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This tag is associated with 61 posts

Movie review: “Live by Night”

When Ben Affleck adapted Dennis Lehane’s gritty crime novel Gone Baby  Gone to the big screen in 2007, he established himself as a nascent directing talent and reinvigorated a career that had become a joke. He displayed a vice-like grasp of the material; his grip on Lehane’s pulpy gangster tale Live by Night is depressingly weak. the young … Continue reading

Movie review: “The Nice Guys”

A gritty, cynical, hilarious, and mostly satisfying bit of L.A. noir, Shane Black’s The Nice Guys sees the bad boy writer-director make a slick return to his signature brand of buddy action comedy. It’s best described as a worthy successor to The Big Lebowski, an irreverent take on Chinatown, and Inherent Vice without the art-house pretension. The Nice … Continue reading

Movie review: “Triple 9”

There’s a lot of appeal in the idea of Triple 9:  It’s a gritty crime drama about a couple of good cops caught in the machinations between a bunch of dirty cops and Russian-Israeli mobsters boasting an all-star cast, a no-holds-barred director, and an Oscar-winning composer. Sadly, the final product is a murky, inert movie. The needlessly … Continue reading

Movie review: “Sicario”

Sicario is the moral-grey-zone crime drama for those of us who felt burned by season 2 of True Detective. There are few heroes and even fewer clearly defined villains in this taught, gruesome, and disquieting narco-thriller written by Taylor Sheridan and directed by Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners). Unlike other films that posit the need to go to extremes to win … Continue reading

Movie review: “Black Mass”

James “Whitey” Bulger was a real-life bogeyman in Boston during the 1970s and ’80s. A vicious, possible psychotic, and seemingly untouchable criminal kingpin, his name commanded varying degrees of fear and grudging respect among cops and crooks alike. It is ostensibly an ensemble flick, though so much has been made of Johnny Depp’s performance and appearance … Continue reading

Movie review: “True Story”

Rupert Goold’s adaptation of Mike Finkel’s true crime novel/memoir, True Story is tepid that serves as a sobering reminder that while truth can be stranger than fiction, that’s not enough to make it interesting. At its core it is a genuinely bromance, but that conceit is soft-pedaled and ignored in favor of anemic characterization. Jonah Hill … Continue reading

Movie review: “Run All Night”

Maybe it’s best that Liam Neeson has declared his impending retirement from action movies. Some of them have been damn fine B-grade cinema — namely the cult classic Taken and oft overlooked The Grey — but the lion’s share are dull, repetitious, and formulaic. Case in point: Run All Night. It has a good gimmick and noir … Continue reading

Movie review: ‘Inherent Vice’

Inherent Vice is the first movie based on a novel by Thomas Pynchon. Whether or not there will be another any time soon is anyone’s guess. Paul Thomas Anderson’s adaptation (approved by Pynchon himself) is a rambling and largely incoherent tale. It’s supposed to be; its source was a rambling, convoluted soft-boiled detective tale, and Anderson’s … Continue reading

Movie review: ‘Nightcrawler’

A messy but intriguing and enjoyably warped slice of modern film noir as only Los Angeles can flavor it, Dan Gilroy’s Nightcrawler isn’t quite the searing indictment of the “if it bleeds, it leads” TV news ethos, but it is one hell of a character study of a video journalist as high-functioning sociopath. That’s largely … Continue reading

Movie review: “Gone Girl”

Love is a many-splintered thing in Gone Girl, a gleefully snarky satire disguised as a thriller directed by David Fincher and adapted by Gillian Flynn from her own best-selling novel. It’s likely to do for prenuptial agreements what The Bucket List did for, well, bucket lists. This is one of those instances  of a review having … Continue reading

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