It’s a celebratory movie designed to rekindle awe and admiration for the accomplishments of the NASA astronauts and ground scientists, as well as a reminder of the endless realms of possibility that can be achievable when a country and its politicians work in unison toward a shared goal.
Despite the buildup of these horror expectations, there is no predicting how deliciously enjoyable it is to witness the macabre dance performed by Moretz and Huppert, two of the best actresses working in today’s movies. They play their game of cat and mouse with claws out; by the end of the berserko film, their characters are practically swinging from the rafters. Everyone appears to be having a grand time in Greta, and it would be crass for us as viewers to not respond similarly.
The screenplay by Erin Cardillo, Dana Fox, and Katie Silberman nails the mechanics of a rom-com, even if it takes Wilson’s delivery to drive the lessons home. Scenes are succinct and the movie comes in at 88 minutes even with a tacked-on song-and-dance video at the end (as a nod to the film’s wildly successful karaoke-bar sequence earlier in the film).
Nicole Kidman, as good as she is, is given little to do in a one-note role, but fares better than Julianna Margulies who appears merely in a one-scene role. Kevin Hart’s huge number of fans may push this film to early box-office success but eventually they are likely to toss it into the untouchable pile.
The Front Runner spends too much time involved in the glare of the situation rather than examining its intricacies or characters. Like many of Reitman’s films, particularly Men, Women & Children, The Front Runner is interested in the subject of privacy as mitigated by the TMI era. The character of Gary Hart, unfortunately, becomes only a means to this end.
Two terrific performances and the interplay between the two actors – Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen – are the reasons to see Green Book. Their pas de deux is a master class in acting, and the twosome’s give and take provides good company for the road trip that comprises the heart of this narrative.
There are scenes during which Everett’s Wilde commands our wide-eyed attention, still mesmerizing despite his physical and psychological decline. Yet in between those quickened moments, The Happy Prince trudges forward with monotonous uniformity.
Thunder Road has received oodles of festival awards, including the Grand Jury Award at SXSW. The film is a singular work. Even though it doesn’t always live up to the promise of its opening sequence, Thunder Road is an exhilarating ride.
Most of all, this rendition of A Star Is Born oozes with romantic chemistry between Cooper and Gaga, as well as the stunning command of rock & roll visual tropes evidenced by Cooper and his director of photography Matthew Libatique (Black Swan).
While not always dramatically successful, The Song of Sway Lake earns big points for originality. The film has a distinctive tone, look, and setting, which are supported by strong performances (one of them by the greatly missed Elizabeth Peña, who died in 2014, making this her final film appearance – somehow appropriate to this movie about how the past can impinge on the present).
The emotional crux of the movie is the relationship between the inept father and his hapless children. It’s a one-note relationship but the tone it strikes is good, due in large measure to mullet-headed McConaughey’s typical absorption into his role.