Song To Song Review

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Actors in Terence Malick films have always had to be prepared to have their roles excised from his final edit. His masterful Thin Red Line completely cut out Mickey Rourke and left George Clooney on screen for all of two minutes, and he’s only got more ruthless with his cast in his modern output. Yet, where Malick’s wandering eye once produced gorgeous and profound mediations on nature and man’s place in it, his post-Tree of Life work has found him stuck in a self-indulgent rut, creating films that are nothing more than disconnected tone poems about the alluring emptiness found in wealth and beauty. With Song to Song, it finally feels like Malick has become everything his critics have always accused him of – slow, uninterested in character, and maybe even pretentious. Continue reading

La La Land Review

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After closing out Whiplash, with that exhausting, monumentally exciting drum solo, it was hard to imagine how Damien Chazelle’s follow up film could possible reclaim that same energy that made Whiplash such a revelation. Incredibly, what he does with La La Land is not just harness that same lightning in a bottle power, but actually come storming out of the gates at the same pitch that Whiplash ended on. A magnificently choreographed number involving dozens of people dancing and singing their way around a gridlocked LA freeway, it’s an unbelievable achievement, and sets out Chazelle’s intent to gift us with a true masterpiece of a musical.  Continue reading

The Nice Guys Review

Nice Guys All Leads

 

After the billion dollar success of Iron Man 3, Shane Black has gone back to the style of film he knows best – buddy movies with a murder or ten in the middle of the plot. Practically inventing the genre as we know it today with his scripts for Lethal Weapon and its first sequel, and making his directorial debut with the wonderful Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, The Nice Guys is an immensely successful return to original movie-making for Black, and the funniest film of 2016 so far. Mixing Kiss Kiss with a bit of LA Confidential and plenty of ‘70s California sleaze, The Nice Guys is ceaselessly entertaining.  Continue reading

The Big Short Early Review

Big Short

 

Adam McKay’s polemic against Bernie Madoff may have felt pretty out of place in the credits sequence of his otherwise sublime The Other Guys, but that rage against the financial sector has paid serious dividends five years on. His latest film, and first major ‘drama’ effort, The Big Short is an infectiously furious, sometimes baffling, sometimes brilliant attack on America’s banks and how their immorality and incompetence shattered the world economy. Like an economics dissertation, The Wolf of Wall Street, and a particularly energetic episode of The Office all mashed together, The Big Short is ludicrously scattershot, but it’s still supremely confident filmmaking about an issue that deserves our wrath.  Continue reading