyer is simply the latest in a long career of fascinating, often nervily risk-taking career choices, in which she submerges her lithe grace and porcelain beauty to inhabit the toughest characters and stories.
Deliberately paced, unapologetically mannered and contemplatively attuned, If Beale Street Could Talk invites audiences to venture beyond the screen in front of them to connect with the characters and their world on a deeper, more mystical plane.
With its air of intimacy and fractious affections, Shoplifters feels like “The Borrowers” by way of Yasujiro Ozu, a discreetly observed drama about resourcefulness, loyalty and resilience in an era of obscene income inequality and a fatally frayed civic safety net.
It proves how smarts and style can elevate even the pulpiest material into something shrewd, socially attuned and bracingly observant. Rarely has a movie been so illuminated by a single character simply breaking into a smile, and rarely has a smile been so unequivocally earned.
Most confoundingly, it sheds no light on Hart himself: a man who steadfastly insisted on maintaining his privacy, whose impressive intellect was couched within an aloof, withholding persona, remains a cipher, the missing core of a movie that’s nominally about him, but can’t seem to get a bead on its own protagonist.
Most winningly, Green Book puts two of the finest screen actors working today in a sexy turquoise Cadillac, letting them loose on a funny, swiftly-moving chamber piece bursting with heart, art and soul.
In this immersive, often deliciously sensuous documentary portrait of the late opera star Maria Callas, viewers are treated to another rise-and-fall story of a great but tortured artist, this one punctuated by the occasional real-life bed of roses and pleasure cruise.
Winds up being giddily entertaining, first as an exercise in so-bad-it’s-funny kitsch, and ultimately as something far more meaningful and thrilling. Every now and then, a film comes along that defies the demands of taste, formal sophistication, even artistic honesty to succeed simply on the level of pure, inexplicable pleasure. Bohemian Rhapsody is just that cinematic unicorn: the bad movie that works, even when it shouldn’t.
Mid90s” is often painful to watch as Stevie puts himself through the punishing rituals of proving his street bona fides. But Hill takes even the most treacherous dangers in stride, suffusing his story with as much tenderness as stark terror.
The result, Bisbee ’17, is a fascinating exercise in nonfiction filmmaking as a performative, interdisciplinary, collective act, as well as a provocative inquiry into how selective memory, ideology, shame and unspeakable trauma shape what we come to accept as official history.
As the chief avatar for parental distress, Carell is sympathetic if not always entirely convincing: The toughest moments of Beautiful Boy simply seem out of his range as an actor, especially when he takes reportorial zeal one step too far by trying hard drugs himself.