Five Feet Apart, with its phoney emotions and baloney contrivances — these love-struck kids can’t even hold hands let alone get to first base because two people with cystic fibrosis aren’t allowed to touch — just didn’t do the job for me.
Still, you can’t help but be swept up by the sincerity here — that and the sight of a hard man softening to a sympathetic nuzzle. (This is some excellent equine acting.) The Mustang is leagues beneath the recent "The Rider" or "Lean on Pete," both superior in terms of articulating silent human-animal relationships that fulfill larger psychological needs.
Us is too confidently made, too expert in its scene-to-scene command, to call it an example of sophomore slump. Still, after the film reveals itself to be the home-invasion thriller it is (and then the lesser Invasion of the Body Snatchers it becomes), you feel a slight letdown.
Subtly, the film draws you into the science. You’ll be nervously eyeballing ticking velocity numbers in the corner of the screen. But always, Apollo 11 is about people working together in a single-minded spirit of peaceful ambition.
Merchant never loses our interest: He’s made a sparkly, strutting film that doesn’t apologize for or look down upon its heroes. A “soap opera in spandex” is what Hutch calls pro wrestling to his trainees, and the movie follows suit. Who doesn’t love a melodrama in tights once in a while?
Delightfully embracing the specificity of Eastern culture, The Farewell reflects on collective considerations versus individualism, not unlike Crazy Rich Asians. It unearths the universality of complex familial love that defies borders and language barriers.
The most radical observation Late Night makes concerns the extreme maleness of showbiz that turns women into rivals. But the film brushes over this insight and ultimately falls short of even its more modest intentions.
There’s a way to make this kind of trashy noir work beautifully—was Wild Things director John McNaughton somehow not available?—but Serenity is too blandly generic to stick its snout in the muck and luxuriate, barring the occasional jail-baity line of dialogue from Hathaway (“You said I was finally old enough,” Karen whispers, reminiscing).