This gratifyingly clever and, at times, powerfully staged thriller is too rooted in our era to be called old-fashioned — its release, in fact, feels almost karmically synched to the week of the Harvey Weinstein verdict. Yet there’s one way that the movie is old-fashioned: It does an admirable job of taking us back to a time when a horror film could actually mean something.
We all know that your average Hollywood comedy tends to include some on-set improvisation, but in this case the contrast between the leaden pseudo-brashness of the rest of the movie and the ping! of Carrey’s dialogue is so marked that it almost feels like he made up his entire character on the spot. (I’m not declaring that he actually did. I’m just sayin’.)
Watching the movie, you know you’re getting a controlled and sanded-off confection of pop-diva image management, one that’s going to leave anything too dark or messy or random on the cutting-room floor. Yet what matters is that the things we do see ring true. In “Miss Americana,” the vision Taylor Swift presents of herself is just chancy and sincere enough to draw us in.
Underwater is a stupefying entertainment in which every claustrophobic space and apocalyptic crash of water registers as a slick visual trigger, yet it’s all built on top of a dramatic void. It’s boredom in Sensurround.
The Rise of Skywalker is, to me, the most elegant, emotionally rounded, and gratifying “Star Wars” adventure since the glory days of “Star Wars” and “The Empire Strikes Back.” (I mean that, but given the last eight films, the bar isn’t that high
Bombshell is a scalding and powerful movie about what selling, in America, has become. The film is about selling sex, selling a candidate, selling yourself, selling the truth. And about how at Fox News all those things came together.
What you see a movie like Noelle, what the experience comes down to is: It’s something you’re not watching in a theater because most of us wouldn’t watch it in a theater. It wouldn’t be worth the effort. Whatever your idea of a sentimental connect-the-dots Christmas comedy is, this is sub that.
What gives Dark Waters its singular texture is that Todd Haynes (“Carol,” “Far From Heaven”), who has never made a drama remotely like this, colors in the scenario with an underlying dimension of personalized obsession.
The movie is relentless, it’s pulpy and exciting, it’s unabashedly derivative, and at an hour and 58 minutes it’s a little too much of a rousingly of-the-moment feministic but still rather standard-issue thing.