That movie had some entry-level commentary on race, too, and a nifty soundtrack from Pharrell. All this dime-store knockoff has is a Pulp Fiction— lite nonchronological structure, a closeted coke baron, and one great Danny Brown needle drop it unloads in the first 15 minutes. The most a critic can say is that its pop-culture references are very of-the-moment.
Evil , about a pair of convivial rednecks who, through a series of unfortunate accidents and coincidences, present as bloodthirsty lunatics to a gaggle of nubile vacationers. Noah Centineo, a name doodled in diaries worldwide, plays a lower-middle-class high-school senior putting together cash for college by posing as an escort for girls in need of some arm candy.
Handsome From the opening narration in which the culprit introduces himself and confesses to his crime, this comedy purports to be a different breed of murder mystery. Sahara In the abattoir of lowest-common-denominator kiddie entertainment, a viewer can sometimes read between the lines and see the grown-up writers starting to crack under their own madness.
I credit this cut-rate French-Canadian co-production with offering the most glimpses into the frustration that comes alongside making a cartoon about the desert adventures of a scorpion and a cobra. Lucid Dream Among the curiously large backlog of East Asian sci-fi projects that Netflix has imported, this does not rank among the more memorable. She then squandered part of that goodwill on limp-noodle biopic Mary Shelley , and now threatens to completely deplete it on this rom-com lacking both volume and a lustrous aesthetic shine.
Uptight advertising exec Violet Sanaa Lathan keeps her life as rigorously controlled as her elaborately treated do, but she must forsake the picture-perfect fakery to go natural up top and find herself. Sunanda Usha Jadhav is precisely the sort of character that Chopra and other outspoken advocates for women in the entertainment industry have called for. A lawyer ardently arguing for abused women against their alcoholic husbands, she has a feminist yen for justice at war with an inner turmoil that still haunts her. Take a wild guess at what happened in her past to make her pursue this particular line of work.
For a while, the character is more fully-developed than the film around her, until the final twenty minutes take some shall-we-say-unanticipated turns that seriously undercut its progressive messaging. Slightly coercive sex and cuckolding: the cure to a flagging marriage? Revenger The seventh art started going downhill the day that CGI blood was ruled more cost-effective than squib packs and karo syrup.
Hopefully, powerhouse star Bruce Khan will find more sure-handed tutelage elsewhere, and soon. The most costly production in Malay film history often feels like an extended recruitment video, showing how PASKAL soldiers save lives and assist the U. Leader of men Commander Anwar Hairul Azreen entertains the notion that he may not be able to serve his country and his family at the same time, a nagging doubt typical of the war film, but the film settles that with the conclusion that country and family are one and the same. Though the three tactical operations around which the script has been molded are executed with the precision and efficiency expected of the military, the shut-up-and-put-up thinking leaves its topic only half-covered.
The online Keanumania sparked by the episode in the middle featuring Reeves as a funhouse-mirror version of himself, however, has been well-founded. Nowhere outside Pinterest have canned aphorisms ever carried this much clout. If only it was funnier. On the other hand, there is something slightly risky and revisionist about placing a half-Korean character in a role so historically steeped in whiteness. If nothing else, the specter of Long Duk Dong will have been forever dispelled.
From a city-block bombing to a shooting spree at a campground, Greengrass treats discretion like weakness as he shows and shows and shows. Benji The Great Louisiana Tax Break Production Boom has attracted many stars to the oak-lined streets of New Orleans over the past decade, and the latest addition to the list is the hottest star on four legs, wonder dog Benji. The best that can be said for this neutered reboot of the musty mutt franchise is that it makes active use of its surroundings where so many have attempted to obscure them.
And yet nu-Benji lacks a certain canine charisma present in his doggy forebears, and weirder still, this film plays up the element of Christian dogma — thank you, thank you — traditionally constrained to the subtextual level. Rebirth The first rule of this anti-corporate psychological thriller is do not talk about Fight Club.
Goldberg breaks his pal out of a funk by inviting him to join a new movement of self-actualization he recently discovered, where instead of therapeutically punching the bologna out of one another, members chant creepy affirmations about accessing inner truth. Ugarte slowly comes undone as a nurse capable of communicating via haunted VHS tape with a boy who died 25 years earlier.
Paulo has a week-one-freshman grasp on chaos theory, and succeeds only in dumbing the concepts down while falling into the same grandfather paradox facing any time-travel movie. Not even the broad shoulders of Ugarte can carry a film so poorly thought-through. How else to account for the absolute absence of any signs of life whatsoever in each and every performance? As a mother grieving her young son recently nabbed by wolves, Riley Keough never breaks her heart-monitor monotone, and Jeffrey Wright matches her mumble-for-mumble as the nature expert who comes to find the missing boy.
Director David E. Talbert uses this pressure cooker as a breeding ground for a black comedy of schemers and bumblers, brought to life by a cast seemingly picked at random from a hat. Tim Allen! Jessica Alba! A viewer gets the impression that nobody in this motley troupe was in contact with one another during shooting. The cartoonishly inept lawmen plotting to resolve the situation have a Keystone Kops thing going on, the news team broadcasting the events occupy a more cynical atmosphere, and on the scene indoors, the shooter and his bargaining chips are doing Coen brothers cosplay.
Been So Long I am of the steadfast belief that any bad movie can be improved at least slightly with the addition of musical numbers, a principle supported by this adaptation of a London stage smash. Without the occasional ditty to spice things up, this would be a standard-issue guy-meets-gal romance about a single mother trying to get back out there. While the music suffers from Repo! Burning Sands Yet another clone movie, this one retreading the stomach-churning account of hazing gone too far undertaken by Goat the previous year.
But instead of tiptoeing around the jocks, prevailing attitudes of mandated prudence mean that our boys must tiptoe around their parents, their nation, and their own guilt. The sword of Damocles finally drops when his partners turn against him, his wife sends a messenger boy to announce her request for a divorce, and his substance-based hobbies threaten to worsen into habits, all on the same Monday. In America, it feels like the Sundance-industrial complex gives us another one of these every couple of years.
He casts a bold silhouette as the image of gallantry, oftentimes to disbelief-testing extents. Did he really wait to deflower his teen bride, played by a poorly utilized Florence Pugh, until she was ready to give her consent? Mackenzie wants us to gawp at his lengthy tracking shots and flaming catapult, but the bouquet of loose screw-ups has a way of holding the attention.
The resulting uproar destroyed treasured relationships and put him through a great test of faith in line with Christian lore, and director Joshua Marston chooses to relate this with all the dramatic nuance of a Lifetime Original Movie. Not even a sensitive turn as an AIDS-positive organist from the unerring Lakeith Stanfield can earn this film salvation. The Killer And now for something completely different: a Western by way of Brazil, where a scar-faced killer those excited for a film about Spanish bullfighters are in for a rude awakening plays the cowboy liberating a dusty village from a ruthless capitalist.
Diogo Morgado cuts a commanding figure as our man Shaggy, a couple notches closer to feral than the usual gunslinger. The Warning Spanish filmmaker Daniel Calparsoro could have a long career ahead of him in Hollywood, where they crank out ambitious but imperfect conceptual thrillers like this one by the bushel. To work off his debt, Gudio joins the shadowy league of collectors and rapidly learns the ropes of a dishonest yet highly seductive profession where all rules have a bit of wiggle room.
The painterly photography has been supplanted by the flatness of prestige TV, and the long, pensive gaps in which viewers were once free to appreciate the rustling of tree branches or distant chiming of bells are now filled with meaningless exposition. Formulaic as his handiwork may be, director Julien Leclerq has his head on straighter than his characters, moving his minute run time at a swift clip with a few Mannly action sequences. A national cinema once limited by censorship and old-fashioned ideas about propriety is now exploring new sexual frontiers, this romantic anthology being a bracingly blunt case in point.
Behold, the first onscreen appearance of a vibrator in the history of Indian film!
Four separate stories revolve around women in various states of dissatisfaction — carnal, sure, but more frequently emotional. A lot of the comedy errs on the side of the sophomoric, with one randy set piece taking cues from the risible The Ugly Truth , but what this effort represents still counts for quite a bit. Imperial Dreams A curious specimen, this film was made and released in two dramatically different worlds. When the picture first premiered at Sundance in , John Boyega was another handsome young Brit with a lot of promise and a stare capable of cutting metal.
By the time Netflix unveiled it in , he was an A-lister with a leading role in the biggest blockbuster franchise on the planet. Not an easy sit by any measure, but director Sudabeh Mortezai maximizes the pain to unclear ends, drawing all the dread out from an upsetting rape scene early on until it feels like horror cinema and not in the good way. The Angel By , tensions along the Egyptian-Israeli border had escalated to powder-keg levels, and a violent engagement was all but imminent. This true-to-life thriller contemplates the answer and settles somewhere between the two in a conflicted character study that resists simple heroism.
If only director Ariel Vromen had put a little more oomph in the scenes where things happen and sunk less time into scenes in which people talk about things happening. What could have been an amoral romp in the vein of American Made lands in a more subdued, inert mode, never quite reveling in its own misdeeds. Solo All right, cards on the table, Netflix. Two days later, this Spanish tribute to real-life perseverance popped up under a nearly identical title. The retelling of one Irish U. That results in a weird dissonance, where the film works as a discrete whole but fails on a scene-by-scene basis.
The ensuing dash to get the sinewy hellion back in his container drably shuffles through its action sequences and has a, shall we say, utilitarian relationship to language. Tallulah Former Orange Is the New Black writer Sian Heder tries her hand behind the camera for this study in contrasts about three women all chafing under the demands of motherhood in their own way. In the title role, Ellen Page is a street urchin feeling lost after her good-for-nothing boyfriend abandons her, but finds new meaning in life when fate puts a helpless infant in her custody.
Well-measured restraint improves the acting across the board, which in turn keeps this film away from the treacly sentiment that occasionally rears its weepy head. Janney takes it in a walk, naturally. Targarona has a perceptible admiration for Boix and the bravery required to surreptitiously document some of the most heinous crimes against humanity that history has ever seen.
Targarona, a veteran of the Spanish film industry, has earned the right to have a little more faith in herself. The Titan Sam Worthington is one of those actors whose blank expression and generically handsome features make him the perfect candidate to portray a robot. See also: Emily Ratajkowski, Jamie Dornan. Forestalling the inevitable, this sci-fi thought exercise gets near the mark by casting Worthington as something other than human — in this case, the next stage in evolution.
The film lacks focus, however, glancing past a number of thoughtful paths in an effort to simultaneously take all of them. Pickpockets Those small-time hoodlums rationalizing theft as a victimless crime often tend to not realize that after long enough, they will become the real victims. A sense of coiled-spring energy and an emphasis on the fascinating nuts and bolts of ripping strangers off can make a hundred-dollar job feel as exciting as a bank heist, both for us and the purloiners onscreen, who steal for the sheer rush as much as the money. Director Peter Webber is never better than when exalting in the kinetic glory of petty larceny, his camera as weightless and carefree as its subjects, but the need to impose an arc on their lifestyle mucks up the merrymaking.
The arrival of an elder mentor in misdemeanors steers the younger leads to betrayal, jealousy, and internal conflict, all of which makes for adequate drama at the price of the poetry-in-motion exhilaration of their earlier cooperation. Emmet Walsh could be altogether bad. Still, the script arrives at the same inevitable endpoint as any other movie about someone avenging a loved one.
You know the old saying — before you embark upon a journey of revenge, dig two graves. The hole acts as a statement bangle for the film, a pop of difference standing out from the sameness. Terron leaves his fellow middle-schoolers in the dust on the basketball court, and before long, a coach Josh Charles from an elite private academy headhunts him for their team.
Koo misses the three, but sinks the layup. The grainy mm. He gives a much better showing than the rest of the movie deserves, the room-temperature casserole of saccharine little-kid antics and uncanny-valley-plumbing CGI elves that it is. The Italian case of Stefano Cucchi, dramatized in this work of righteous outrage by Alessio Cremonini, sounds all too familiar: After getting apprehended by the feared martial peacekeeping force known as the Carabinieri on a minor drug-possession charge and held in custody, the young infrastructure worker was winnowed down to a malnourished husk of himself, beaten, and ultimately killed.
I sincerely wish the best of luck to open-minded viewers making heads or tails of this, but anyone put off by obtuseness may wind up wanting their minutes back. Steel Rain Japanese anxiety over the devastation of the atomic bomb gave us Godzilla, and now the ongoing nuclear tensions between North and South Korea have yielded this jittery, paranoid missile thriller.
The Discovery In the vast gulf between conception and execution, we have this down-tempo thought experiment from Charlie McDowell. In a world where Robert Redford has conclusively proven the existence of an idyllic afterlife, the suicide rate has mushroomed. Jason Segel and Rooney Mara are strangers with a mysterious attraction and conflicting opinions about what to do with this frightening new frontier. Director Anne Fletcher and screenwriter Kristin Hahn placed themselves in an advantageous position by building their adaptation of a YA smash around the music and philosophy of Her Dollyness, an idol to plus-size Willowdean Danielle MacDonald.
She wants to teach her negligent mother Jennifer Aniston, bringing it a lesson by winning the beauty pageant that occupies her every waking moment, and the baldly stated moral of body acceptance is all well and good. The Laws of Thermodynamics Screenwriters are always trying to impose reason on the thorny tangle of contradictions that is love, but Spanish genre tinkerer Mateo Gil does so with more studied rigor. His script proposes that the laws of physics governing the chaotic movement of subatomic particles and the delicate space-time continuum can also be applied to the bonds between people.
Gil brings a zingy, Gondry-esque energy to his experiment in bridging the gap between the mind and the soul, but his characters nonetheless possess all the pathos of a textbook word problem. It starts with mommy dearest Marisa Paredes dying, and her four daughters convening for the first time in a long time.
The Random Series Boxed Set – Books 1 – 8 by Julia Kent
Their late mom informs the adult sisters that the man they know as father did not personally sire them, setting off a search for the five men responsible for their conceptions. The family that divulges hair-curlingly frank erotic specifics together, stays together.
In this daft laugher from across the pond, Julian Barratt plays the washed-up Thorncroft in the present day, as he shills his way through middle-age in humbling commercial spots. He gets a shot at redemption when a homicidal maniac demands the police put him in contact with the real Mindhorn, and much to the displeasure of his real-cop partners, Thorncroft gets back into character. Barry Barack Obama is the coolest commander-in-chief to have ever graced the Oval Office — this is fact.
Remember back when those were qualities the president had? A Kickstarter campaign to drum up a budget outlined a daring plan to shoot guerrilla-style inside of real moments as they unfold: a bustling EDM music festival, protests and riots in the wake of the Parisian terrorist attacks on Charlie Hebdo and the Bataclan. This two-hander drama is situated at the inevitable point where sickness bleeds over into the more meaningfully personal — friends, romantic relationships, family.
Over the course of one evening, grueling even at a brief 71 minutes, she goes from tough-love counselor to enabler as she helps Seth score to keep him from dying of withdrawal. Both Jacobson and Franco are up to the task, never coming off as tourists in the genre like so many comedic actors stretching their range, and the ending is a lot darker than they play it. All the more frustrating, then, that the script would hamstring their work with such missteps as easy symbolism, voice-over overload, and crucial lines that ring false.
Bespectacled young C. Virtuous intent can only get a film so far, however, and the hoary kinks in the plot along with feigned naturalism of the patter between the kids stop the film dead in its tracks. Anyone over the age of 60 will most likely be charmed by this softly told romance between seniors-who-still-got-it Robert Redford and Jane Fonda, but everyone can share in the warmth this sweet-natured, if mild, film radiates.
Adult children Judy Greer and Matthias Schoenaerts bring trouble into their geriatric Eden, but the prevailing tone is that of comfort. Even so, he still needs to formulate a sense of artistic self in terms of both originality and control before he can join the ranks of the proud troublemakers he so clearly idolizes. The Package For a movie about a kid who cuts his own dick off while drinking and camping, it could be a lot worse! Not a high bar to clear, admittedly, but Geraldine Viswanathan makes it look easy.
Brassy and quick with a cutting aside, the Blockers scene-stealer acts circles around the rest of the cast particularly lead Daniel Doheny, as forgettably handsome here as in Alex Strangelove as they go on a mad dash through the woods to return the recovered member to its owner after their pal gets airlifted to the nearest hospital. The movie formerly known as Eggplant Emoji does a bang-up job of stretching this thin premise to feature length, throwing obstacles at the characters and mining laughs from the solutions they have to gin up on the fly.
In the future metropolis of Grainland creators Kevin R. Her mom Molly Constance Wu spends all her time fiddling with the family bots, leading Mai Su to wander off on an adventure where she becomes acquainted with a one-of-a-kind, state-of-the-art model labeled Her assignment to have him eliminate his mechanical brethren is only the first unexpected move in a series of zags-over-zigs, culminating in poignant scenes featuring the inspired concept of artificial amnesia.
Step Sisters The Bring It On series, the clear antecedent to this dance flick which is, mercifully, far superior to Dance Flick , kept considerations of class and race in the mix through its many installments. Note: A supporting performance from Matt McGorry as a semi-self-aware, even more intolerable version of his already intolerable self instantly validates the casting.
He gives us someone to cheer for in Nirma Mithila Palkar , a motivational-tape-listening eager beaver out to get hers. She wants more for herself than lying to Chinese tourist groups about taking them through Slumdog Millionaire shooting locations — Danny Boyle gets dissed in one of the pointier wisecracks — and gets a new lease on life after a conman absconds with her car. Calibre The forbidding Scottish highlands provide a spooky backdrop for a back-to-basics horror movie — of sorts.
A pair of lads working the classic yin and yang of manliness one rips lines of coke and chases skirt, the other is a dutiful husband to a pregnant wife go out for a hunting holiday in the untamed U. Shame runs both men through a wringer of remorse, accentuated by the disconnect between their city manners and the decency of their country-folk hosts.
In the opening moments, a scientist wakes up beside his ex-lover. Masked men storm into their room a moment later, drag them into the basement, demand a huge payoff, and kill our man when he tries to escape. He then reawakens and begins the cycle anew, setting off a twisty logic puzzle tricked out with killer robots, glowing insignia tattoos, and a perpetual-motion machine capable of resetting time. But only within highly specific parameters. It is a Groundhog Day — Primer bastardization full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
It has its fun with the sound and fury, though. Alex Strangelove The Skeleton Twins director Craig Johnson summons the ghost of John Hughes for this sweet if anodyne lark about a high-schooler grappling with big questions about his sexual identity. Everyone ends up right where they belong, a millennial happily-ever-after of free tolerance and self-discovery without torment. Whether a viewer finds this a pleasing change of pace from a queer cinema steeped in the tragic or an overly slight sanitizing of an emotionally intense process will be a matter of personal preference.
Bean Boyfriend. Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle To employ an age-old critical parlance: a lot going on here. But somewhere in post-production, Serkis must have clicked the wrong buttons, because all of the animals have the disquietingly humanoid faces of an anthropomorphized furry. But because this critic had zero outside knowledge going in, he was largely pleased to find an off-the-wall pre-viz extravaganza of inspired computerized nonsense. Brace for hijinks! Triple Frontier Alas, J. Chandor showed such promise. A crack team of veterans — a lineup of heavyweights including Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Garett Hedlund, Charlie Hunnam, and Pedro Pascal — set a course for South America to nab a fortune in dirty money from a drug lord.
Some convenient dovetail-shaped plotting and pushy hot-pursuit sequences only partially obstruct a document of hardship largely unknown in the States. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau mounts a convincing argument for himself as a bona fide movie star with his turn as former corrupt policeman Joe Denton, struggling to stay on the straight and narrow while reentering society following a prison stint. But where those films were well served by simple, leaner scripts, this one spirals out in its many knots of plot. Odenkirk skillfully navigates through an obstacle course of genres and tones, as his Garden State —ish melancholia mercifully gives way to a noir-inflected mystery that links skinheads, Stacy Keach, a ring of jailhouse murders, and a newly contrived holiday with suitable ridiculousness.
Like so many other musical-genius biopics, the story of singer Rodrigo Rodrigo Romero takes us through an early period of finding himself, the fast track to FM radio, a giddy plunge into vice, and a premature death. The good news is that the rest of it is smart enough that we can fairly expect more. So when a train all but rolls up and begs to be plundered, what are Deirdra and Laney supposed to do?
It is, first and foremost, an empathetic film. By now, Adams would be slated for a Marvel movie in and an Oscar nomination by But even though she took the gig in part as a free vacation, both Bell and Grammer refrain from phoning it in, spitting some real vitriol in the screaming matches that punctuate interludes of flatteringly photographed island leisure. The mythos has never been so dense, and while that may come at the expense of palatability for the general public making these releases into hits on American soil, those fluent in this particular dialect of technobabble will be in heaven.
The Polka King In , a Polish immigrant by the name of Jan Lewan was arrested for masterminding a Ponzi scheme with receipts that ran into the millions. The bizarre account of his road to that moment lays a strong foundation for this zippy comedy about a lunge at the American dream that ends in a belly flop.
Jack Black sinks his incisors into the role of the perpetually upbeat Lewan as an opportunity to do what he does best — namely, a funny voice and rock star-lite strutting during the whirlwind polka numbers. The boxing great fled his home of Mexico after a punch left his opponent down for much more than the count; stunned by his own capacity to do harm, he resolved to live a monastic life of humble pacifism among the Finns. His reluctant emergence from retirement fails to land a blow, but the film takes on a second life as a close examination of emigration and assimilation.
Kim signals plans for so much while seeing so little of it through to completion, wantonly picking up subplots and casting them aside before anything can be done with them. Maktub A brush with death has a way of putting the zap on a guy. Partners-in-crime Chuma and Steve Israeli comedy duo Guy Amir and Hanan Savyon resolve to change their gangster ways after pure coincidence leaves them the sole survivors of a terrorist attack at a restaurant, but getting out of the game is never that simple.
Their associates, naturally, have other notions. Amir and Savyon get away with their dicier hot-button writing on merit of their well-honed rapport, keeping everyone too busy laughing to tell whether or not the film is blithely problematic. Rajma Chawal Widower Raj the great Hindi cinema idol Rishi Kapoor wants to reconnect to his closed-off son Kabir Anirudh Tanwar , so he does the only rational thing and catfishes the fruit of his loins.
Director Leena Yadav has no shortage of rather conventional complications up her sleeve, as the woman Amyra Dastur whose selfie Raj used for his faux -profile shows up and the truth inexorably comes out. Call it the Yadav touch. Manhunt John Woo, he of the doves and indoor sunglasses and brain-melting gun fu spectaculars, came to Netflix to peddle his latest bullet-strewn dance of death.
He brings his usual hyperkinetic style to the pursuit between a fugitive and the monomaniacally driven man on his trail, the action sequences as likely to inspire whiplash as the wild, out-of-nowhere vacillations to comedy and romance. Sometimes even with parental consent!
Updating Clueless for the age of normalized vaping, the girls handle the hurdles of boys, parental units, and their inevitable separation with a distinctly modern candor. On a few different occasions, this film actually puts the horniness-money of Blockers where its mouth is. A Futile and Stupid Gesture Having already turned the tired tropes of the summer camp flick and the rom-com inside out, it looked like virtuoso parodist David Wain was set to lay waste to the biopic with his treatment of the life and times of National Lampoon co-founder Doug Kenney Will Forte.
Forte plays Kenney as a figure of self-destructive tragedy and Domhnall Gleeson provides the superego to his id as co-founder Henry Beard, but the script forces both men to be stock figures in a hidebound rise-and-fall routine. The butcher whose shop sets the scene for one particularly excruciating mano-a-mano would describe this as 80 percent lean and 20 percent fat, almost all good stuff — to the point of getting stultifying.
The film rushes through some tossed-off horse pucky about Triad gangs and an innocent little girl caught in their crossfire, but so quickly and carelessly that the punches eventually lose all meaning, like a physical version of semantic satiation. For those who see the onscreen lancing of guts as a challenge in the same way that leather-mouthed mavericks take on punishing hot sauces, this poses a demanding test of endurance.
Lady J Americans love to watch the frocks-and-petticoats set behaving badly, so the same costume-drama fetishists that made The Favourite an unlikely hit may flock to this salacious retelling of an 18th-century French novel from Denis Diderot. Eager to get back at him, Pommeraye enlists the help of a bewitching brothel worker Alice Isaaz to give the Marquis a taste of his own sour medicine, remaking her as the well-bred Lady J.
Rarely has sin been so delicious. Our hero is the all-powerful Pastor Park Lee Jung-jae , a specialist known for detecting and disbanding pseudo-Buddhist orders fronting for more odious enterprises. It all congeals into a thick, sludgy, and yet commendably out-there oddity. Director Zak Hilditch puts the text he has through its paces, but a viewer still walks away with that haute cuisine dissatisfaction: It was great and everything, but such small portions!
Paddleton Alex Lehmann has managed the impossible, and found a new variant to the fatalist romance of The Fault in Our Stars. The men may not smooch or anything, but because the kindred loners only feel fully understood by one another, they need each other as desperately as any husband needs their wife. Though he only wrote the script, some of the Duplassian glibness endemic to his directorial projects seeps through. The Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter From psycho mall cops to deluded martial arts instructors, director Jody Hill has an unending fascination with men imprisoned by their own fragile masculinity.
Hill fans may be disappointed to find that his latest feature lacks the maniacal edge of Observe and Report and his small-screen work, but neophytes may appreciate the down-the-middle palatability in the father-son bond. He played in this dramatization by Antonio de la Torre and eight other guerrillas known as the Tupamaros lived for over a decade in abject captivity, holding fast to their tenets even as they were used as bargaining chips in the conflict raging outside.
You know, like Paradox. In the memoir of William Kamkwamba, a resourceful Malawian boy who saved his drought-stricken village with a water pump of his own amateur engineering, he found a worthy story and underlying cause. Gun City The title refers to Barcelona during the s, a period of social turbulence on several fronts: women had just put their foot down in a more organized capacity in their fight for rights, an overdrawn working class drifted toward the anarchist movement combatting the industrial fatcats, the military junta would soon drop pretenses and pledge allegiance to fascism, and civil war was on the horizon.
Dani de la Torre spreads his Spanish-language crime epic across this Catalonian fracas, with veteran turned cop Uriarte Luis Tosar on one side and corrupt officials, mercenaries, gangsters, and ill-tempered pornographers on the other. The reported budget of 5 million euros shows in the production design that dwarfs the opulence of your average prestige streaming series. A broken-down Ben Mendelsohn slips into the role of Anders Hill, a man taking a shot at reinvention.
But Nnaji stays mindful of the social currents and customs specific to her home, and uses them to construct an identity all her own, both as a sui generis filmmaker — her humor is ebullient, but grounded — and as a representative of her national cinema on the world stage. Accomplishing a good deal with very little — keep your buckets of blood, monsters, and jump scares, thanks — Perkins conjures fear from thin air.
Distinguished surgeon Jaime Jose Coronado, a more tacit, brutal stand-in for Liam Neeson loses it when his son Marcos Pol Monen gets beaten to smithereens outside a club, and vows to bring the hurt to those behind the attack. Who could watch the slow, pitiless death of a police horse and not feel its pain?
There must have been 50 ways to go awry when adapting this popular manga series for a feature film; losing basic coherence while condensing ten volumes of writing into a minute package, sacrificing the essence of the art by making kinetic what was once stationary, hiring annoying voice actors. Director Hiroyuki Seshita does the Charleston around these many pitfalls, safely emerging on the other side with a beautiful dark twisted cyberpunk fantasy.
Skittering android-spider abominations and hyperspeed gun-toting rebels populate this desolate post-industrial hellscape, where a band of rebels must beat back the advance of an approaching death-bot storytelling often takes a way back seat to immersive set dressing with a mix of futuristic weaponry and courage.
A bit typical in its band-of-heroes narrative, but never in the stylistic means employed to tell it. Us and Them The chunyun period refers to the days of unusually high-density travel in China surrounding the Lunar New Year, where circumstances squeeze strangers up against one another in quarters too close for comfort. Not quite the case for Jianqing and Xiaoxiao Jing Boran and Zhou Dongyu, respectively , who hit it off during this mad dash and begin a decade-long love affair.
This soapy drama retells the story of their relationship through a series of flashbacks interwoven with visions of their joyless post-breakup present, riding the ecstatic highs of infatuation and the bleak lows of a drag-down fight. While the dialogue used to express this trajectory often leans to the trite, the outsized extremes of feeling — full-body sobs, declarations of undying devotion — shine through undeterred.
His first and best was tapping macho man Frank Grillo for the lead, a getaway driver taken hostage via phone and forced to run a series of increasingly hazardous jobs during one unending night. Our man Seok-heon Ryu Seung-ryong is more of a Paul Blart than a Bruce Wayne, lacking in playboy billionaire status, a rippling physique, and even a sound moral code.
Not everything has to be the end of the universe. Mascots Ten years after his last foray into long-form mockumentary, Christopher Guest returns to his wheelhouse with another inspection of a peculiar subculture as likely to induce squirms of discomfort as laughter. He and a colorful coterie of artists, buyers, and curators Toni Collette in a chopped wig, John Malkovich as an embittered Jeff Koons avatar, Daveed Diggs as the nouveau-Basquiat taking his place duel via posturing and bons mots full of hot air in what should be a hoot.
Perhaps Morf himself would find it ever so droll that a movie about people obsessed with exteriors has little going on beneath the outermost shell. Following the examples of Edgar Wright and the Wachowski sisters, Sato has synthesized everything fun about manga, Western superhero comics, and video games into one gratuitous-in-the-best-way package. Time Share The gnarled heart of capitalism beats somewhere inside the timeshares-for-sale industry, a tarnished business that simultaneously strips the self-respect from both the pitchman and the customer.
The CGI flamingo, former Breaking Bad star RJ Mitte as the knowingly generic face of Everfields, the potato sack race that triggers a complete existential vortex of hopelessness — it all fits right in with a shiny twilight zone of prefab relaxation. Layla M. From the Netherlands comes this politically minded character piece about a young woman Nora El Koussour chafing under Islamophobia while living among the Dutch, and how that tension drives her to radical extremes. Lending her fellow woman an empathetic ear, director Mijke de Jong organically contrasts these two strains of oppression to expose the difficulty that women of color have in finding a place of their own wedged between white and male violence.
That the film passes with only a handful of words spoken aloud reinforces this elemental mood. He decides to take a wife to assuage some of the self-imposed loneliness, though the union they form more closely resembles animalistic pack mentality than matrimony. While not the most instantly pleasurable sit, this modern silent film succeeds where The Light Between Oceans most recently failed, linking the birth of a family unit to something deeper and older than its composite members.
Macon Blair works from a decidedly Coen-esque template in his directorial debut, but invests enough of his own idiosyncrasies into the story of two oddballs a fed-up Melanie Lynskey and slightly unhinged, nunchuck-brandishing Elijah Wood on the ineptly charted warpath for this to feel like a beast all its own. But when he handcuffs her to the bed and promptly dies of a heart attack, she has to draw on all her ingenuity and confront some personal demons to take one last grasp at life.
The Hours comparison is hard not to make, though Stephen King wrote the novel on which this is based long beforehand. Maybe Hollywood was waiting for two actors as game as Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood, put through their paces and then some in a hallucinatory night of the soul that dislodges some dark repressed memories and reorients their present. At least for performers, this all-in two-hander is worthy of study like Scripture.
Cargo Directors Ben Howling and Yolanda Ramke have done their zombie homework, drawing smartly from a long cinematic heritage while introducing a sufficient number of new innovations to distinguish themselves from their flesh-hungry forebears. A Land Imagined In the defining image of this Singaporean mystery, liquid cement courses like a mighty river through yards of industrial chuting. Sand Storm Hormones a-raging, a girl crushes hard on a boy and they strike up a secret relationship away from the disapproving eye of her traditionalist father.
That San Lian must sign off on the document before Jay receives one thin Taiwanese dime is the catch on which this medley of mixed-up feelings hinges. In the lacuna between what we know we should feel and what we actually feel, directors Hsu Mag and Hsu Chih-yen find a great big reason-impervious mess.
Their smartest move? Refraining from imposing order. Before I Wake Images lodge themselves in our memories during the tender developmental years, twisting and warping and growing in size to ghastly proportions as they lurk in the subconscious.
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This bedtime-story chiller from Mike Flanagan demonstrates a deeper understanding of this concept than most horror films fishing in the shallow waters of pop-psych. A well-meaning couple Tom Jane and Kate Bosworth take in an adorable 8-year-old foster son Jacob Tremblay after their child drowns in the bathtub. He plays a touchy professor whose marriage gets a shot in the arm when a literary celebrity Andrew Buckland, exuding a lust for life comes to town and riles everything — and everyone — up.
Bourgeois pretension and middle-aged fretting over virility follows as Lediga picks apart a man torn between his solidarity with a people in poverty and the comfortable existence of an academic. While not all that quotable, the one-liners still work as the mortar holding this grown-up movie about grown-ups together. Reubens tosses in more winks to the kitsch-heads than ever, peaking with an interlude in which Pee-Wee crosses paths with a girl gang right out of Faster, Pussycat! A pair of slacker actors both named Thomas Thomas Blanchard and Thomas Scimeca make a trek to the icy expanses of the Inuit village Kullorsuaq, where the indigenous residents welcome them with open arms.
Instead of treating the hospitality as an invitation to get their Eat Pray Love on, Thomas and Thomas have the presence of mind to shut up and do more listening than talking. The Breaker Upperers Do you want out of your relationship? Are you hesitant to cause pain to someone you still are about? The Sweet Taste of Sin. Ember Casey. Breaking Leather. Delilah Devlin. Stripped Bare. Emma Hart. Fight for Her: The Complete Series. JJ Knight. Club Luxe Box Set Books Olivia Noble. Keep Me.
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