Why then does Guava Island feel so small, and Glover’s Coachella appearance feel so huge? One took, presumably, more logistical planning than the other — a feature(ish) film shoot and a musical set are vastly different undertakings.
What makes Booksmart land so delightfully is Wilde’s handle on exactly how seriously to take her neurotic heroines. ... Booksmart manages to be inclusive and progressive, without being precious about anything or sacrificing an ounce of humor. It feels at once like a huge moment for the teen movie genre, and also effortless, effortless enough to make one wonder what took so long.
It’s a messier film than Get Out, in that it never quite gets around to saying the things it’s trying to say. This is not entirely a bad thing; its messiness allows the film to spend more time working up inventive scares than conveying an all-caps complete-sentence message.
Merchant is more brutally honest than most sports movies — or any kind of rising-star movie, for that matter — about failure, and it makes Fighting With My Family better than it needs to be. The entire cast is a pleasure, particularly the dynamo Pugh.
The childlike, free-associative playfulness is now underscored by a palpable hunger to be the cleverest and coolest kids’ movie on the block, a hunger that weighs down Lord and Miller’s plenty-smart silliness.
The only reason any of this works at all is Salazar and, I hate to say it, those goddamned big eyes. They’re the windows to the soul, after all, and this ungainly, lurching cyborg of a would-be blockbuster has more of that than meets the eye.
What makes Late Night — otherwise a largely predictable story in a familiar mold — really pop is Kaling’s script, which is at the blunter and frankly more exciting spectrum of what Kaling has proven herself to be capable of in her writing career thus far.
It’s clear between this and Nightcrawler that Gilroy and Gyllenhaal have some kind of gonzo chemistry. Even if Velvet Buzzsaw starts to sputter slightly after it’s made its point, it’s plenty exciting to witness the incredibly specific madness they whip up together.
The film builds to an anarchic set piece, in which a school full of rambunctious children defend the world from evil while the adults literally disappear off the face of the earth. It’s the closest thing Cornish comes to a real-life prescription for what ails us, and it goes down pretty well.
If only the issue with Polar, Åkerlund’s fifth feature film, was merely shallowness. Polar is an execrable motion picture, a sad, lint-filled key bump scraped together from the bottom of the post-Tarantino ’90s exploitation baggie.
That more or less is The Upside in a nutshell. It’s a film that contains complicated, sad, interesting ideas rarely expressed on screen — even Kidman’s scold character unfolds into a more intriguing person, full of contradictions — but whose package is fundamentally unsuited to showcase those ideas, like a sweater with the holes in all the wrong places.