If there’s one thing that saves Us, it’s that, even as the movie descends into a narrative morass from which it never escapes, there are many individual scenes that, taken in isolation, pack a punch. The problem is that, once assembled into the larger whole, it doesn’t all work.
An unconventional heist film in which a majority of the action occurs after the loot has been liberated, Triple Frontier features impeccable photography, strong acting, and well-staged action scenes that ooze tension.
Captive State is a messy, incomplete affair. Attempts to assemble it into a workable package in the editing room didn’t work, so we’re left with a weird cross between "District 9" and "The Battle of Algiers" that doesn’t do either of those apparent inspirations justice.
Five Feet Apart’s final half-hour is disappointing and frustrating – and it has nothing to do with the eventual fates of the characters or their romance. What’s bothersome is that, after spending nearly 90 minutes of meticulously developing a sensitive, honest relationship between two ships passing in the night, the movie takes a turn into the ridiculous.
Older viewers are more likely to appreciate the film’s intentions than fully embrace the story and its characters. Kids, on the other hand, will probably enjoy the frenetic action sequences; plucky heroine; cute, talking animals; and colorful visual representations.
An intriguing blend of globetrotting neo-noir and road trip plot elements, The Wedding Guest often seems on the cusp of greatness without ever getting there. The film classifies more as a disappointment than a success because, despite its little triumphs, it fritters away too many opportunities and suffers through a turgid middle act.
Captain Marvel, coming only a year after the fantastic "Black Panther," is a disappointment. The acting and special effects are solid but the writing, by co-directors Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck (elevated from the indie productions where they made their mark) with an assist from Geneva Robertson-Dworet, is lazy.
We don’t see many movies like Gloria Bell these days. Simple, adult character studies with major stars have become a rarity in today’s movie climate. Gloria Bell is sedate in its approach – it tells a story but the narrative is devoid of sensationalistic happenings and manipulative melodrama.
For the movie’s first half, director Neil Jordan does a reasonably good job of it. Then, unfortunately, he falls victim to the most dreaded of horror movie clichés: supposedly smart characters doing irredeemably dumb things.
Although the How to Train Your Dragon series hasn’t been reduced to the harebrained level of a big-screen children’s cartoon, the latest chapter is the least sophisticated of the movies, emphasizing slapstick humor, one-dimensional characterization, and obvious messages.
Rodriquez nails the pacing – it’s slow enough to allow for character development (at least where Alita is concerned) but ramps up during the well-choreographed battle and chase sequences. Everything moves along fine…at least until the final few minutes when it becomes apparent that we’re about to be victimized by a story that requires multiple installments to play out.
Cold Pursuit has a strong current of dark humor winding through the proceedings. With a nod or two to Quentin Tarantino, he has fashioned a bizarrely entertaining ode to violence, gangsters, and heavy snowfall in the Rockies.
At least What Women Want could be identified as an enjoyable rom-com with a dose of female empowerment. One would have to be charitable to use “romantic”, “comedy”, or “enjoyable” for this new iteration.
The PG-13 rating is an indication of how much the material has been neutered. And, although the lead character’s arc remains troubled and conflicted, the ending makes her seem more like a superhero than the material warrants.
The story is pure exploitation but the style bespeaks a more artistic bent. The film can be enjoyed (to the degree it can be enjoyed) for its excesses, perverse humor, and excursions into blood, barbarism, and violence, but the narrative doesn’t make a lot of sense.