The movie rattles through ninety minutes of episodic jolts, the visual style is jumbled. Distinctive only in having a better effects budget than your average demons-in-the-attic quickie. While the super-parody elements offer a few snorts of amusement, the movie avoids taking on more complex ideas about Superman as an American ideal, though the filmmakers are obviously aware of the Bizarro context.
A first-person documentary about a Los Angeles couple’s decision to move to the country and start a farm overcomes its excessively preciously start to become a genuinely insightful meditation on agriculture, nature, and our precarious relationship to the planet that feeds us.
Watching the teen romance The Sun Is Also a Star, starring the splendid-looking young couple Yara Shahidi (Blackish) and Charles Melton (Riverdale’s Reggie)), is something like wading through fields of pink candy floss and suddenly finding a speck of grit.
If you want to dramatize a real-life celebrity fraud tale, you can’t settle for the superficial. Either go for psychological truth or camp it up to the level of the superduperficial. There’s not much of either quality in JT Leroy, a film that offers colourful performances by Laura Dern and Kristen Stewart but fails to find any urgency in retelling the tale of an early 2000s literary fraud.
The Brink, director Alison Klayman’s year-long cinema verité portrait of Steve Bannon, is unlikely to change anyone’s mind about Donald Trump’s political strategist, who helped connect the candidate to white nationalists before falling out of favour.
Apart from a few eye-roll moments, Giant Little Ones is redeemed from coming across like a progressive after-school special by the authenticity of performances, particularly of the young actors and a refreshing open-endedness about the fluidity of sexual behaviour.
The craft of the re-enactment is more impressive than the script, which defaults to hackneyed dramatic moments, reminiscent of a generic disaster film, with its stock upstairs-downstairs tropes, young lovers, the cynic-turned-hero, and the dutiful subalterns showing courage above their pay grade.
What we have is a solidly crafted reworking of some familiar Western tropes by director John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side, Saving Mr. Banks), a Texas native who shows care for the period details, with handsome cinematography on the original Lone Star State locations.
The deliberate pacing, cinematographer Tómas Örn Tómasson's images reminding of the vulnerable human scale against the landscape and the skeletal narrative, bringing a refreshing purity to a classic predicament.