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drama

This tag is associated with 214 posts

Movie review: “Annihilation”

Beautifully executed though thematically murky, Alex Garland’s (Ex Machina) adaptation of Jeff VanderMeer’s best-seller novel is an exercise in psychedelia and cinematic dissonance. Though not as existentially unnerving as Ex Machina, it’s one of the most ambitious head movies ever made, laced with trace elements of Carpenter’s The Thing and Tartovsky’s Stalker, with a little … Continue reading

Movie review: “The Shape of Water”

It’s a classic romantic premise: star-crossed lovers from different worlds meet cute, fall in love, and struggle to be together in a world intent on keeping them apart. Granted, the star-crossed lovers in Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water are a mute cleaning woman and a fish-man, but whatever — it still works. Leave it … Continue reading

Movie review: “Darkest Hour”

Darkest Hour is one of those rare biopics that, for the most part, breaks free of formula to deliver an intriguing portrait of a complex and controversial figure. Similar to Phyllida Lloyd’s The Iron Lady, it pins its hopes on its central performance (by Gary Oldman at his chameleonic best). Whereas that film tried to … Continue reading

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: “mother!”

When self-styled auteur Darren Aranofsky can astound us when he is focused and operating with at least a little self-restraint. (Case in point: The simple brilliance of The Wrestler.) When allowed to run amok, you get the intense weirdness of Requiem for a Dream and Black Swan. And then there’s mother!. Note the stylized spelling … 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: “A Ghost Story”

A man dies tragically and returns as a ghost draped in a white sheet with eye holes cut in it, and silently haunts his former spouse and the home they once shared. On the surface, it’s a goofy premise that most filmmakers would play for laughs, schlock, and/or sugary schmaltz of the highest order. However, … Continue reading

Movie review: “Dunkirk”

After 20 years of film-making defined by gritty Batman movies, twisty crime thrillers, and trippy science fiction, Christopher Nolan again re-invents himself with what is on the surface is a gripping war movie, but in actuality an exercise in heightened realism and a memorial to an event that ultimately shaped the world. For the uninitiated, … Continue reading

Movie review: “It Comes at Night”

Writer-director Trey Edward Shults’ (Krisha) sophomore feature won’t do much to re-affirm anyones faith in humanity under pressure, but it will put the screws to the viewer for a lean, nerve-wracking 90 minutes. Don’t be fooled by the trailer — it’s less of a horror movie and more of a slow-burn psychological thriller, a brilliant … Continue reading

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