While Dauberman is still figuring out how to effectively build suspense (Daniela’s various forays into the Artifact Room seem to take as long as visits to the DMV), he does a good job of varying the types of scares he uses to shock his audience. He also leavens the tension with just the right amount of humor and does well with his recreation of the ’70s.
Beautifully acted, sensitively written, carefully and economically directed, American Woman is the best film about the gradual but triumphant empowerment of an abused woman I have seen in this age of distaff political enlightenment.
Incurable romantics seeking a fresh look at love contemporary-style could do a lot worse than Plus One. This charming little independent film, by the first-time writing-directing team of Jeff Chan and Andrew Rhymer, also introduces two vibrant new stars in Jack Quaid and Maya Erskine as Ben and Alice.
Which points us to the real issue with this film and so many like it. These super heroic and super histrionic spectacles are multiplying so rapidly that they are recycling their own tropes at such a rate that it is almost impossible to be surprised anymore.
In a violent, stupid and nauseating creature feature called Ma, she (Spencer) plays a cruel, bloodthirsty monster who tortures and kills off half of a suburban town for fun. It’s a horrible disgrace, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.
The new film never lags and some of the sturdiest elements from the original — namely the catchy and descriptive tunes by Alan Menken, Howard Ashman and Tim Rice — remain every bit as strong as they were in 1992.
As a result, The Souvenir, Hogg’s fourth film, is an extraordinary rumination on memory and privilege while also being one of the most incisive movies ever to directly address — in moral, philosophical and personal terms — what it means to be a filmmaker.
Buried beneath its furious, catch-as-catch-can approach to humor (Wine Country never met a joke it didn’t like), the film is a moving and nuanced portrayal of how difficult it is to be open and vulnerable even to those who love us utterly and without apology.