The BFG — or “Big Friendly Giant” — spends his days in Giant Country, collecting dreams from a magical tree and distributing them to the people of the world. He seems like just the sort of character who would appeal to Steven Spielberg, a big friendly giant of the film world whose work has stimulated the imaginations of millions of moviegoers. But Spielberg doesn’t fully communicate that appeal with his film version of The BFG, which contains a fair amount of lovely images but may be the director’s most listless and dramatically inert movie in decades.
Movie Reviews - Page 5
Watching ‘Free State of Jones’ transported me back in time, but not back to the Civil War era. The 139 minute war drama took me back to high school on the days when my U.S. History teacher would play a historical movie, like 1986's Glory, in place of a lesson plan. But if any teacher is looking to add a movie to their syllabus, it shouldn’t be Gary Ross’ ‘Free State of Jones.’
There’s a moment early on in The Neon Demon, in which a fantastically icy Abbey Lee tells Elle Fanning’s doe-eyed aspiring model the first thing women notice about other women. Basically it’s: “Who is she f—ing? Could I f— them? How high can she climb? And is it higher than me?" It’s the closest thing to a thesis statement you’ll find in Nicolas Winding Refn’s latest film, a stylishly surreal effort that’s equal parts deranged fairy tale and devious satire, where all that glitters is ultimately cold.
Like so many Hollywood blockbusters these days, Independence Day: Resurgence ends with a beginning. Before the dust has settled on the final conflict, the next conflict is already set in motion. Rather than tying a bow around the previous two hours of planet-leveling carnage, Resurgence immediately begins teasing another sequel.
Against a dark and cloudy sky, a girl races towards the ocean. A drunk young man follows close behind. “Where are we going?” he groans. “Swimming!” she replies. The drunk boy stumbles and falls; only the girl makes it to the water, which shimmers in the moonlight like a sea of liquid jewels. She dives in. All is calm and perfect. The girl will never return to dry land.
There’s a point in any tickle attack, as you struggle and strain to catch your breath, where things tip over from funny to painful and maybe even a little scary. The fascinating and bizarre new documentary Tickled follows a similar arc. It began when New Zealand journalist David Farrier discovered a “sport” called Competitive Endurance Tickling, where men are flown to Los Angeles from all around the world, put up in lavish hotel, and paid thousands of dollars to get tickled on camera for as long as they can bear.
Like so many nightmare scenarios in modern life, Central Intelligence begins with a Facebook friend request. In high school, Calvin Joyner (Kevin Hart) was voted Most Likely to Succeed. He did not; the day before his 20-year reunion, he’s a low-level accountant. Too embarrassed and frustrated by the way his life has turned out (despite his relatively happy marriage to his high-school girlfriend Maggie, played by Danielle Nicolet), he’s decided to skip the reunion. That’s when the friend request arrives, from someone named Bob Stone. Calvin doesn’t know any Bob Stones, but he reluctantly accepts the friend request anyway. It turns out Bob Stone is actually Robert Weirdicht (say it out loud), who was involved in a horrific bullying incident back in high school.
Oh boy, another sequel.
I’m a freshman in high school. After months of legal proceedings, the jury finally reaches a verdict in the O.J. Simpson case. For the only time in my four years of secondary education, everything stops. Several classes worth of kids pile into the only room on the hall with a cable television. The room is packed. Kids are literally sitting on each other's laps because there’s nowhere else for them to go. It gets quiet.
Like every other Pixar release, Finding Dory opens with a short film. This one is called “Piper”; it’s about a little bird learning to hunt for food among the scary ocean waves. It’s a terrific showcase for Pixar’s latest advancements in computer animation, which in recent years has taken on the qualities of great nature photography. The sunlight sparkles against the water, which ripples and flows with uncanny accuracy, and when the little bird kicks a pile of sand in a crab’s face you can practically count the individual grains.