The Humans is a marvel of slight shifts in tone and rhythm, guided by a uniformly strong cast of actors who deliver naturalistic performances which show the cracks in their characters’ pleasant veneer.
Writer-director Potsy Ponciroli has crafted a taut Western that borrows heavily from familiar themes and storylines, but it has been constructed with such confidence and precision that one can’t help but be seduced by the picture’s stripped-down spell.
Director Stephen Chbosky badly mishandles the material, resulting in an increasingly frustrating experience in which Evan’s inability to come clean leads to a string of emotional manipulations that sometimes border on cruel.
A claustrophobic thriller about a disgraced cop trying to undo his past mistakes over the course of one supremely stressful night, The Guilty boasts a clever close-quarters conceit that ends up feeling more like an actorly exercise than a gripping human drama.
More informational than revealing, John Hoffman and Janet Tobias’ documentary makes the case that in times of great uncertainty concerning mysterious diseases, calm reason and unassailable science are our staunchest allies — two assets the 80-year-old immunologist possesses to ample degree.
When the film thoughtfully dissects the fable’s patriarchal attitude, this Cinderella can be touching and light on its feet. But too often, whether because of the subpar songs or the hit-or-miss comedy, Cannon’s rethink struggles to consistently dazzle — it’s a glass slipper that doesn’t quite fit.
Director Nia DaCosta’s follow-up is both bitingly satiric and elegantly suspenseful, illustrating how race and class still bedevil modern life. Produced and cowritten by Jordan Peele, and featuring an arresting performance from Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Candyman has an unmistakable anger embedded within its scares, persuasively depicting how Black Americans feel traumatised by a country that treats them like monsters.
As the action sequences grow more elaborate, Shang-Chi loses a little of its personality, succumbing to de rigueur effects-driven spectacle. Granted, some of these scenes can be stunning, but the visual pizzazz means less than Liu’s graceful navigation of this tale of a man who long ago fled his father and must finally face him. It’s these intimate character moments that help distinguish Shang-Chi from other MCU pictures.
There’s no question that director Liesl Tommy and star Jennifer Hudson have approached this project with reverence, hoping to highlight the late singer’s importance both as a cultural figure and a symbol of her era. But the cliches that usually attend such biopics — specifically, the need to simplify an individual’s demons and traumas into easily digestible dramatic beats — are especially frustrating here, leaving this overly earnest picture lacking the vibrancy of its dynamic subject.
Ryan Reynolds is endearingly wholesome as this likeable digital nonentity, but once the story’s initial burst of cleverness fades, director Shawn Levy becomes bogged down in convoluted plotting and the overfamiliarity of his seize-the-day message.
This overstuffed adventure-comedy barely takes a breath while bombarding the viewer with spectacle, special effects and one-liners — but what ultimately makes the film so likeable is the flirty rapport between Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt as a mismatched pair in search of a magical tree somewhere deep in the Amazon.
Slavishly obeying the rules of a would-be franchise starter — including crafting an open-ended finale that leaves room for sequels — Snake Eyes features plenty of martial-arts mayhem but very little actual excitement.