“Do all lovers,” wonders Héloïse in a passionate moment, “feel as though they’re inventing something?” Portrait of a Lady on Fire, a bittersweet celebration of passion and art, feels like that; you’ve never seen another movie quite like this. In its quiet gaze, love becomes art — and vice versa.
I enjoyed Downhill purely for Louis-Dreyfus’ performance; we don’t get to see the “Veep” star on the big screen very often, so why not revel in her talent when we get the chance? As an exhausted working mom unable to keep from micromanaging the vacation — and a wife suddenly questioning her choices — she’s funny and moving and utterly believable in every moment.
Sometimes too many ideas collide into each other — a zippy back-and-forth structure in the screenplay gets abandoned, and the pacing in the final act feels off — but Birds of Prey is never boring and often great fun.
You watch wondering what good actors like Lively, Law, Jeffrey and Sterling K. Brown (as a former C.I.A. officer) saw in this muddy screenplay, and why Morano, best known for the Hulu series “The Handmaid’s Tale,” couldn’t find a way to make them spark.
While occasionally the film wanders a bit too far into sentimentality (a scene involving a baby feels like it crosses a plausibility line), watching 1917 is an emotional and moving experience. You think of these two young men as one minuscule piece of an enormous tragedy, filled with individual stories.
This Little Women purist was moved to tears by this movie, and didn’t want it to end. Beautifully intimate, gentle and wise, it made me — and all of us — part of the March family. And what better Christmas gift could we wish for than that?
You can imagine how other filmmakers might approach this — it’s a beautifully cinematic story — but no one else would film it quite as Malick has. This quiet, meditative and very deliberate film (nearly three hours long, though not a great deal happens) is at once historical drama, love story and ode to nature.
Johansson and Driver are remarkably, heartbreakingly good in every scene; showing their characters’ journeys to an unflinching camera, letting the gap between them get wider yet unable, for their son’s sake, to completely walk away. It’s a drama playing out on two larger-than-life faces; a family torn apart, and yet enduring.
Not every moment in the film works perfectly — Matsoukas, on occasion, slips the actors’ dialogue into internal monologue voice-over, which mostly just seems confusing — but Queen & Slim has a remarkable power. You watch it recognizing the world you know, and wishing you didn’t.
Ruffalo, as a character more polished and reserved than he usually plays, is compelling as ever; he’s able to convey the sense of time passing, with the case weighing down on him more heavily as years slip by.
In this season of Big, Serious Movies, what a treat to find this wonderfully silly, perfectly paced hall of mirrors hanging out at the multiplexes. It’s as if Agatha Christie came back for a visit, after getting caught up on pop culture in the beyond.