Having unleashed Phoenix, Phillips doesn’t seem to know how to contain or couch the performance. At some point he seems to have surrendered, and when the movie is over you realize Arthur is its only substantial character.
Your fear that the movie will never end is the most palpable fear offered by Chapter Two, which substitutes spectacle for the creeping, escalating dread the story is meant to have, and that the first movie had in modest amounts.
Linklater is a naturally empathetic filmmaker, and you can feel him trying to find something he can latch onto in the Desperate Housewives cat-fighting that dominates the movie in the early going. He’s helped ultimately by the story, and by the performances of Blanchett and Wiig, who are given room to embellish their characters and relationships.
Stuber and Shaft are the kind of movies Hollywood made every month back in the ’80s and ’90s, until audiences — after a half dozen or so Lethal Weapons — grew tired of them. Stuber serves to remind us of why we liked them, and also that they wore out their welcome.
The script is shrewd about the problems that money can and can’t solve. Wild Rose also threads the needle between the genre expectations and its own brand of realism, grounded in the very palpable heartache Rose feels as she tries to survive in the space between her family obligations and her artistic ambitions.
The movie simply has the best use of music (Talbot is also a musician) that I’ve seen this year, starting with a gorgeous score by Daniel Herskedal , and embellished with the smart, eclectic use of songs that speak to the city’s cultural history.