It may be hard to believe given his post-2000 movie roles, but Sandler is electric from beginning to end. He’s never been better, topping his previous high when directed by Paul Thomas Anderson in Punch Drunk Love. Without Sandler’s frenetic energy, Uncut Gems would not be able to sustain its breakneck pace for the quickest 130 minutes you’ll sit through all year.
Abrams had a Star Destroyer-sized task in front of him, in that he had to not only wrap up a highly-anticipated trilogy, give each character enough screen and plot time, and include enough Star Wars lore to keep the diehard fans interested (not to mention he had to make an entertaining movie, of course). And, yes, Abrams does succeed in some respects with this entry.
The Beach Bum left me genuinely questioning whether it was meant to be a drama about a stoner’s laid back attitude toward life or if it was a comedy about a bumbling, carefree guy coasting through it. The sad truth is, I really think it’s neither of those things.
Frozen essentially came out of nowhere to reinvigorate Disney’s musical princess movie algorithm. Instead of romance, the real goal for the main heroine was her own self-love and acceptance. So how do you follow-up something like that? For directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee (who directed the first film), the motto seems to have been “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Writer/star Mindy Kaling and director Nisha Ganatra’s “boss from hell” movie about an underdog in late night TV is plagued by underutilized supporting characters, underdeveloped subplots, and a borderline unlikable co-lead character. Late Night’s saving grace is a strong performance by Emma Thompson who, despite her character being nearly irredeemably obnoxious, is served well enough by a script that misuses most of the other characters and subplots.
Part thriller, part socioeconomic fable, and part black comedy, the brilliance of Parasite is when it effortlessly – and, more important, believably – changes its tone, sometimes within the same scene. Any given moment could easily elicit laughter or gasps of horror from one person to another, and neither would be wrong in their reactions. I hate to be so vague and evasive, but it should be stated that Parasite is one of the rare films that is truly best experienced when knowing as little as possible before viewing.
The King (2019) Premise: Hal, wayward prince and heir to the English throne, is crowned King Henry V after his tyrannical father dies. Now the young king must navigate palace politics, the war his father left behind, and the emotional strings of his past life. The King may not be the longest, the most plot-heavy, or even the most complicated […]
The Irishman (2019) Premise: A mob hitman recalls his possible involvement with the slaying of Jimmy Hoffa. The Irishman is Martin Scorsese’s examination of time, regret, and aging through the lens of the gangster epic. It’s a perfectly fine film whose biggest strength is in the powerful performances of Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci. Unfortunately, aside from […]
The Lighthouse (2019) Premise: The hypnotic and hallucinatory tale of two lighthouse keepers on a remote and mysterious New England island in the 1890s. “I knew ye was mad when ye smashed that lifeboat and chased me with that axe” Willem Dafoe’s Thomas Wake bellows to Robert Pattinson’s Ephraim Winslow (or is it Thomas Howard?) late in The Lighthouse, the […]
Dolemite Is My Name (2019) Premise: Eddie Murphy portrays real-life legend Rudy Ray Moore, a comedy and rap pioneer who proved naysayers wrong when his hilarious, obscene, kung-fu fighting alter ego, Dolemite, became a 1970s Blaxploitation phenomenon.
In a New York Minute (2019) Narrative Feature/Official Selection 102 Minutes/USA/2019 Drama/Romance Director: Ximan Li Premise: “In A New York Minute” follows three strangers connected by a single pregnancy test. Amy is haunted by a past breakup that has manifested into an eating disorder. Angel is caught between a loveless marriage to an American businessman and a passionate affair with […]
House of Hummingbird (2019) Narrative Feature/Grand Prize Winner 138 Minutes/South Korea/2019 Drama/International Director: Bora Kim Premise: A lonely 14-year-old, Eun-hee moves through life like a hummingbird searching for a taste of sweetness. Deprived of attention from her family, she spends her time finding meaning in the love and friendships of her peers. When Young-ji, a new teacher, arrives, she becomes […]
The Laundromat (2019) Premise: In this dramedy based on the Mossack Fonseca scandal, a cast of characters investigate an insurance fraud, chasing leads to a pair of a flamboyant Panama City law partners exploiting the world’s financial system.
Go Back to China (2019) Narrative Feature/Official Selection 96 Minutes/2019/USA Comedy/Drama Director: Emily Ting Premise: When spoiled rich girl Sasha Li blows through most of her trust fund, she is cut off by her father and forced to go back to China and work for the family toy business.