Clumsily told yet intriguing because of its singular subject, Halston — director Frédéric Tcheng’s knock-kneed documentary on the pioneering American fashion designer ubiquitous in the 1970s, who made haute couture both aspirational and accessible — offers a trove of pop culture trivia.
The high school rite-of-passage film canon may have been raided here but its thieves — screenwriters Susanna Fogel, Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins, and Katie Silberman, doubtless abetted by producers Will Ferrell and Adam McKay — have wrung every drop of weird, contradictory, and squeamish fun out of the teenage experience.
A dynamite ensemble cast and a truckload of heart keep the sentimental new comedy POMS from crumbling beneath multiple well-thumbed clichés including (but not limited to) plucky underdogs can triumph, friends are really important and life is short so live it fully.
For all its cinematic bell and whistles, something about Dumbo feels hollow (I wrote that word three times in my notebook during the screening) as if it’s mouthing the proverbial words phonetically without knowing their meaning. Perhaps I walked into the theatre with too-high expectations. I slinked out with shoulders bowed.
For a film where relatively little happens plot-wise, Gloria Bell is oddly beguiling thanks to its leads: Moore (reliably great) embracing every square-peg aspect of her character and Turturro, whose resting look — itchy, perplexed, possibly lost — is deployed with precision in a character meant to be wildly uncomfortable in his own skin.
The film’s final act stretches credulity and hangs its hat on an impossibly (albeit suitably Harlequin-esque and dreamy) farewell sequence. Still, it’s all but certain the intended audience will find in Five Feet Apart a cogent and watchable weepie worthy of marquee status at sleepovers.
There are white-knuckle moments, notably Gloria’s crossing of the border with a heap of stuff that would raise troubling questions were she stopped and searched. Rodriguez puts us right there in the car beside her and it’s thrilling. But the outcome arrives a bit too pat, our heroine conveniently switching from cowed hostage to arms-wielding ass-kicker with dubious ease.
Conceptually ambitious and sporadically entertaining but more often confusing and ultimately kind of dumb, Serenity must have seemed appealingly high-minded on the page. But the zigzagging new thriller lands with a thud despite a skilled cast and writer/director Steven Knight’s commendable desire to scribble outside the lines of conventional narrative.
Destroyer is all about Kidman as tortured, haggard detective Erin Bell. A single look into those bleary, bloodshot eyes alerts us to the fact that this character has been through the wringer. Destroyer is a forensic study of how Bell got this way. The trick, I suppose, is making us care.
While entertaining, The Upside lacks the original film’s fizzy spark, the prickly charisma of its co-stars, and the tantalizingly sense that this incredible story — which is actually true — happened on a planet we would recognize as our own.
Let’s just say the film — scripted by Bader’s nephew Daniel Stiepelman with the Justice’s blessing — successfully splits the difference between capturing Ginsburg as a contemporary folk hero and as a fiercely ambitious intellectual competing for footing in an era when mixing a killer martini was the very height of wifely prestige. No one will mistake it for a documentary.