Good-natured, soft-hearted, a little lazy, and propelledby the relentless charisma of Melissa McCarthy when all else fails, this Netflix production makes for cozy pandemic at-home viewing with scant thrills but a couple of genuinely funny moments.
Director Adam Wingard embraces the towering scale of these showdowns, and a stellar cast that includes Alexander Skarsgard and Rebecca Hall tries to add some gravitas to the proceedings. Unfortunately, the actors fight a losing battle against some impressive special effects to command our attention.
Bringing a children’s favourite to life with vividly realistic visuals and appealing production design simply proves superficial when it lacks the heart and charm that has endeared its source material to readers for more than a century.
Wittrock and Chao have such a spark that it’s disappointing that Long Weekend is ultimately one more picture about how an amazing woman helps a nice but ordinary guy turn his life around. Chao’s lively performance — not to mention the audience — deserves better.
Cherry comes across like a deeply personal passion project for a group of talented filmmakers, and that’s for better and for worse. In its attempts to address Cleveland’s opoid crisis and the devastating trauma of repeated overseas conflicts for young Americans, the Russos’ film can effectively convey the grim desperation of those involved. It is often distracted by its own technique, though. The tone wavers wildly, the attention hovers, and scenes are allowed to ramble on. At times the resulting sense of discomfort can help challenge the viewer, but Cherry isn’t sufficiently fresh to be challenging enough.
Structured to an unusual beat and often stuck in its own feedback loop, The United States…is a flawed film, much like its protagonist, but Day doesn’t set a foot wrong throughout, even as Daniels’ adoring camera traces her every breath in full close-up.
Even when it is more dedicated to brand extension than the art of deduction, Detective Chinatown 3 exudes a heightened zaniness which is most welcome in today’s largely homogenised franchise landscape.
As a brief, brightly-coloured, virtual babysitter – lasting just long enough to keep the children diverted while you check in and out of that last Zoom meeting, and get dinner on the table – it dutifully fulfills its obligations. But anyone looking for much beyond that in this tale of a flying squirrel – well, they’d have to be nuts.
Certainly, The Mauritanian doesn’t lack for sincerity or muted rage. But the earnest, pat execution ultimately does a disservice to Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s arduous odyssey. His is a story that needs to be told, but with a little more urgency and ingenuity than what’s brought to bear here.