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This tag is associated with 65 posts

Movie review: “Murder on the Orient Express”

A hearty serving of “meh”, actor-director Kenneth Branagh’s workmanlike adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express is diverting, crammed full of strong but unremarkable performances from an impressive ensemble cast, and mercifully short. It’s a fun ride, but there’s not enough steam in this engine for it to develop into anything memorable. However, the … Continue reading

Movie review: “The Killing of a Sacred Deer”

Classical tragedy mixed with moderate sadism and Polanski-ish surrealism, upstart filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos’ latest test of audience endurance plays like Sophie’s Choice by way of the ‘burbs. Don’t let that description be deceptive — it may not be everyone’s proverbial cup of tea. Lanthimos (Dogtooth, The Lobster) builds his bizarre revenge tale around a heart surgeon, … Continue reading

Movie review: “The Snowman”

Rife with potential, the film adaptation of Jo Nesbø’s bestselling crime novel makes for frustrating viewing, even more so now that director Tomas Alfredson (Let the Right One In, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) recently revealed that 10-15 percent of the script was never filmed. Sadly, there’s probably a good movie buried in it somewhere; ironically, cutting more … Continue reading

Movie review: “Detroit”

Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal’s latest collaboration (following The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty) is provocative, infuriating, emotionally exhausting, and entirely timely. Like those previous two films, it utilizes a gritty, no-punches-pulled docu-drama style to explore a brutal war zone — one within America’s own borders. The movie begins with the raid of an illegal … Continue reading

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

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