A victim of chronic back pain tries to connect with the widower of a… MoreA victim of chronic back pain tries to connect with the widower of a suicide.
All the lauds about Jennifer Aniston's performance are well-deserved. She plays both the condition - her character's chronic pain - and the objective of the scene with almost expert technique. She's constantly in character, though the character mutes Aniston's personal comic charm.
The film, however, is a slogging monotony, a structureless, flimsy, rough-shod thing with characters suddenly popping with no narrative motivation and a story that sags and lags like an atrophied nursing home resident.
Overall, I could only wish that the Aniston's talents had been put to better use.
A cop saves the life of a suicidal rising star, and they begin a… MoreA cop saves the life of a suicidal rising star, and they begin a frowned-upon romance.
While the film's heart is in the right place and its depiction of the music world is a well-aimed barb, there is something off about the pace and plot of this film. It is essentially an emotional, over-wrought scene followed by a montage, followed by an emotional, over-wrought scene, and the plot points of the romance are awfully quick and - you guessed it - over-wrought. The characters jump to conclusions that no real, reasonable lovers would reach, and when the plot calls for a sincere moment, the film settles for a montage that doesn't reveal enough about their journey.
Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Nate Parker are acceptable in their roles, but in their tender scenes together, there's something insouciant about much of their acting, as though the characters they create aren't making real and vital decisions.
Overall, Beyond the Lights would have benefited from reworking its plot and stronger performances.
A group of actors perform Chekhov's Uncle Vanya.
Andre Gregory and… MoreA group of actors perform Chekhov's Uncle Vanya.
Andre Gregory and Wallace Shawn combined with director Louis Malle to create one of the great talk-only films, My Dinner with Andre, and now they add David Mamet translating Anton Chekhov to the mix, and the result is just as compelling. By itself, Vanya is a great character drama, and what Malle and company show is that great material requires great actors, not necessarily beautiful scenery. You probably wouldn't cast impish Wallace Shawn in the main role of Vanya opposite the younger and "beautiful" Jullianne Moore, but it works because Shawn's talent as an actor goes beyond his looks. The rest of the actors are equally good, including Moore, whose work usually fails to compel me.
Overall, this is a great introduction to one of Russia's greatest writers.
A woman suspends her life to support her imprisoned husband.
There is… MoreA woman suspends her life to support her imprisoned husband.
There is without a doubt something profound, personal, and authentic about this film, which is to the credit of Emayatzy Corinealdi and writer/director Ava DuVernay, but the plot is plodding and slowly rendered. it's hard to make an exciting film about waiting, so part of the film's problem is the story it's trying to tell. Nevertheless, the film has important things to say about gender roles, race relations, and personal growth.
Overall, Middle of Nowhere tries to rend the most out of its actors and story, but the film's pace ultimately dooms it.
When Kyle Reese goes back in time to save Sarah Connor, he finds her… MoreWhen Kyle Reese goes back in time to save Sarah Connor, he finds her expecting him and in the company of a Terminator who saved her life as a little girl.
This is the type of film that seems really clever until you think about it. I mean, how many Terminators did they send back? Why not just send back a whole damn factory? There are two T-800s, a T-1000, a human, and another new Terminator that all go back at various times, and none of that takes place within the action of the film. And all of that is ignoring all the paradoxes in this lazily written time-travel action film.
I like Emilia Clarke as Sarah Connor; she's got the look and the bad-assery, and Jai Courtney has all the action chops for this new franchise. But the actors aren't the problem.
Overall, once upon a time, Terminator was an intelligent addition to the science fiction corpus.
A teenager in a tough innercity neighborhood mistakenly receives a… MoreA teenager in a tough innercity neighborhood mistakenly receives a satchel of drugs.
For the first act of Dope, I was compelled by the plot and the unique and interesting narrative voice, but by the middle of the second act, so many themes, characters, plot-lines, and over-wrought sequences had been stuffed into the film that my head started to spin. It seems to me that director Rick Famuyiwa bit off more than he could chew -- as though this may be his first and last chance to say everything that needs to be said about race, African-American culture, pop culture, inner-city life, Twitter-addiction, and life, the universe, and everything.
The performances are all excellent, acting as not-acting at its best.
Overall, I liked the potential of the talent behind Dope more than I liked the movie itself.