Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston's alabaster pale, rocker cool,… MoreTilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston's alabaster pale, rocker cool, ritualistically tender vampire love spans eras, and while this film is a bit of a narrative hot mess, Jim Jarmusch's languid pacing and attention to detail (the books, the instruments, those omnipresent sunglasses) create a wry and intellectual atmosphere that is absent in most vampire flicks...well, most "flicks" in general. The Marlowe having written Shakespeare's work gag is rather trite, and the most action and conflict-filled part of the movie comes too late and ends too early with the arrival and departure of Ava - the bratty, simpering baby vampire - played by a hilariously vexing Mia Wasikowska. She's so cute that you just want to stab her in the face.
So much pointless whimsy. Creative multimedia films like "Bunny and… MoreSo much pointless whimsy. Creative multimedia films like "Bunny and the Bull" and "The Science of Sleep" use fantastical papier mache set pieces to represent some kind of distance between the characters and their imagined lives, but this film's twee arts and crafts hardly pertain to the story. The conflict indicated in the IMDb synopsis doesn't even come until halfway through the movie.
Terriblay. Obviously a career vehicle for Quvenzhane Wallis who is… MoreTerriblay. Obviously a career vehicle for Quvenzhane Wallis who is lively and game but not as good of a singer or dancer as the other little girls in the ensemble. Cameron Diaz is laughably evil as Miss Hannigan, but she really throws herself into her musical numbers. I was hoping they'd do something worthwhile with the illiteracy reveal, like that Annie's letter never said that her parents were coming back; she just made up what she couldn't read and the other girls enabled her out of sympathy.
Adorable and a half! I thought Oh's broken English and out-of-context… MoreAdorable and a half! I thought Oh's broken English and out-of-context pop culture references would be annoying, but he is actually rather lovable in his goofiness and naivete. I watched this movie in Taiwan with Chinese subtitles and was surprised to see that Oh's semantic antics weren't literally translated, causing a loss in humor, I assume.
Tip is a cleverly conceived heroine - from her being on her own at sixteen, to her given name being Gratuity, to her mad-sad complexity. Rihanna does some emotive voicework, and she and Jim Parsons have great chemistry. The fact that the fugitive pair are able to elude capture in this high-tech world is a bit farfetched, but their budding friendship and Oh's gradual anthropological study of humans sends a sweet message about cultural understanding.
I don't want to give anything away, but this little indie gem tackles… MoreI don't want to give anything away, but this little indie gem tackles grief, guilt, parenthood, redemption - all with expertly revealed exposition, compassionate performances, and a soaring soundtrack.
Lovely and heartwarming. I was skeptical at first about the cute-bait… MoreLovely and heartwarming. I was skeptical at first about the cute-bait of Baymax, the inflatable health care robot, but he turns out to be a matter-of-fact diagnostician with a subtly cute innocence and a great capacity for love and sacrifice. The futuristic blend of Tokyo and San Francisco makes for some beautiful animation design, but the third act baddie twist is confusing and unnecessary.
Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan are charismatic in this… MoreAnna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan are charismatic in this split-timeline, two-hander musical, but the very conceit of her story going backwards and his forwards just doesn't quite work, like how it doesn't quite work on stage either. There's no one to really REACT to in any given scene (until the midpoint proposal of "The Next Ten Minutes"), and the movie seemed to know that going in, so of course, instead of the partner just sitting with his/her back to the audience, there are superfluous "reaction" shots with the partner "reacting" moonily or exasperatedly, and the script doesn't allow for more ad libbing of spoken dialogue, nor does the editing cover up the less than inspired takes.
There are lots of big emotions in each of the songs, which is a blessing and a curse. The constant His Story/Her Storying doesn't allow the audience to latch onto an emotional arc. Furthermore, Jaime ogling other women literally ten minutes after getting married, sleeping with a bevy of random hotties while the Cathy's away, and ultimately leaving her with a piddling Dear John letter, are somewhat heavy-handed and unrealistic plot points, despite this musical being based on Jason Robert Brown's own past relationship.
Kendrick is catatonically melancholic at the beginning and a triple-threat darling in Cathy's send-up of the grueling showbiz audition circuit, "Climbing Uphill," but ultimately, the movie lacks true pathos.
This small-town epic seems like an Oscar-bait movie, but I'm surprised… MoreThis small-town epic seems like an Oscar-bait movie, but I'm surprised it hardly caught any fish. Robert Duvall plays a venerated, hard-nosed judge who is suspected of a hit-and-run of an ex-criminal whom he put behind bars decades ago, and RDJ plays the estranged son who long ago lost respect for his father but now must put that aside to showboat-lawyer away this charge. Both turn in layered and affecting performances.
It's a long-ass movie, but the family's dramatic backstory is worth the wait. Vincent D'Onofrio plays the same put-upon older brother he played in "The Break-Up," but it works, and Jeremy Strong as the mildly retarded younger brother is an endearing supporting character that provides all the others a piece of sugar in their darkest moments.
I may not be into Kenneth Branagh as an actor, but his directorial… MoreI may not be into Kenneth Branagh as an actor, but his directorial efforts have been remarkably solid. This live-action "Cinderella" is magical in revealing the backstory of her blissful childhood to how she became a slave in her own house, much like how a frog doesn't know it's being boiled until it's too late.
Lily James's optimistic grace and breathless exhilaration are adorable, and Richard Madden as the prince is humorous, dashing, and poignant. Cate Blanchett is a decadent villain, of course, but her reasons for quashing Cinderella are left vague and unspoken. I wonder why the movie didn't end with Cinderella granting her stepfamily shelter in the castle. It's kind of an easy booya to say "I forgive you" when she knows she's leaving them in the dust.
Phillip Alford and Mary Badham are riveting child actors as Jem and… MorePhillip Alford and Mary Badham are riveting child actors as Jem and Scout, the na´fs at the center of this somewhat convoluted morality tale. The movie suffers from some old-fashioned weirdnesses like the canned suspense of the shadow creeping towards the children when obviously, the figure casting the shadow (Boo) would be completely visible to them; the canned suspense of when Scout accidentally rolls into the Radleys' yard and Jem and Dill embark on a needlessly elongated rescue attempt with Jem running up to slam the Radleys' front door for no apparent reason; the canned suspense of Boo hiding behind Jem's bedroom door and no one figuring out that he was the one who rescued the kids. So what I'm saying is, there's a lot of hokey canned suspense.
The themes of coming-of-age, fatherhood, goodness, tact, humility, fighting against injustice in the face of futility, as espoused by the novel and film are still beautiful, and the entire court sequence with Brock Peters' plaintive testimony, Gregory Peck's masterful closing argument, and Reverend Sykes chastising Scout to stand as her father passes and the entire black congregation rising, are just indelible moments in our cinematic history.