The heist movie has a long pedigree, and while Finding Steve McQueen is no "Le Cercle Rouge" or "Rififi" (or even "Reservoir Dogs"), Johnson keeps the tone light, vivacious, almost slapstick at times. This is a smart choice.
In some moments, Gloria Bell is almost an exact recreation of the original, in shot construction and edit choices, even in dialogue (the script was co-written by Alice Johnson Boher and Lelio), but there's enough freshness in the approach that makes "Gloria" a unique experience, funny and a little bit messy. The mess feels real.
Darren Lynn Bousman's St. Agatha goes so full-bore into the scary nun trope it's practically nunsploitation, and the mood he establishes — the look and feel of the claustrophobic "convent in the film — launches St. Agatha into a weirdo plane of phantasmagorical psychological and physical torment.
The script is very sparse. It feels like an outline, a general idea rather than an actual filled-out story. Because of this, there's a slightly belabored quality to the film. We see where it's going. We see how it's going to go.
This is a pretty rote story, and many of the plot points beggar belief, but Kusama's flourishes help somewhat to elevate the material into something more meditative, a character study of a woman in ruins.
Fidell trusts the dynamic between her two main actors, and allows them a lot of leeway. The conversations have a fresh and improvisational quality. Best of all, she leaves space for the unexpected and the random.
Bohemian Rhapsody is bad in the way a lot of biopics are bad: it's superficial, it avoids complexity, and the narrative has a connect-the-dots quality. This kind of badness, while annoying, is relatively benign. However, the attitude towards Mercury's sexual expression is the opposite of benign.
It's an emotionally exhausting film — but a little bit of perspective might have resulted in an even more politically urgent document. As it is, though, The Sentence is the beginning of a conversation that needs to continue.
This is Everett's first film as a director, and there are times when it shows. But what he brings to the table - as a director, writer, and actor - is his intuitive "take" on Oscar Wilde and the performance alone makes this riveting and revelatory viewing.
Nappily Ever After is as much a polemic as it is anything else. In a confrontation with Clint, Violet says she is sick of how much brainspace is taken up with her hair. "It's like having a second full-time job," she exclaims, exhausted.
The frustration with Lizzie is that a lot of it works, but the style - elegant, hushed, and period-appropriate - acts as a damper on all the fraught possibilities. Lizzie is at war with its own impulses. You can sense there's a sexy overheated melodrama in there, yearning to burst free of its corset stays.