Both simplistic and overcomplicated, Us”depends on some of horror’s most hackneyed cliches and gaps in logic — by now, shouldn’t all movie characters know never to go back into the house and to always stay together? — as well as a few windy speeches explaining why bizarre things keep happening. The viewer begins to wish that Peele had given his script one more pass, either to pare it down or beef it up.
The comedy is far more subtle and elusive than laugh-out-loud. It’s a reflective, even occasionally tedious slice of daily life that relies on Moore to sell its dullest interludes — sequences that aren’t made any livelier by Lelio’s parched, washed-out visual design.
As shaky and unfocused as Captain Marvel often seems, it manages to reach its destination with confidence. In the end, Larson sticks the landing, albeit with something more muted than absolute triumph. The final takeaway is clear. Mission accomplished: More movies ahead.
Greta might pretend to turn the tables by presenting the sexualized predation of a young woman at the hands of a female malefactor instead of a male one. But the fetishistic leer is just as troubling and offensive. Disturbance eventually gives way to derangement in a story that grows exponentially more irritating the more preposterous it gets. As Morton might say: When it rains, it pours.
As a winsome glance back, and as a piece of artistic preservation, Stan & Ollie would be enjoyable enough. But it becomes truly transcendent in the hands of John C. Reilly and Steve Coogan, who play Ollie and Stan with intelligence and spirit that go beyond their own uncanny physical performances.
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.
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.
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.
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.