As Willing moves the movie along its well-worn, Ruth Rendellish path, it accrues a certain fusty British charm, along with the requisite (and, for this reviewer, most satisfying) amounts of satanic symbolism, creepy mute children and abandoned gothic churches.
If Johnny Depp’s mesmerizing performance — a bracing return to form for the star after a series of critical and commercial misfires — is the chief selling point of Black Mass, there is much else to recommend this sober, sprawling, deeply engrossing evocation of Bulger’s South Boston fiefdom and his complex relationship with the FBI agent John Connolly, played with equally impressive skill by Joel Edgerton.
Key to the success of the Vacation movies was their underlying sweetness — the sense that, for all their foibles, the Griswolds were a surprisingly functional lot. Families looked up at the screen and saw a version of themselves reflected back. Look at the new Vacation and all that stares back is a great comic void.
Even the resourceful, likable Reynolds is at a loss to elevate this rather dreary piece of would-be escapism, which calls out for the wry, pulpy touch of a John Carpenter (or his acolyte David Twohy) and instead gets the strained self-seriousness of director Tarsem Singh.
Both “Ted” movies are, ultimately, one-joke affairs rooted in the idea of taking some emblem of childhood innocence and vulgarizing it.... That joke, though, turns out to be a resilient one, and the chemistry between Wahlberg and MacFarlane is infectiously puerile.
If you haven’t come to see lots (and lots) of dance, you’ve come to the wrong place; and even if nothing in the second half of ABCD 2 quite reaches “Happy Hour” levels, D’Souza shoots and edits dance with a lot more savoir faire than most contemporary musical directors, mindful to keep the dancers’ entire bodies in frame, and cutting with a strong sense of spatial continuity.
Though likely to be variously praised and pilloried as a pro-choice film, Weitz’s film is really a movie about choice in both the specific and the abstract — about the choices we make, for good and for ill, and how we come to feel about them through the prism of time.
Whereas Wan (who retains a producer credit here, and makes a cameo appearance) is the sort of director who can effortlessly turn a billowing curtain or creaking floorboard into an unbearable portent of dread, Whannell rarely makes the neck hairs quiver, let alone stand at attention.
If “Mountains” feels a touch schematic at times, and awkward in its third-act English-language scenes, the cumulative impact is still enormously touching, highlighted by Jia’s rapturous image-making and a luminous central performance by the director’s regular muse (and wife), Zhao Tao.
The opening of Sicario unfolds at such an anxiety-inducing pitch that it seems impossible for Villeneuve to sustain it, let alone build on it, but somehow he manages to do just that. He’s a master of the kind of creeping tension that coils around the audience like a snake suffocating its prey.