Villeneuve has managed to construct a puzzle box thriller that remembers the human element is more essential than a few slights of hand and a handful of cheap thrills. It builds its emotions from a core, lived-in reality that’s pulsing with nerve-wracking effervescence, making Prisoners (2013) an impactful tour de force sure to be remembered fondly for many years to come.
Howard and Morgan have made a movie whose engine roars to life with astonishing ferocity, Rush a full-bore entertainment of living life on the edge and the adrenaline high that comes from doing it that deserves to be one of 2013’s biggest hits.
Yet as much as he and Diesel love the character, as beholden to the fans as they feel to do him justice, Riddick is frustratingly half-baked. It never goes to the level that it needs to in order to fully succeed, following in the footsteps in the successful entry of the series oddly afraid to slice and dice a pathway entirely of its own design. The perceived failure of the last outing has made the pair, of all things, timid, a trait that sadly shows its colors far too much of the time, and if stories with this character are going to continue than that’s one facet that has to immediately change.
Cretton understands his story and his characters in ways that are inspiring, never once belittling them or taking them for granted. The final moments of Short Term 12 are as refreshingly invigorating as any I could have dreamt of, and as such the filmmaker’s latest effort is cause for complete and total celebration.
With a script co-written once again by Pegg and Wright, [The World’s End] is a subversive trip down memory lane coupled with not-so-veiled commentary on consumerist culture and suburban homogenization. It is smarter than you initially think it is and more bracing in its darkly tragic satire than many might be willing to give it credit for, the resulting comedic jaunt an intelligently observational diatribe worthy of multiple looks.
You’re Next is not your typical home invasion horror-thriller. Filled with inventive twists and turns, showcasing a heroic transformation that would cause both Jamie Lee Curtis and Sigourney Weaver to rise to their feet in unabated cheers, the movie is a witty, gory and unexpectedly exciting hoot filled with scares and laughs aplenty.
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints doesn’t rewrite the rule book or transform the genre in any way that’s new or different and that’s okay. When a movie is as close to perfectly constructed as this, when the acting is this universally excellent, not being the most original noir in the backwoods Texas hill country is just fine with me.
The fine line that Vaughn and company attempted to walk is blurred considerably, incoming writer/director Jeff Wadlow (Cry_Wolf) more interested in embracing the more exploitive aspects of the narrative instead of having a discussion about the ethically complex societal constructs the existence of these real-life heroes generates. He revels in the blood splatter, lets loose with the ultra-violence, letting things culminate in a showdown between teen boys with daddy issues instead of anything even remotely substantive.
Precious might have been a homerun for Daniels, but I’m starting to think it might be his only one, and while this film certainly improves upon the laughably mediocre The Paperboy (which, it must be admitted, was also exceedingly well acted) it’s flaws are much too glaring and obvious to be laid aside entirely. Still, thanks to the cast, indebted in some respects to Strong’s intelligently layered script, Lee Daniels’ The Butler is worthy of a look, if only to see Winfrey’s triumphant return in all its spellbinding glory.