Movie Reviews - Page 3

‘Manifesto’ Review: Cate Blanchett Delivers 13 Tour de Force Performances

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by Erin Whitney January 27, 2017 @ 10:25 AM
Sundance Film Festival
Cate Blanchett is a force unlike any other on screen. Over the years we’ve watched her bring her vivacity to characters like Galadriel, Bob Dylan, Katherine Hepburn, Carol Aird, and Queen Elizabeth I. If it wasn’t already clear that Blanchett is one of the greatest actors of our time, then Julian Rosefeldt’s Manifesto will be living proof of her ability to transform into any character she sets her sights on.

‘Call Me By Your Name’ Review: An Exquisite Queer Romance That Will Steal Your Heart

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by Erin Whitney January 26, 2017 @ 10:25 AM
Sony Pictures Classics
Nothing aches quite like first love. It grips hold of you like a disease, consuming you with desire, enveloping your day dreams with only thoughts of another’s face, scent, or smile. In Call Me By Your Name, Italian filmmaker Luca Guadagnino takes us to the sun-drenched Italian countryside for an exquisite queer romance that you’ll want to soak up every minute of.

‘Mudbound’ Review: A Powerful and Poetic World War II Drama From Dee Rees

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by Erin Whitney January 24, 2017 @ 4:01 PM
Sundance Film Festival
Dee Rees’ short film Pariah debuted at the Sundance Film Festival 10 years ago, followed shortly after by her stunning 2011 debut feature of the same name, and a slew of Emmy wins for her HBO film Bessie. She’s been a talent to keep an eye on, but with Mudbound, a powerful period drama pulsing with urgency, she’s on her way to becoming a household name.

‘78/52’ Review: A Deep Dive into the Most Famous Shower in Movie History

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by Matt Singer January 24, 2017 @ 3:38 AM
Exhibit A Pictures
Here’s the the best endorsement I can give 78/52, a new documentary about the making of Psycho’s famous shower scene and its enormous impact on popular culture. I’ve seen Psycho countless times, and I’ve watched the shower scene on its own countless more. I’ve read Stephen Rebello’s book Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho, I took a class in college dedicated to Hitchcock’s career, and I once went through the shower scene a shot at a time with a scholar who had studied the film for decades. Despite all of that, I still learned new things about Hitchcock, Psycho, and the shower scene from 78/52. And I had a good time learning them.

‘The Polka King’ Review: Jack Black Strikes It Rich in a New Crime Comedy

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by Matt Singer January 23, 2017 @ 6:06 PM
Courtesy of Sundance Institute
“Sometimes,” says self-made musical impresario Jan Lewan (Jack Black) in The Polka King, “to make money you have to spend money.” The problem with Jan is he didn’t spend money sometimes, he did it every time. Every get-rich quick scheme he ever hatched up in his Pennsylvania gift shop required more investment than potential profit. He sold his polka fans on a “premium Pope package,” a lavish vacation to Rome that included a private audience with the Pope. But Jan had no way to deliver on his promise, so he just showed up at the Vatican with a briefcase full of cash. He got his audience, and delighted his tour group. But his “premium” vacation surely cost him more than he made.

‘A Ghost Story’ Review: A Totally New Kind of Haunted House Movie

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by Matt Singer January 23, 2017 @ 9:11 AM
Courtesy of Sundance Institute
If people were ever scared of the image of a ghost as a big white sheet with two black eyeholes those days are long gone. Today, the image is a total joke; the go-to costume for lazy children everywhere. One of the most amazing things about David Lowery’s A Ghost Story — and there are a few amazing things about this audacious movie — is the way it imbues that cliched ghost with renewed horror and even poignance. You will never look at that ghost emoji the same way again.

‘The Discovery’ Review: Netflix’s Mysterious Afterlife Movie Doesn’t Quite Live Up to Its Ambitious Sci-Fi Premise

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by Erin Whitney January 22, 2017 @ 11:40 PM
Netflix
What happens when death, the thing people fear most, becomes the most desirable part of life? Charlie McDowell’s The Discovery imagines a world where the afterlife has scientifically been proven, and as a result millions of people are committing suicide “to get there,” as it’s often referred to in the film’s not-so-distant future. But the biggest and most disturbing quandary is, what exactly is “there?” If life after death does exist, what if it’s worse than the world we know, or perhaps an even scarier thought, what if it’s better and what does that mean for the value and meaning we place on the lives we’ve been living?

‘Wind River’ Review: An Intense, Familiar Directorial Debut From the Writer of ‘Sicario’

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by Matt Singer January 22, 2017 @ 11:16 AM
Courtesy of Sundance Institute
If you know Taylor Sheridan’s previous screenplays, the drug cartel thriller Sicario and the heist movie Hell or High Water, then watching Wind River will occasionally feel like déjà vu. Character types, motivations, social commentary, even a couple of scenes (like a law-breaking interrogation in the back of a police car) reappear in a way that goes beyond an auteur returning to themes and ideas he finds particularly interesting. For the work of a first-time director, Wind River feels oddly familiar.

‘Thoroughbred’ Review: The First Best Film of 2017

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by Erin Whitney January 22, 2017 @ 9:23 AM
Sundance Film Festival
When Olivia Cooke’s Amanda enters a lavish Connecticut home at the beginning of Thoroughbred, it’s immediately clear something is off. It’s not just the eerie pops and crackles of the film’s score, or the fact that the opening scene showed her taking a knife out of her bag after menacingly staring at a horse. It’s that her face is entirely drained of emotion. When scanning the smiley-faced family photos of her childhood best friend’s home, Amanda suddenly looks up, cocks her head, and shoots a freakishly phony smile into a mirror. She holds it for an uncomfortable beat, then, as if deciding that particular emotion didn’t fit her right, she reverts back to her blank expression. Amanda is a sociopathic bored suburban teen who tries on different emotions like clothes or a grand gesture of performance art. But little does she know, she’s not the only one with sinister tendencies.