Yes, it’s easy to be impressed by the world that Shyamalan has created and now fleshed out, but it would be nice if we were also moved to feel something too. In the end, Glass is more half empty than half full.
The reason that this old-fashioned movie works as well as it does is the transformative commitment of its two leads. They’re both clowns crying on the inside, who, despite years of resentment, know they’re more than partners; they’re uneasy soul mates stuck in one last “fine mess” together.
For all of its brutal, raw force, Labaki’s excellent film is tough sledding — a sucker punch that lands with the emotional force of Dickens relocated to the slums of the modern-day Middle East. It leaves a bruise.
The Mule fits the 88-year-old Eastwood perfectly. Not just because there probably aren’t many roles for actors of his age out there, but also because its lack of judgment makes sense for a star who’s always been as willing to play anti-heroes as heroes.
Wan, a director who’s proven himself to be a can’t-miss ace regardless of genre (from the horror formulas of The Conjuring and Insidious to the big-budget tentpole mayhem of Furious 7) seems to finally be out of his depth. He’s conjured an intriguing world, but populated that world with dramatic cotton candy and silly characters, including a hero who’s unsure if he wants to make us laugh or feel — and winds up doing neither. Pass the Dramamine.
Despite all of the film’s retro-future eye candy, it never quite sweeps you out of your seat and transports you someplace new. It’s a squeaky salvage job that could have used a fresh dose of oil to make it hum.
Corbet doesn’t seem as interested in the answers to the provocatively glib questions he raises as he is in creating a cynical riddle cloaked in style. No doubt some will find all of this to be a deep meditation on the pop-industrial complex, but from where I was sitting, it just felt like empty camp.
At its heart (and it’s a big corny heart, for sure), the film’s message is one of unconditional love and embracing family wherever you find it. It’s hard to argue with. Especially when it’s served up with such spiky laughter-through-tears sweetness.
The Other Side of the Wind (both the movie and the movie-within-a-movie) is a hypnotic, magical mess of a film. It’s a lot of story and not enough of one. Still, there are shots that are so haunting and beautifully composed that you want to get out of your seat and take up residence in them.
Few filmmakers can turn a mundane town council meeting about a library bench into a meditation on patriotism and civic responsibility the way Wiseman can. Let’s hope his camera continues to roll for years to come.