The final sequence dodges (or elides) many of the movie’s central logistical dilemmas, but the song (“Glasgow,” written by Mary Steenburgen, Caitlyn Smith, and Kate York) and the performance are so rousing it almost doesn’t matter. Like the best country music, the movie finds its own kind of truth.
It’s so aggressively puerile and phallocentric (big swinging dicks, big guns) it could be taken as a parody of a puerile, phallocentric action comedy — a hotfoot to feminists and girly-men. That’s a distinction without a difference, though, since either way it stinks to heaven.
It’s painful to report that Jarmusch’s deadpan is in the rigor mortis stage in The Dead Don’t Die. His own creative ferment isn’t happening this time — the acid cynicism has killed the yeast — and the actors seem unsure whether to commit to the material when their director plainly hasn’t.
Like most good superhero movies, Dark Phoenix operates on two levels, comic-book fantastical and psychological. Like most not-so-good ones, it doesn’t do justice to either aspect. The results here are middling, but the director, Simon Kinberg, throws a lot of ideas at you. It’s not boring.
This Aladdin’s sole innovation is a feminist Jasmine who refuses to be controlled, but the song is so saccharine and the vistas are so synthetic that it doesn’t feel as if she’s being liberated. It feels as if yet another man is trying to engineer her responses. Aladdin might as well have put a VR headset on her.
At her best — which is more often than you can imagine — Hogg convinces you that incoherence is the only honest way to tell a story with any emotional complexity. She spoils you for the overshapers, the spoon-feeders.
A social worker’s take on a lost soul can be valuable, but in a drama it’s too orienting. You want to see how a person could surrender herself — her self — to something so diabolical, which demands a higher level of insanity than the filmmakers can muster.
JT LeRoy isn’t a bad movie, and with these actresses it’s certainly worth seeing. It’s a passion project for Knoop, who co-wrote the script (songs by her brother, long divorced from Albert, all over the soundtrack) and has been promoting the film.
Even at three-plus hours, the gargantuan Avengers: Endgame is light on its feet and more freely inventive than it needed to be. Given the year-long wait, its audience — Pavlovian dogs, myself (woof!) included — would have salivated over less. It’s better than Avengers: Infinity War, which was better than Avengers: Age of Ultron; and it is, for a change, conclusive.
So Shazam! feels blessedly old-fashioned, which isn’t to say it’s perfect — or even very good. It’s certainly fun when the juvenile actors are front and center, before the CGI moves in for the last half-hour and change.
I can’t tell if Korine is a true dramatist or a simpleminded provocateur who lives to mess with our heads. Both, probably. To him, the joke is that it’s all movie fodder. Moondog is an existential hero for a weightless universe.
The opening of Diane is simple but packed, like the movie: The more mundane the details, the more redolent it is of time going by too fast. Someone I know called it the most depressing film she’d ever seen. I found it one of the most exhilarating, but I admit that the exhilaration is hard-won and slightly perverse.
I’ll see anything Zahler does because I was weaned on the same junk he was and find his mix of amateurism and genre smarts appealing. That’s not a sign of my integrity — a man’s gotta watch what a man’s gotta watch — but of my fundamental laziness and corruption. I hate that I can settle for Dragged Across Concrete.
The Mustang brought the sensation back of having to slow down and breathe with a horse and in the process leave yourself behind. Any movie that makes leaving oneself behind so tactile and enticing is a horse of a different color.
Some of the supporting actors register, especially Michael Mando as the unpretentious but quick-witted chief engineer. But the only surprise is Skarsgård. He has played wife-beaters, vampires, rapists, and mute would-be detectives, but who’d have thought he’d make a credible nerd?