Never intending to rationalize away the seedier aspects of Newton's work, the film hopes instead to make us recognize the humor and inventiveness lurking there as well — and to persuade us that an artist's unruly erotic imagination doesn't necessarily tell us much about what he thinks of women.
Quick and pretty constant cutting between different threads of this story keep Most Wanted from feeling as long as it actually is, but it also keeps us from committing fully to any one story, all of which feel slightly underwritten.
The feature writing/directing debut for a man whose history is in art departments, it should be no surprise that the pic looks wonderful, with distinctive design and lush settings; but Rothery also fares well with the human element, helped by a mature lead performance by Theo James, best known for the YA Divergent franchise.
A dispiriting film that has languished on the shelf since 2014, it stars Dakota Fanning but is likely being released now with the hope that small appearances by Evan Rachel Wood and Zoe Kravitz will add commercial appeal. Fans of the latter thesps will likely feel cheated.
The pedestrian script inevitably gets sidetracked into a possible romance between JJ and Kate, keeping the film from building much real chemistry between Bautista and Coleman. (It's easy to imagine replacing this subplot with more scenes of JJ helping put middle-school meanies in their places.) But at least this angle keeps the pic's save-the-world storyline from getting too bloated.
Koepp and his cast successfully convey how afraid the family becomes once it's clear they're being supernaturally prevented from leaving the house. But that's not the most original idea upon which to build a franchise, and it's clear from both third-act exposition and the pic's final scene that the filmmakers want just that.
Though touching on a le Carre-like web of loyalties, ambition and hidden agendas, the film is generally less engrossing than that might suggest, only coming to life in the sweaty hours leading up to that murder.
A solid B movie whose pleasures aren't diminished much by the screenplay's dicey dialogue — plenty of the film has no dialogue at all — it's a welcome vehicle for its star, who has been underused by filmmakers for decades.
This portrait of influential U.N. diplomat Sergio Vieira de Mello benefits immensely from two magnetic leads, Wagner Moura and Ana de Armas, whose onscreen chemistry is undeniable; but its deft sense of structure is of equal importance, making it an engrossing picture even for those who know next to nothing about its subject or settings.
The pic's claims grow wilder by the minute, and its power to persuade is undercut by narration scripted like a YouTube conspiracy film. For this skeptical but totally willing-to-believe viewer, Fifth Kind doesn't move the needle even a smidge.