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.
Don’t Breathe holds up surprisingly well on second viewing, the magically creepy spell Alvarez and Sayagues end up crafting undeniably long-lasting. I was also even more impressed with Lang’s performance, the breadth and depth of it startling.
I adore the simplicity of The BFG, the subtlety that Spielberg and Mathison bring to Dahl’s source material really speaking to me. I’ve watched the film four times now and it just gets better with each viewing, the richness of the emotions startlingly pure. It’s a terrific movie, and one I hope more people will take the time to look at now that it’s available for home consumption.
Finding Dory is frankly wonderful, and while not the instant classic its predecessor was this Pixar sequel is still incredibly strong, continuing the story in ways that are engaging, smart and emotionally captivating.
Allied looks great, features some wonderful performances by the stars and supporting players and has moments that held me ecstatically spellbound. But the odd, obtuse emptiness of the climax left me cold, and no matter how extraordinary much of this might be that’s one landmine I’m finding it hopeless to get around without my affinity for the film exploding into disappointed nothingness.
Biller’s The Love Witch is a royal, devilishly nasty treat that is as magical as it is potent, the potion the filmmaker has whipped up for all of us to drink going down as smoothly as an expertly mixed cocktail with a tiny pink umbrella as garnish, only here the secret ingredient is cyanide, not grenadine.
Nocturnal Animals doesn’t take prisoners. Its themes are not always obvious, and where Ford is taking things is a constant question he steadfastly refuses to give answer to. But the stories at the heart of the film are primal in their effectiveness, achieving a bristling intimacy I was stunned by.
I have this feeling Rules Don’t Apply is going to grow on me. There’s so much about it that I just plain love, not the least of which is the effortlessness of the relationship that develops between Marla and Frank and the naturalistic way Hughes becomes a part of it. Beatty’s return as actor and director is just plain glorious and, even with its flaws, this rapturously romantic escapade ends up being an insightful lark that has far more on its mind than initially meets the eye.