This 21st-century installment of the Mary Poppins story depends perhaps a bit too much on our lasting goodwill for the first one. But it also provides enough pleasure on its own to leave us hoping it won’t be 54 years until that familiar prim figure makes her next appearance through an opening in the clouds.
Though I found plenty in this film to admire, most notably a towering lead performance from Olivia Colman as the appetite-driven queen, I also confess to finding The Favourite, which runs only one minute over two hours, something of a long sit.
In its best scenes, this portmanteau of jauntily morbid fireside tales also offers a streak of something else, like the underground vein of gold that Tom Waits’ prospector patiently seeks: the small human moments of surprise, delight, and connection that lie somewhere between the first page of each life’s story and the last.
What was it trying to do? Did it succeed on its own terms? Why did I find myself admiring nearly every external element of the film — performances, lighting, editing, costuming — and yet find Guadagnino’s extremely aesthetically pleasing assemblage of these same elements into a whole somehow drab?
First Man doesn’t display a lot of interest in Neil’s social world. Chazelle, like his hero, sometimes seems to be just biding time until he can get back into one of those claustrophobic space modules and feel gravity slipping away.
You walk out of this uneven but soulful movie with a smile on your face, maybe because that’s the default expression of Forrest Tucker, a man who practices grand theft with the stubborn passion of an aged master painter unwilling to put down his brush.
If her films so far have ranged from very good to great, The Land of Steady Habits exists somewhere at the low end of that continuum. But that still makes it a very good movie, full of sharp dialogue and lacerating insight about the haute-suburban milieu that the script both skewers and struggles to understand.
Ramsay’s fourth feature operates on the viewer in much the same way. With a minimum of resources, she creates a primal atmosphere of dread, then assaults the viewer’s consciousness in a single, sharp blow.
The case could be made that The Disaster Artist is a little too sunny for a movie about a clearly damaged man whose lifelong drive to create something beautiful only led to his becoming a symbol of grand-scale failure. But in addition to making me laugh, hard, at a time when cathartic laughter is all but a medical necessity, this portrait of the artist as a not-so-young weirdo struck me as peculiarly moving.
This is the kind of movie you live in as much as watch. Some of its images—Hammer’s Oliver dancing with unselfconscious abandon, Chalamet’s face in extended close-up in the stunning final shot—stay with you afterward like memories of your own half-remembered romance.
Though Mildred makes many choices that are reprehensible or downright dangerous, McDormand never fails to convince us of the fundamental decency of this woman, a tragic heroine struggling to find even the tiniest scrap of meaning in a comically awful world.