While composed with a meticulous eye for detail, there is still the constant omnipresent sensation that anything can happen at any moment, these characters free to shape themselves as they naturalistically would if Something in the Air was actually taking place for real and not a vibrant figment of the director’s vividly alive imagination.
It’s great, filled with superb set pieces and moments, not the least of which is a dynamic attack on the Stark mansion that had the majority of the preview audience sitting on the edge of their seats holding their breath, and I can’t say I was ever bored by anything that was going on. At the same time, there is an almost television-like efficiency that can grow stale, nothing ever popping out or calling attention to itself in a way I could ever say was entirely memorable.
Watching this movie was a beguiling joy that brought a smile to my face and filled my heart with the kind of rapture that lingered there for hours afterwards. Renoir drips with insight and meaning, its depiction of two famed artists both justly celebrated today as game-changing trendsetters one all involved can be justifiably proud of.
The bottom line is that the director has a lot on his mind and a ton he wants to say, the majority of which I firmly believe deserves to be stated as loudly and as exuberantly as possible. But as good the cast is and as great as many individual moments are none of them are detailed or are as explored as fully as I felt like they needed to be, making [At Any Price] an intriguing oddity difficult to embrace even if in some ways it’s still relatively easy to recommend.
I’d be lying if I said I hated The Big Wedding entirely, because at no time during the 90 minutes it ran did I feel bored or wanted to bolt from my theatre seat. Not that I was ever entertained by Zackham’s film, and truth be told had the majority of the cast not given it their best efforts I doubt there would be anything of merit to talk about.
Errors of the Human Body doesn’t always work, pieces of it not always fitting comfortably with their cinematic counterparts. But the emotional core of this biological nightmare consistently rings true, making the DNA-fueled terrors that are being depicted all the more chilling on a personal level than they ever could have been otherwise.
Rønning and Sandberg depict Heyerdal’s (Pål Hagen) journey with an intrinsic beauty that stirs the imagination and allows the heart to soar. From the moment he and his team of adventurers set foot on their small balsawood raft, to the second their feet touch the Polynesian shore, I felt as if I were making this dangerous trek across the Pacific Ocean right along with them.
Nichols once again subverts genre convention and slowly goes in directions you don’t always see coming. If his debut was a Hatfield and McCoy descent into familial darkness and his sophomore effort a psychological freak-out combining nature in upheaval and a devoted father slowly losing his marbles, then Mud (2013) is a coming-of-age drama of faith, understanding and friendship that defies convention resulting in an authentic urgency unique unto itself.
There’s nothing of merit to take away from Pain & Gain other than the fact that maybe in the hands of a different filmmaker something worthwhile could have been crafted, this pile of bombast as instantly forgettable, and in some ways lamentable, as anything I’m likely to see in all of 2013.