A breathless entertainment, as simple and as straightforward as it is austere and ephemeral, Certain Women is a tale of life, of how that life is lived and of the connections that are made as one travels down its mysterious road.
Under the Shadow cannily uses a fairly standard, if also expertly staged, ghost story to obsess over a character-driven story arc involving issues of marriage, motherhood, religious fundamentalism and feminism in ways that feel raw, visceral and altogether groundbreaking.
Not only is Hell or High Water just a great, character-driven thriller that busts through genre conventions, forcing the viewer to take notice of what is going on and why in the process, it also happens to be one of 2016’s best motion pictures. It is a masterful effort that grows in power and depth as it moves along, building to a shattering, hauntingly destructive conclusion that had me sitting on the edge of my seat breathlessly excited to discover what was going to happen next.
Lowery isn’t afraid of emotion, but that doesn’t mean he’s willing to let his version of Pete’s Dragon wallow in it, so when the tears ultimately flow, they do so with a luminosity so genuine the overall effect is positively miraculous. He’s crafted a movie that feels so of the moment, so of the now, walking out of the theatre I doubt I could have stopped smiling even if I had wanted to try.
From the early, eerie, unquestionably haunting images of a young nun traipsing through a barren, snow-covered Polish countryside going who knows where, to a moment of communal redemption hidden under the shroud of unthinkable secrecy and unimaginable sacrifice, The Innocents is a consistent triumph, achieving an overwhelming aura of brilliance that it manages to sustain first second to last.
The film’s 92 minutes pass by so quickly it’s all over almost as soon as it begins, everything building to a smashing conclusion that had me wanting to leap from my seat and give Stillman, his production team and his entire cast one long, rousing, vigorous cheer. Love & Friendship is magnificent, and anyone saying otherwise is in my eyes one gouty attack away from objectionable ignominy.
Here is all you need to know about 10 Cloverfield Lane: It’s awesome.
Knight of Cups is writer/director Terrence Malick at his most lyrically esoteric. If his last film, the atmospheric, if claustrophobically nondescript saga of love and woe To the Wonder was the acclaimed filmmaker’s attempt to pick away at cinematic convention, it is with this one that he abandons traditional narrative constructs entirely.
While this story is smothered in tragedy, there is something poignant and cathartic about what Saul is attempting to achieve, all of it speaking to a form of spirituality and faith that crosses religious barriers to become something universal and timeless.