Despite the heavy dose of action and numerous tense situations, this Netflix offering has trouble staying in high gear once it gets there and the characterizations remain one dimensional — the men all speak exactly the same way.
All the dramatic components have not only been well thought out by Talbot and co-writer Rob Richert, but they’re adorned, for the most part, by a sense of reality that keeps pretentiousness at bay. To be sure, this is a highly calculated and worked-out story, but the humor and lively playing of the entire cast keeps the film aloft across its two hours.
Diverting and for the most part agreeably amusing, Late Night is about as mainstream and conventional a movie as could be made right now about the timely issues of women and minorities finding equal footing in the workplace.
Soderbergh and McCraney have entertainingly stirred the pot and put a perspective on the screen that will stir some reactions in the real world and get the issue of ownership and fairness talked about, at least for a while. It’s a sharp-minded film.
A labor of love, to be sure, but a simple, small-scaled domestic drama with none of the broad appeal of the hugely popular "Shakespeare in Love" of 1998, this thoroughly respectable Sony Classics pickup will command the interest mostly of older-skewing art house habituees.
Less cranky and inciting than Gran Torino but persuasively expressive in conveying an old man's regrets along with his desire to improve himself even in late age, The Mule shows that Eastwood's still got it, both as a director and actor.
One is grateful to have Momoa for company. Unlike some strutters who can't hide how delighted they are to show off their trainer-honed bods, Momoa wears his superb physique casually and his take-it-or-leave-it, devil-may-care attitude makes the narrative's long haul much easier to bear than would otherwise have been the case.
The freshest and most stimulating aspect of the film is the visual style, which unites the expected Marvel mix of “universes” (it used to be assumed there was only one universe in creation) with animation that looks both computer-driven and hand-drawn, boasts futuristic as well as funky urban elements, moves the “camera” a lot and brings together a melting pot of mostly amusing new characters.
Mendelsohn's villain is boringly one-note, Eve Hewson's Marion uses an incongruous Yank accent and always looks as though she's just stepped out of the makeup trailer, F. Murray Abraham swans around in fancy cardinal's vestments looking sinister and Foxx seems pissed off that he's not somewhere, perhaps anywhere, else. As for Egerton, he's a boy doing a man's job.
Slack and unexciting compared to Ryan Coogler's blisteringly good 2015 reconception of a 1970s icon for modern audiences, this follow-up is an undeniable disappointment in nearly every way, from its dreary homefront interludes to a climactic boxing match that feels far-fetched in the extreme.
The dramatic approach here is clear, efficient and entirely on-the-nose, with little time for anything that might distract from the hagiographic effort in play. Its sole purpose is to ennoble and proclaim a hero, which its subject almost certainly is. But it makes for notably simplified drama.