But Haley Lu Richardson’s in it. She’s excellent. In fact, she’s reliably excellent. In “Five Feet Apart” she goes 10 rounds with dreckdom, and wins. Scene after scene the movie becomes a two-hour demonstration in the art, craft and mystery of what a performer can do to make you believe, in spite of the things they actually have to say.
The film’s impressive as far is it goes, and Schoenaerts is a fine actor with considerable emotional resources. But it’s exceedingly tidy in its beat-by-beat developments, and outside Roman and Marcus, the supporting character roster struggles to make an impression.
It’s fun. In various ways, some better than others, you can tell the film was made by people who weren’t mapping out their entire careers to lead to the big moment when they tackle a Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise.
For all these self-effacing but highly valuable reasons, when the triumphs of the human, agricultural and engineering spirits arrive, they work. It’s moving, and it’s earned. Ejiofor is off and running as a director.
The script by Jordan and Ray Wright, from Wright’s story, wastes little time in getting to what “Fatal Attraction” enthusiasts might call the bunny-boiling bits. But the movie frustrates. And it squanders Huppert, which really is a waste.
From the beginning, the animators got something very, very right with Toothless, who works with an artificial tail just as his human friend works with a prosthetic hand. He’s adorable, yes, of course. But he’s not conventionally flawless, and he’s all the better for that.
There’s not much kick to Isn’t It Romantic, even after it goes over the rainbow. It gets by, and commercially it may well be a modest hit — but has more to do with Valentine’s Day timing than the film itself.
The story is a lot harder on its female protagonist than the 2000 film was on its male equivalent. This makes a depressing amount of sense, given what women are up against in most workplaces. Henson’s Ali plays both the dramatic encounters and the slapstick opportunities for higher stakes than Gibson ever did.
Lord and Miller are two of a small handful of Hollywood screenwriters whose style is instantly identifiable. They’re adept at flicking a dozen jokes in different directions in the same minute of screen time. If “Lego Movie 2” tries too much, and gets lost in its own messages about familial cooperation, that’s the price of their brand of invention.
The movie delivers, in its chosen way. But it’s a soulless way. The violence may be for laughs, and many Neeson fans will likely respond to the larky brutality of Cold Pursuit, which is very different from the star’s previous mid-winter vehicles (“The Grey” is my favorite). But I don’t get much psychic recreation from this sort of action movie.
The atmosphere in Serenity, by design, imparts a slightly uneasy and hermetic feeling. In Baker Dill, who sounds like a line of gourmet pickles, Knight has the makings of a compellingly messed-up antihero. That’s a start. If movies were all start, then this one might’ve worked.
What Baldwin does with words, Jenkins does visually. It’s what Blanche DuBois says in “A Streetcar Named Desire”: “I don’t want realism. I want magic!” In “Beale Street” that magic can be crushing, and soul-stirring, sometimes simultaneously. Jenkins’ epilogue, not found in the novel, may go a little far in its embrace of the affirmative. But that’s hardly the worst thing you can say about any film, let alone one as lovely as this one.