Star Wars: Episode VIII — The Last Jedi is a strange beast: a swashbuckling action movie that is deeply skeptical of derring-do; a middle movie that works better as riff and commentary on the original source material than as a sequel to its immediate predecessor.
I’m tempted to say I’d like to see the version of Coco Pixar would have made 10 years ago. Not really, I guess, since then we wouldn’t have Ratatouille. Still, I can’t help wondering what the team that made Ratatouille might have done with Coco.
It’s a little like The Nativity Story meets The Secret Life of Pets, which probably sounds like a winning formula to some people.
The ghost of Superman hovers over much of Justice League. You might say Superman’s ghost has always haunted Warner Bros’ big-screen DC Extended Universe, though the haunting is more pronounced now that Henry Cavill’s Man of Steel is dead.
Officially, Thor: Ragnarok is the third Thor movie, but in spirit it’s closer to being the third Guardians of the Galaxy movie. This is both a mark of the massive success of the Guardians films, with their colorful, whimsical design and self-mocking humor, and of the relative failure of the first two Thor films, especially The Dark World, to find a vibe of their own.
If the global refugee crisis seems like too immense a problem to wrap one’s head around, Ai isn’t interested in narrowing his focus. Going for scope over depth, Human Flow isn’t a definitive study of the problem, but it offers an incomparable starting point for further discussions.
(Reviewed by Sarah E. Greydanus) Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind may be the quintessential Hayao Miyazaki film — not necessarily his best, but the most comprehensive assortment of his characteristic themes and motifs.
Jenny will do a lot of listening in the drama that follows. First, though, will come a moment when she does not listen — the only time in the film she ignores a bid for her attention, but that one time hangs over the rest of the film.
It has been jokingly suggested that all Americans are Protestants — even Catholics, atheists and Jews. There’s a meaningful insight there, although even as a joke it’s an overstatement, and insular communities like the Hasidim manage to resist American cultural identity far more than most. Menashe is different, though I wouldn’t want to suggest that he is a Protestant Hasid. It would be fair to say he’s a bit of a resister or nonconformist, if not quite a rebel.
All Saints opens with the most familiar of pious Hollywood setups, the clergyman tasked with saving a threatened church (school, orphanage, etc.). Then something unexpected and kind of wonderful happens.
Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit has an important story to tell, but what story is it?
At the heart of A Ghost Story is an audacious visual metaphor. Like many effective metaphors, it is so straightforwardly literal and even absurd that there is no questioning or cross-examining it; like Kafka’s cockroach, or like the pie scene, it challenges you either to shake your head and turn away, or else to take the plunge.
Dunkirk is the first film Christopher Nolan has made that feels bigger than the director’s preoccupations and obsessions.
Too often I find myself in the melancholy position of trying to articulate why a movie I ought to like doesn’t work for me. War for the Planet of the Apes poses the opposite challenge: This is a film that, on paper, ought to leave me cold, but instead seared into my mind like a house on fire.
No one almost destroys the universe or the planet, or even demolishes a large European city or a sizable chunk of a New York borough, in Jon Watts’ Spider-Man: Homecoming.
To call Despicable Me 3 desperate would be to ascribe too much effort and passion to the thing. Ice Age: Collision Course, now: There was a properly desperate sequel.
At this point it seems like too much to hope for that any Pixar sequel, let alone a Cars sequel, should function smoothly from start to finish, but at least it ends well.
I have never seen a movie work harder or more hopelessly than Universal’s new The Mummy, not merely to launch a new franchise, but to jump from a standing start into a full-blown Marvel-style shared cinematic universe in one go.
Movies like Man of Steel and The Lone Ranger misunderstand and besmirch their iconic heroes. This movie understands and reveres its protagonist. That’s worth a lot, especially today.
Even skeptics of the franchise must admit, I think, that the Pirates of the Caribbean films have generally aimed higher and been smarter than might have been expected.
Copyright © 2000– Steven D. Greydanus. All rights reserved.