There’s not even a useful exploration about the gap between ideologues’ shoddy personal ethics and big picture rationalizations. What’s left is pantomime, a Halloween costume movie about characters who are far too simple-minded to explain the Bakker’s extraordinary, dubious success.
The praise for the film — a one-man show by a Korean-American filmmaker at a time of heightened anti-Asian racism and a focus on unjust immigration policies — is understandable. But the film itself is a disappointment, a message film that relies far too much on artless, melodramatic contrivances for its emotional impact.
What makes Cry Macho fascinating to watch, even in an uncomfortable high-wire act way, is Eastwood — stoop-shouldered, sometimes pausing in his dialogue, but determinedly taking on a character he probably should have taken on back in 1988 when he was first approached about doing the part.
Anyone considering a movie called American Sausage Standoff (a.k.a. Gutterbee) should expect an odd comedy, though they might not expect one quite as eccentric as this Western by Danish actor-turned-director Ulrich Thomsen.
Animation director Jane Samborski’s richly eclectic miscellany of visual styles depict a bestiary of mythic creatures and outré scenes of sex and violence that are matched to director/writer Dash Shaw’s allegorical narrative.
Intermittently witty, technically impressive, Free Guy sheds points in its second half, with pandering (Star Wars and Captain American references) and a series of numbing narrative loops, celebrating originality while practicing the opposite. And all of this with the usual alibi that none of this is meant to be serious.
Welsh director Euros Lyn’s reality-based steeple-chasing feature Dream Horse never deviates far from the expected course. But its off-kilter humour and an ace cast, led by the ever-credible Toni Collette, brings some fresh colours to this unabashed crowd pleaser.
The trouble is not that the movie is exploitative but that it’s out of its depth. This tone-jumping jigsaw of a narrative (written by McCarthy and Marchus Hinchey along French screenwriters Thomas Bidegain and Noé Debré) amounts to several movies in one.
Romanticization and exploitation often converge. Stripped of its warm memories, this could be an MBA study on turning local youth trends into global lifestyle commodities, inevitably leaving casualties along the way.