The racial politics feel almost willfully retro, but the actors’ charisma cuts through: Forced to work strictly from the neck up, Cranston is just the right amount of gruff; Hart, aside from a deeply unnecessary catheter scene, gives a gratifyingly prickly and vulnerable performance. Somewhere beneath this passable-enough Upside, there’s a better, sharper movie for them both.
What’s fun is just watching Lopez and her supporting cast — including her real-life best friend Remini, Tony winner Annaleigh Ashford as her tightly wound coworker, and a loopy Charlyne Yi as her phobic new assistant — move through the scenes so easily.
The shrewd, relentless winkiness of McKay’s filmmaking style may have worked better, though, for breaking down subprime mortgages in The Big Short than it does chronicling a deadly misbegotten war. What remains then is the cipher at the center of Vice: the Man Who Wasn’t There, and probably never will be.
John Cena is top billed, and though his brick-jawed military man doesn’t actually get many scenes, he does get a disproportionate share of the script’s best lines. He gives good muscle, but Bumblebee brings something even more important — and actually transforming — to the series: a sense of humor, and a heart.
What keeps the film from feeling like period-piece amber, all whispered alliances and wiggery, is the keenly feminist sensibility of first-time director Josie Rourke (her background is largely in theater) and the fierce charisma and complicated humanity of its two leads, sovereigns till the end.
Kids could still watch the peerless 1966 original, though their blooming little cortexes will probably respond to the shiny-bright novelty here — and be newly spellbound by a tale almost as old as color television, but still evergreen.
It’s entertaining enough for popcorn — and gratifying, too, to watch these smart, strong women step into roles they’re so often left to support from the sidelines, while men have all the contraband fun. If only the execution of it didn’t feel like such a crazy-quilt patchwork of other, better films, and so jaggedly stitched together.
If Eternity is hardly a completist portrait — or even a narratively satisfying one, really — it’s still gratifying to watch in other ways. Not just for the pureness of Dafoe’s performance but for the way it lets art be both celebrated and unexplained, still as much a mystery as the man who made it.
Kore-eda is working up to something else, steering the story he’s built so carefully toward an utterly unexpected detour. As much of what we think we know unravels, the film becomes not just an enjoyable, intermittently poignant portrait of imperfect people but a profound meditation on the meaning of family.
Maybe unavoidably, the movie that’s emerged from all that has the distinct whiff of compromise and art by committee — the opposite, in other words, of nearly everything Queen’s flamboyant, defiant frontman stood for.
By the time the narrative comes to Colvin’s greatest get — she was essentially the first Western journalist to get inside Homs and refute Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s bold-faced lie that he wasn’t bombing his own people into oblivion — the price of that sacrifice, and the power of her story, feels finally, fully real. Whatever her private battles, War works hard to be the public reckoning her work deserves.
It’s British stage actress Erivo who feels like the real star. Her steely charisma and gorgeous powerhouse of a voice (Goddard takes every plausible opportunity to let her loose on a classic 1960s songbook; can you blame him?) is what gives the movie not just a different kind of heroine, but a heart.
Gyllenhaal, bright-eyed and brittle, brings her signature intensity to the role, though Lisa’s true inner world remains murky; it’s never quite clear if she’s just deeply unhappy or certifiably ill. Instead, the movie remains an intriguing but ambiguous portrait of a flawed, fascinating woman who knows herself either too well or not at all