As an origin story, Tolkien, has its moments of clarity and emotion. Some of it is oversimplified, even misguided. But the film cares about its subject, and cares about finding ways to portray "things that are good and days that are good to spend."
Refusing to explain Ted Bundy is the strongest possible choice Berlinger could have made because it destabilizes reality. The film itself gaslights us, and this is where Berlinger and Zac Efron — an inspired choice—are powerful co-creators.
Threaded through with interesting thoughts about matriarchy, climate change and generational trauma, Fast Color tries to do a little too much, and there are maybe one too many things shoehorned in, but Hart wisely keeps the focus intimate, staying close to the characters.
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.
There are some interesting things going on, and some insight into New York's economic hierarchy, but the film veers off into a hard-to-believe crime heist, and, ultimately, none of it really hangs together.
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.