An amusingly meta B-movie send-up that -- largely thanks to its deadpan sensibilities -- manages to offer an entertaining riff on the zombie comedy, even if it doesn't particularly contribute anything ground-breaking to it.
Yes, it's flashy. But it's not flashy enough. It's got its moments of humor, but it's not funny enough. And it flirts with cleverness, but -- you guessed it -- it's nowhere close to being clever enough.
Spencer makes sure few people will ever forget Ma. She’s the primary reason this genre exercise works to the extent that it does, taking what easily could have been an early-summer eye-roller and turning into a genuinely enjoyable guilty-pleasure thrill ride.
What we end up with is a film that contains many fine moments -- the young Bolden's discovery of rhythm, an imagined discussion on musical improvisation between Bolden and clarinetist George Baquet, a look at racial politics of the day -- but those moments don't quite coalesce into a consistently satisfying whole.
A solidly intense creepout. Granted, it doesn't do anything to rewrite the horror rulebook in any significant way. This won't be remembered as a horror classic by any stretch. "The Exorcist" it is not.
Any character study must also bring us, and its main character, on a journey. And that's where Gloria Bell, for all of its assets -- and for all of the critical acclaim being heaped upon it -- ultimately stumbles.
While director Rupert Wyatt's film has a handful of things going for it -- alien invaders, bursts of action, sociopolitical subtext, a stern-faced John Goodman -- it is missing one key element: a soul.
Director Robert Rodriguez and his crew do a magnificent job of world-creating, thanks to impressive technical wizardry. Actress Rosa Salazar also brings the lead character to life with sweet (though lethal) charm...It struggles under the weight of the rangy, multi-pronged narrative before effectively cheating moviegoers by leaving them with a cliffhanger ending.
Mary Poppins is Mary Poppins; magic is what she does best. And magic is precisely what she delivers in a film that is -- since we're borrowing so much from the 1964 original -- nothing short of supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.
We get what is easily the most personal and intimate film of Cuarón's career to date. His Roma is a movie with a clear and distinct setting but one that boasts universal appeal. It's also built around a relatively small, narrowly focused story -- but one that deserves to be seen on as big a screen as possible.