The Way, Way Back proves a familiar story in the hands of great filmmakers confident in their abilities (as well as in the talented team they’ve assembled to assist them) can still be worthwhile. This movie is wonderful, nothing more, and certainly nothing less, the truths it revels in may not be new or revelatory but that doesn’t make them any less compelling or, for that matter, universal.
I do realize I’m waxing poetic about a movie revolving around monsters and robots duking it out for supremacy, on that point I don’t have a lot to say in rebuttal. The thing is, what do I have to rebut? The 8-year-old in me had a jolly great time watching [Pacific Rim], but then so did the thirty-something film critic.
Verbinksi and his team have taken this treasured, still-vibrant character and transformed both he and his compatriot into shells of what they could have been, this incarnation of The Lone Ranger so misbegotten it makes one long for the days of Klinton Spilsbury, and if you understand that reference than you fully comprehend just how gigantic a disaster this failed reinvention truly is.
The brothers Cairnes stage their escalating series of unfortunate events with lackadaisical confidence, propelling things ever forward with jovial efficiency that’s as inventive as it is absurd. They spill a lot of blood, throwing guts and bits of flesh all over the place, doing it with a gorgeously energetic joy that’s continually impressive.
Emmerich knows how to stage action with the best of them, and in Tatum he has an action star willing to throw himself here and there with excitable ferocity. More, unlike Olympus Has Fallen for some reason this one ends up being a little easier to accept and take with at least a modicum of seriousness if only because the filmmakers refuse to treat their audience like imbeciles. White House Down isn’t exactly good, I’d never call it that, but it can be fun, and as such I can’t really begrudge anyone from making the choice to give this latest cinematic assault on the White House a chance.
The pacing, while measured, some might even go so far as to call it leisurely, felt spot-on as far as I was concerned, everything building with an unhurried malevolent elegance that kept the tension building and the suspense continually omnipresent.
I’m not sure what to write about Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring. The movie is as observationally distant as many of her previous films, especially Somewhere, to a lesser extent Lost in Translation, looking at its vapid, materialistic, fame-obsessed central group of teenage reprobates with the same disaffected malaise they themselves project. It’s aggressively nonjudgmental, the film choosing to view its protagonists with a detached superficiality that doesn’t connect emotionally but still manages to pack something of a major, uncomforting wallop all the same.
[Maniac] takes the basic idea from the previous film and then runs energetically into an entirely new direction, upping the slasher game by crafting a first-person you-are-there narrative structure that in large parts makes this effort the Enter the Void of B-grade exploitation terror.
I didn’t dislike Man of Steel, not at all, but I just as readily didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as I wanted to, either. Nothing about this latest Superman iteration captivated me, none of it connected on an emotional level, and while the action theatrics fly considerably higher than any previous adaptation the shortcomings found in the human department frustratingly kept the project as a whole from soaring.