Destroyer may position itself as a kind of redemption tale, but Kusama’s film is decidedly not feel-good. The music by Theodore Shapiro is deliberately set to jangle one’s nerves — it is definitely trying too hard — but like most of the film’s elements, it is just effective enough to create an impression.
Cretton did fictionalize parts of the story, adding dramatic embellishments and narrative tissue. But his greatest feat may have been telling the story in such a way that viewer doesn’t leave the theater going, “Oh, some of these stories are so extreme, they might be slight fictionalization.” They’re too consumed by the ride.
There are a few strong bits in Snatched — the best of them centering around Joan Cusak as a silent ex-special ops agent — and the film is well-paced. But as Hawn’s Linda should have learned, this time around Amy Schumer isn’t worth leaving the house for.
No one — not McMahon (or McChrystal), the military, the State Department, President Obama or the press — comes out looking good. And yet, none of these characters or institutions comes away looking all that bad either.
Jarmusch has a tendency (which is intentional) to turn away from what is obviously beautiful and popular, and to instead beautifully render what is rarely noticed and perhaps slightly ugly. He credits the cinematographer Robby Müller with teaching him, “Don’t look for the obvious, always keep your eyes open, keep thinking on your feet.”
Elle, like all of Verhoeven’s films, refuses easy categorization. It combines elements of a rape revenge thriller, an extremely dark class comedy and Cronenbergian body horror to create something totally unique — a singular experience that transcends genre.
Assaf’s pop-culture transcendence was a coming-of-age moment for Palestinians, a sign that they could triumph in the most delicious, delightful and unlikely of contexts, despite a broken society built on institutional hopelessness. Abu-Assad’s films make the same point, in a darker register.
I would simultaneously argue that Sheil and Greene go off the rails several times during Kate Plays Christine, most notably in their overly artful and self-conscious attempt to re-enact the shooting but also that they get viewers closer to the real Christine Chubbuck than I would have thought possible.
Not only is War Dogs a surprisingly well-told tale in the classic American rags-to-riches-to-rags mode. It’s also a mordant morality fable with a genuine heart of darkness. (Plus, it has one hell of a soundtrack, matching its moods to an array of classic rock and hip-hop tunes in the Martin Scorsese vein.)