Perhaps Us stumbles near the end while straining for an operatic, shattering finale that explains everything that preceded it but, after capturing the zeitgeist his first time out, Peele avoids the sophomore slump by methodically laying out his riveting tale.
A smoothly executed but decidedly drab crime drama. Checking all the necessary narrative boxes for its target audience and asking little of stars Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson other than to bring their well-established onscreen personas to the characters, the latest from director John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side, Saving Mr. Banks) dabbles in familiar dramatic ironies and rather obvious observations about violence, celebrity and ageing. The Highwaymen never puts a foot wrong, but it fails to elicit much passion or fascination.
There’s a natural tendency to want to like Greta so that you don’t feel like a killjoy or a snob. But as much as I appreciated Jordan and his actors’ balance of high and low, I rarely treasured its trashiness.
Cutting-edge performance-capture technology gives us a remarkably lifelike Alita, but although Robert Rodriguez clearly loves this pulpy genre material, that affection rarely translates into anything more than an impressive display of technical might.
This earnest tale succeeds thanks to its potent themes — including the tension between old traditions and new ways of thinking — and Ejiofor locates the story’s emotional underpinnings without succumbing to cheap manipulation or mawkishness.
This English-language remake of In Order Of Disappearance by its Norwegian director Hans Petter Moland doesn’t particularly succeed as a thriller, but the film’s gleeful perversity at refusing to satisfying genre conventions gives it a scruffy integrity all the same.
The fun pop-culture riffing remains, but The Second Part lacks the density of ingenuity, humour and whiz-bang action that marked the first film. Rather than bursting with imagination and wit, the sequel feels busy, overstuffed, a little routine.