Beyond the Gates, while far from a masterpiece, is hugely entertaining if one is in the right frame of mind when watching it. Stewart has crafted a debut that looks terrific and sounds even better, while his ability to shock and startle with an increasingly awesome array of gore effects is impressive.
How Evolution transitions from its humbly mysterious initial sequences to its quietly disquieting final seconds, that’s its real glory, and the fact Hadzihalilovic can weave such an uncomforting spell as magnificent as this is cause for instant celebration.
Miss Sloane tells a story that feels like it was ripped right out of yesterday’s headlines, that coupled with Chastain’s magnificence helping make the film a gripping spellbinder worth seeking out.
When it is funny, Office Christmas Party can be a hoot, and it’s always nice to see firebrands like McKinnon getting an opportunity to strut their stuff so magnificently. But Gordon and Speck can’t hold it all together, things spiraling in so many different directions their bits of emotional pabulum that they toss in willy-nilly throughout fall achingly flat.
Gillespie has obviously learned a lot from his time working with Wheatley, but that doesn’t mean he’s able to deliver on his promise this first time out of the gate, the nihilistic lunacy of Tank 432 coupled with its ridiculous implausibility leaving me coldly indifferent to the director’s high-concept debut.
“You can’t tell people how they are supposed to feel. What some people do when they watch the movie is they project themselves into it, and I think that’s neat. I think that’s what people should be doing. You make a movie, once it gets out there, it’s no longer about me, it’s about the viewer. It has to be able to take whatever it gets from them. That’s how it is. That’s also how it should be.”
Man Down is seldom boring, and I can say it held my attention start to finish with very little in the way of effort…But it all ends up being for naught, and by the time the film was over I was almost angry I’d given it a look, the way it wastes fine performances from all involved and an intriguing premise ripe with possibility coming perilously close to being unforgivable.
Manchester by the Sea is a stunner, delivering in ways that defy easy description. Lonergan is fearless, going after the human condition in ways that are beyond compare, refusing to soften his points or offer easy outs for any of his characters. This is a movie about life, its ugliness and the destruction a single unintended mistake can exact upon those both guilty and innocent.