Movies like Wolves occupy a safe middle ground. They are here to show us a story that has been told before with the hope to entertain us in the moment. It’s modest filmmaking, discarding subversive aspirations and daring ideologies in favor of tried and true formulas.
Whether or not it works depends on your tolerance for such things. Writer/director Bart Freundlich admirably shapes his story based on these principles, and while never impressing the audience, he crafts with a sturdy hand and brings about well-rounded performances.
Is it time for the Oscars again? Apparently so. Here are my predictions for what will win big at the Dolby Theatre on February 26. Because the Academy Awards are based less on who was the best and more on who
On the surface, I Am Not Your Negro is little more than a video essay. Director Raoul Peck has taken the text of an unfinished manuscript by James Baldwin and applied it to both a biography of the man and contemporary social commentary. Yet what keeps it from a fate of mediocrity is the care that Peck takes in bringing Baldwin’s eloquent text to the screen. The film is not just a look at how there are many racial and social problems still remaining in the United States – it fundamentally questions the elements upon which American society is founded.
A song can happen anywhere in La La Land because it exists in a world that we so rarely see these days – that of the old-fashioned movie musical. There isn’t an ounce of self-consciousness or cynicism in writer/director Damien Chazelle’s approach to this format, and he has no problem beginning the film with an elaborate number performed by dozens of folks stuck in a traffic jam.
We are in the twilight days of Barack Obama’s presidency, and it seems safe to assume that there isn’t a single major aspect of his life that hasn’t been extensively researched or, at the very least, repeatedly referenced.
An efficient and direct-to-the-point bit of work, Matthew M. Ross’ Frank & Lola moves throughout its neo-noir aesthetic, punches through its storyline, and then gets out. Its brevity is both a major asset and a moderate liability – using a basic plot structure to avoid overlong diversions at the cost of developing important characters who may not be in every scene.
“You used to have it all,” a character tells Thomas (Michael Paré), early on in John Fallon’s The Shelter. We come to realize quite early on that whatever he had, he certainly doesn’t have it anymore. He’s disheveled and homeless, an alcoholic who mugs passers-by so he can afford more booze. His life has plunged to the deepest depths and he doesn’t see a way up from rock bottom. Sooner or later, Fallon fills in the loose ends and shows us what happened to our protagonist – a number of years ago, his pregnant wife Maryam (Gayle James) committed suicide, and Thomas has felt immensely guilty, believing he was largely responsible for her depression and death. The ghosts of his past have never left him.
The Catcher in the Rye has ascended to the upper echelons of American literature throughout its six decades of existence, yet J. D. Salinger, the book’s author, has been notorious for his reclusivity – he ceased writing for publishers in the 1960s and held steadfastly to his self-imposed retirement.
He would never grant an interview, respond to a query or consider licensing one of his works to be made into a play, a movie or anything else. Salinger never stopped writing altogether, but it seems that not even death itself has allowed his later works to see the light of day.
Here is a movie that feels like it is gasping for breath, telling its story in fits and starts. It runs up behind you and throws in another element, building up the plot at a frustratingly inconsistent speed. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is seemingly rather confused – it actively imagines and explores its canon, but it fails to sufficiently explain and utilize each aspect.
The introverted Billy (Timothée Chalamet) is explaining this peculiar band name to the prim and proper Margot (Lili Reinhart) as the song “Sister Golden Hair” plays on the car radio. They’re both high school students and, along with the flamboyantly gay Sam (Anthony Quintal), are headed to a weekend drama competition. Their school no longer formally funds such pursuits, so it’s been turned into an extracurricular field trip, and the kids are chaperoned and driven both ways by Rachel Stevens (Lily Rabe), a young English teacher.
If you’ve been around long enough, you have inevitably been in a stressful, overwhelming situation. And at some point you realize that your prior belief in regards to such stressful, overwhelming situations – that this kind of scenario, whatever it may be, only happens to “other people” – is undeniably false. Bad things happen to everyone, and you and your loved ones are no exception. It’s a hard truth, but it’s one everybody picks up on sooner or later.
A nonstop flight from New York City to Charlotte, North Carolina, will take about two hours. It’s a very common route, flown multiple times every day by multiple airlines. US Airways Flight 1549 was one of just a number of aircraft to make the voyage on January 15, 2009. Yet it’s a flight that has gained specific notability, of course, because of what happened after only a small fraction of those two hours had elapsed.
In Southside with You, Barack Obama (Parker Sawyers) isn’t the future President of the United States and Michelle Robinson (Tika Sumpter) isn’t the future First Lady. They are simply two people, a lawyer and an associate at the same firm, who spend an afternoon together in Chicago during the summer of 1989.
There are two fairly compelling stories in Mia Madre. The first is of Margherita (Margherita Buy), an Italian film director who is faced with the unenviable task of shooting a movie about a union strike at a factory in an economic environment where the subject matter hits too close to home. On top of that, she also has to deal with the manic personality of Barry Huggins (John Tuturro), an eccentric Hollywood actor who has been brought on to a play a supporting role in the film. He struggles with his Italian and often slides off into melodramatic rants, retelling embellished story after embellished story whilst growing progressively more frustrated and bringing down everyone’s stamina.