Hamm makes for a compelling guide, Bogart-weary and mind racing, assessing each situation with a readable face for the camera. Beirut won’t make him a bigger movie star, but more interesting actors are tough to find.
Director and co-writer Sebastian Lelio keeps the melodrama muted, allowing Vega’s expressive passivity to move viewers. She’s a tragically striking character, a face of abruptly lost love seldom seen in movies.
Free to create practically any whim, Anderson requires a bit too much narratively of himself and brainstorming buddies Jason Schwartzman and Roman Coppola. Their plot scrambles keeping pace with inspiration, eventually surrendering to commotion and holding on for dear clarity.
Lara’s appealing enough in humor and drive but Vikander brings deeper notes than the script and green screens require, from sorrow and fear to first-kill horror. Tomb Raider isn’t a place to expect good acting even from an Oscar winner, but Vikander persists.
DuVernay finds herself in the unenviable position of being both the right and wrong person for an important job. A Wrinkle in Time is gratifying for what it is, a step forward for creative women of color, and so disappointing for what it turns out to be.
I’m stunned by where this movie dares to go with a star like Lawrence (and female co-stars) at a time like this, nearly as much as I’m impressed by Red Sparrow’s total investment in such trashy, grindhouse affairs while maintaining a veneer of high-toned quality. Blood lust and carnality at its classiest. Guilty pleasures as charged.
Game Night is one of those comedy tweeners in which the jokes that click are milked too long and jokes that don’t will take too long to confirm that. Appropriately for the premise, it’ll likely be more enjoyable at home with friends.
Marvel’s Black Panther is a milestone not only for its casting and director/co-writer Ryan Coogler’s cine-griot myth building but because it’s alive with fresh sights and sounds in a genre easily leaning on sameness.
Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread is passionless window-shop cinema, each static tableau lovingly arranged for display and easy dusting. Its centerpiece is a mannequin, albeit played by Daniel Day-Lewis, whose gift for keeping anything interesting is seldom so necessary.