The 50th anniversary of Star Trek this week really put in perspective just how long we’ve been living with the concept of extraterrestrial. In 2016, there’s something downright familiar about aliens, maybe because in most situations our conception of them remains rooted in our conception of ourselves: They look like us with pointy ears or a ribbed nose, or they don’t look like us, but they behave like us, with motivations and actions that are easily recognizable and understandable. One of Arrival’s greatest achievements is the way it makes alien seem alien again: Strange and inhuman and beyond the limits of our comprehension. It readjusts our thinking about what life on other worlds might be like. And in doing so, it also readjusts our thinking about what life on our world can be like.
Movie Reviews - Page 3
It’s been 10 years since we last saw a new film from Paul Verhoeven, whose darkly satirical style has made his body of work incredibly divisive. That perspective hasn’t changed much over the past decade, though Verhoeven’s approach to style and tone has certainly matured, as evidenced by Elle. Featuring a razor sharp performance from the incomparable Isabelle Huppert, Verhoeven’s latest effort is a crafty and expertly layered drama in which a successful woman experiences a rather unconventional midlife awakening.
You’ve seen Doctor Strange. You’ve read our spoiler-free Doctor Strange review. Now you’re ready to go deeper. Like Stephen Strange himself, you’re ready for ultimate knowledge. All you know is a wise Celtic mystic to touch you on the forehead and open your “eye.”
Richard and Mildred Loving couldn’t have had a more perfect last name. The real-life interracial couple, whose 1958 marriage violated Virginia’s anti-miscegenation laws and led to a landmark laws civil rights case, weren’t just incredible for how much they changed history, but for how deeply they loved one another despite all opposite. In the aptly titled historical drama ‘Loving,’ Jeff Nichols makes the couple’s warm devotion to one another the focal point of his quiet, intimate film.
Inferno marks the third movie from director Ron Howard and star Tom Hanks based on the popular novels by Dan Brown about Harvard professor and symbologist Robert Langdon. They’re all vary degrees of bad — and Inferno is easily the worst of the bunch — but what’s particularly galling about this franchise are the years Howard and Hanks, two of our most dependable filmmakers, have wasted on it. Together they’ve made Splash and Apollo 13; separately their credits include Cinderella Man, The Paper, Saving Private Ryan, Captain Phillips and so many others. How many great movies could they have made, as a team or as individuals, if they hadn’t committed their talents to these cruddy thrillers?
The most common knock against Marvel’s cinematic universe: All their movies look the same. In a mega-franchise spanning 14 films and counting, that look can get pretty stale. For the most part, these movies about bravery are pretty timid when it comes to visual storytelling.
After making his English-language debut with Stoker, Park Chan-wook returns to his native South Korea for The Handmaiden, a gloriously sensual and impressively layered thriller that’s every bit as Hitchcockian and gothic as its predecessor. In a brilliantly repurposed adaptation of Sarah Waters’ Fingersmith, Director Park changes the setting of the story to Colonial-era Korea, which serves as a nuanced backdrop for what is his most masterful masterpiece to date.
A raw, exquisite portrait of young black masculinity, Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight follows one life through three stages to tell a story of repressed desires and internalized suffering. Across three chapters we watch Chiron, a young South Florida boy, grow into a teen and later into a nearly unrecognizable man, as he seeks to understand the various shades of his identity.
Less than 48 hours after its existence was revealed to the world and less than 2 weeks after Michael Moore began shooting it — not finished, began — Michael Moore in TrumpLand arrives in theaters. Not surprisingly given that incredibly abbreviated schedule, the film is a bit of a mess; a heartfelt, scattershot, rarely funny, intermittently moving polemic about our country and its people.
The Jack Reacher of Lee Child’s novels is a massive 6’5” bruiser. The Jack Reacher of cinema is Tom Cruise, who’s only about 5’7. But there’s something satisfying about this casting. You expect a giant hulk to be able to handle himself in a fight. Cruise’s Reacher is an underdog every time he wanders into a fight and then takes them down three, four, or five dudes at a time. Is it plausible that a 54-year-old vagrant could maintain a flawless physique and dominate packs of professional killers even when cornered and heavily outnumbered? Probably not. Is it plausible that a kid who gets bit by a spider could turn into Spider-Man? There are things a viewer simply accepts because it is the premise of the movie.