Movie Diary 8/8/2017

The Glass Castle (Destin Daniel Cretton, 2017). Another big, authentic performance from Woody Harrelson, as a chaotic father who shapes the life of a long-suffering daughter (Brie Larson). A better movie than Cretton’s Short Term 12, although there are some shortcuts – the flashback structure, for instance – that seem easy and conventional. Based on the bestselling memoir by Jeannette Walls. (full review 8/11)

Movie Diary 8/7/2017

Wind River (Taylor Sheridan, 2017). The writer of Hell or High Water directs his own script, about a murder investigation on a Wyoming Indian reservation. It misses the humor of Sheridan’s previous film, but then there’s not much funny about this grim tale, ably acted by Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen. (full review 8/9)

Masterminds (Jared Hess, 2016). I didn’t see this last year and wanted to catch up because it’s by the director of Napoleon Dynamite. Maybe he’s better when he’s generating his own material, because this is shy of inspiration and uncertain of tone.

Tower Kidnap Detroit (This Week’s Movies)

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Anthony Mackie: Detroit (Francois Duhamel/Annapurna Pictures)

Links to my reviews published this week in the Herald and Seattle Weekly, and etc.

Detroit. “Bigelow is trying to get us to feel something—what it’s like to be terrorized by the forces that are supposed to be protecting us, for one thing—and she will violate our assumptions about movie-watching to do it.”

The Dark Tower. “Such a flaccid non-event it barely leaves an impression. In the King movie-adaptation universe, Maximum Overdrive suddenly doesn’t look so bad.”

Kidnap. “Trashy exploitation, an overcooked potboiler with many logical problems. I hereby confess I kind of enjoyed it.”

The latest session of Framing Pictures is online and watchable. The panel features Richard T. Jameson, Kathleen Murphy, Bruce Reid, and me; the topics include Ana Lily Amirpour’s The Bad Batch, Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled, and Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver. We also spare some breath for Alfred Hitchcock and the nature of watching/talking about movies. Check it here.

 

Movie Diary 8/2/2017

The Dark Tower (Nikolaj Arcel, 2017). Ooof. I don’t want to raise the specter of The Last Airbender here, but I will if I have to. Spun off from Stephen King’s multi-volume fantasy universe, the movie is an attempt to create a whole new big thing franchise enchilada. It won’t do that. (full review 8/4)

Movie Diary 8/1/2017

Kidnap (Luis Prieto, 2017). Halle Berry sees her kid get hauled into a car, takes chase. I have a weakness for movies that only do one thing, and this movie – relentlessly, trashily – does one thing. It’s no Duel, but it does understand the appeal of forward motion. (full review 8/4)

Lady Blonde (This Week’s Movies)

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Charlize Theron: Atomic Blonde (courtesy Jonathan Prime/Focus Features)

Links to my reviews published this week in the Herald and Seattle Weekly, and etc.

Atomic Blonde. “The idea of staging most of the action to a jukebox of ’80s hits might be slightly more effective if the film featured just one song that hasn’t already been used to death in movies.”

Lady Macbeth. “If it sounds a little like a film noir transplanted to an English country house — Double Indemnity with whalebone corsets — that’s not far off.”

Landline. “I laughed during Landline, and I still think Jenny Slate is a deft, new kind of comic actress. But the journey from the spikiness of Obvious Child to the softness of Landline is a disappointing arc.”

The latest session of Framing Pictures is online and watchable. The panel features Richard T. Jameson, Kathleen Murphy, Bruce Reid, and me; the topics include Ana Lily Amirpour’s The Bad Batch, Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled, and Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver. We also spare some breath for Alfred Hitchcock and the nature of watching/talking about movies. Check it here.

Movie Diary 7/26/2017

Detroit (Kathryn Bigelow, 2017). Some people know how to direct movies; Kathryn Bigelow is one of those people. The title is too broad, actually, as the movie is about a specific incident during the violence in Detroit in July 1967, not really a big-canvas look at that moment (although the first 20 minutes or so appear to be setting up that kind of wide-ranging survey). Anyway, rest assured that your nerves will probably return to normal 10 or 12 hours after you see the picture. (full review 8/4)