The movie, which bowed to uniformly rave reviews at Sundance earlier this year, is also — it will probably be noted ad nauseum — the first film collaboration from Barack and Michelle Obama’s new production company Higher Ground. But the heart and soul of American Factory, like all American factories, is never really politics of course; it’s people.
Love, faith, Springsteen; that and a Sony Walkman are all it takes to surrender to the pure, ingenuous joy of Blinded by the Light, a Technicolor ode to the power of music so deeply tender and heartfelt that it disarms even the most misanthropic critic’s instincts.
If the script’s epiphanies don’t feel quite as shocking or profound the second time around, it’s still pleasing to watch these beautiful, troubled people move through their equally beautiful spaces: something borrowed, something blue — and with Freundlich’s careful alterations, something new.
Rain is not a bad movie, really, and it doesn’t sell itself as anything other than earnest, floppy-eared family entertainment. But there’s a gooey out-of-time feeling to the whole thing that a lot of films like these seem to have — a sentimental IV drip that steadily manipulates heartstrings without ever quite touching anything like true life.
At nearly 140 minutes, the narrative takes its time wending toward a final, inevitable confrontation, and the incidents that punctuate it can sometimes feel like singularly ugly stations of the cross to be marked off; a series of random man- and nature-made cruelties meted out without pity.
Director David Leitch (Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2) seems to know how to set up his outrageous set pieces, then get out of the way often enough to let his stars do what they need to do: Joke, chokehold, kiss, and smash until the helicopters come home.
It’s shaggy and self-indulgent and almost scandalously long; and in nearly every moment, pretty glorious. Once also has the good luck of being anchored by what might be two of the last true movie stars: Leonardo DiCaprio as Rick Dalton, a boozy, anxious actor staring down the bell curve of a never-quite-stellar career, and Brad Pitt as Cliff Booth, his taciturn stuntman turned trusty sidekick and consigliere.
In the final third, as the plot accelerates and moves toward more purely outrageous acts, Casey’s awakening should feel like freedom from the stultifying smallness of his old life. Instead, it mostly just feels like another kind of box, and an ugly one, too; less artful, all offense.
The story and the songs, with a few notable if hardly unexpected updates, are fondly faithful to the original; the magic mostly intact. Another reboot was never terribly necessary, maybe — but it’s good, still, to be King.
To be clear, Stuber is a very silly movie: Half the action scenes look like they were shot inside a Cuisinart, the sexual politics are questionable, the violence cartoonishly extreme, and the plot has the general coherence of a wet napkin. But Stuber knows that sense and logic aren’t what its audience came for; we’re here for good dumb fun — and of course, central air.
Wang’s story outline shares the familiar contours of other immigrant tales: the Babel tower of half-spoken languages; the ties that bind across oceans, and the physical and cultural gaps that can still break them. But Farewell also has the freshness of her own distinct voice, a dry humor and low-key melancholy that infuses even the most quotidian scenes.
Director Tom Harper (War & Peace) aptly conveys the single-mindedness that a life of art requires, and the double standard applied to the women who pursue it at the cost of other, seemingly more essential things. But it’s Buckley, wild and free, who makes the movie sing.
As more than a decade passes on screen, the one constant is Miller’s presence in every scene: a messy, chain-smoking sex kitten stumbling from delayed adolescence toward a grown womanhood — painful, honest, and flawed — worth waiting for.