Like the Star Wars prequels, like James Cameron’s Avatar, it’s a movie with tons of problems, but it also contains images that made me catch my breath — gorgeous and even numinous sights I will remember forever.
Nostalgia for the original pervades virtually every aspect of the new film, from the production design of Cherry Tree Lane, where Emily Blunt’s Mary Poppins arrives to look after the next generation of Banks children, to the beat-for-beat exactness with which the sequel follows the original.
Here, at last, is the Spidey that family audiences need and the Spidey they deserve — and that’s just two of them!
Replacing Karloff-ian malice and spite / Cumberbatch-ian grousing makes this one Grinch-lite. / It’s a kinder and gentler tale than we’ve seen / Of course he’s not nice, but this Grinch is less mean.
There’s something genuinely depressing about seeing one of the most audacious experiments in animation history used not for actual inspiration, but as a kind of scrap heap for spare parts.
Gosnell is subtitled The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer (echoing the similar subtitle of the book by producers Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney) — but notorious abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell isn’t the only one on trial here.
First Man is Damien Chazelle’s third film in a row about special individuals whose quest to achieve great things is linked to emotional isolation from others.
It was the experience of reporting in Jerusalem on the 1961 Adolf Eichmann trial for The New Yorker that led the philosopher Hannah Arendt to coin her famous phrase “the banality of evil.”
The Hunger Games’ Rue is now Ruby: Amandla Stenberg takes the spotlight in another YA dystopia that runs its race, but doesn’t diverge enough from its peers to leave anyone hungry for whatever comes next.
The superhero movie to end all superhero movies? Or every superhero movie at once?
Clearly I am not a vampire. As you can see here, I’ve changed quite a bit in the last six years … not necessarily in my opinion of this franchise.
When such movies are done well, you get, say, The Incredibles or John Favreau’s Chef. When they aren’t, you get Jim Carrey in Mr. Popper’s Penguins or Steven Spielberg’s Hook — possibly the closest analogy for Christopher Robin, though Hook, for all its flaws, was clearly a personal film for Spielberg, whereas Christopher Robin feels cobbled together from bits and pieces of other movies without a cogent vision of its own.
Mission: Impossible – Fallout completes possibly the most improbable cinematic hat trick in Hollywood history: An unpromising series that began with three patchy, uneven entries has now produced three terrifically entertaining ones.
I’m struck by the extent to which Christopher Nolan’s celebrated Dark Knight trilogy (of which the monumental second chapter, The Dark Knight, was released 10 years ago this week), watched back-to-back, can be fruitfully considered as an extended comic-book riff on the story of Abraham and God’s judgment on Sodom in the Book of Genesis.
I dared to hope this one would be more than merely good. I was afraid it would be less than good.
I’m not thrilled about the lack of worthy romantic leading men in recent Hollywood animation, but I prefer the theme in Frozen, about needing to get to know someone before deciding to get married, to this series’ magical, inexorable “Zing” moment.
No infinity. No war. (Almost.) Why can’t more Marvel movies be like this?
In some ways Ant-Man and the Wasp is the kind of movie I wanted Ant-Man to be: namely, a refreshing antidote to the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Apparently velociraptor is the cowbell of dino design and the filmmakers are Christopher Walken.
As The Incredibles in its day towered over the Hollywood animation landscape of the last decade, so in some measure does Incredibles 2 in this decade — but what a different and diminished landscape it is today.
Brady Jandreau is a young Lakota Sioux rodeo star who met filmmaker Chloé Zhao while she was filming at a South Dakota ranch.… Zhao wanted her next film to be about Jandreau’s world and way of life. While she was searching for a way into the story, Jandreau’s career came to an abrupt end when a bronco threw him and then stomped on his head, shattering his skull.
For a few formative years of our lives, Mr. Rogers showed us the way. Why don’t we walk that way? Because of all the voices dominating the discussion ever since.
Schrader makes greater use than ever before of what he calls the “transcendental toolkit” — but it’s still very much a film from the writer of Taxi Driver. If Toller partly evokes Bresson’s wan, saintly curé, in time we see that he’s also part Travis Bickle, which can be as difficult to watch as it sounds.
Watching Disney’s Rogue One and Solo, the two stand-alone “Star Wars Story” movies that come without episode numbers and opening crawls, is a little like watching the legendary Dutch boy trying to plug the leaks in the dike with his fingers … as new leaks burst all around him.
A messy, thought-provoking film about motherhood from the makers of Juno and Young Adult? Go figure.
The year’s second-best inspirational documentary about an iconic leader with an ability to connect with people as individuals is still pretty good.
Wim Wenders, whose eclectic career has embraced arthouse dramas, documentaries, music videos and concert films, approaches the subject of his latest nonfiction film from an unusual perspective: the significance of an unprecedented papal name.
It’s funny to think of people scratching their heads when this “quiet” film is justly nominated for sound editing and sound mixing Oscars.
Dwayne Johnson and giant animals. How much more do you need? Well, since you asked … maybe a little?
Six years ago I described The Avengers as “awesomeness squared”; Infinity War strives with all its might for awesomeness cubed and even tesseracted. It wants to leave you texting your friends “MIND. BLOWN.” It might succeed — but there’s a catch.
Copyright © 2000– Steven D. Greydanus. All rights reserved.