‘Maniac’ Review: New James Bond Director’s Series Starring Emma Stone And Jonah Hill Lifts The Mind & The Heart
There are more than a few moments in Netflix’s 10-episode Cary Joji Fukunaga-directed Maniac that are so aesthetically precise you might forget to breathe for a beat or two. Launching tomorrow on the streaming service, the multi-genre limited series starring Emma Stone and Jonah Hill — and from Fukunaga, also the just announced Bond 25 helmer, and The Leftovers producer Patrick Somerville — may seem to be aiming to blow your mind, but as I say in my video review above it… Read
‘Colette’ Review: Keira Knightley Shines In Gorgeous Biopic Of France’s Literary Icon
Every bit as sophisticated and visually stunning to look at as Gigi, the 1958 Best Picture Oscar winner that was inspired by one of Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette’s most famous works, this sumptuous biopic of France’s most famous female writer is a delicious treat for adult audiences looking for something worth their while.
It may be a very French story, but it has an all-English cast led by the luminous Keira Knightley. She plays the title star of Wash Westmoreland’s telling… Read
‘Life Itself’ Review: Superb Ensemble Soars In Moving Multigenerational Story From ‘This Is Us’ Creator
Dan Fogelman, creator and executive producer of NBC’s megahit This Is Us, takes that multigenerational story approach in a different and often darker direction in Life Itself, a new feature film he wrote and directed. Fans of the series will recognize some of the style points, but as I say in my video review (click the link above to watch), this is a deeper, even richer human experience that takes great storytelling risks but pays them off in completely satisfying and… Read
‘Fahrenheit 11/9’ Review: Michael Moore’s Latest Is Politically Explosive In Ways You Might Not Expect
In 2004 Michael Moore’s documentary aimed straight at the George W. Bush administration and the war in Iraq, Fahrenheit 9/11, won him the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and became the highest-grossing documentary of all time. He has made several movies in the meantime, most notably Sicko, but now is back with perhaps his most powerful film since that classic.
In so doing he has simply reversed the numbers to Fahrenheit 11/9, referring to the morning after Donald… Read
‘A Simple Favor’ Review: Anna Kendrick & Blake Lively Make This Comedic ‘Gone Girl’ Worth Watching
Paul Feig certainly knows his way around comedies centered on some of the best actresses around. Bridesmaids, The Heat, Spy and the all-female Ghostbusters remake are a sampling of his sensibilities in this area of the movie world. He is back at it, following a little of the Hitchcock path, in the comedy mystery A Simple Favor, which sees plum roles for Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively in a tale of two very different suburban mothers drawn into each other’s world, and for… Read
‘Forever’ Review: Secretive Maya Rudolph & Fred Armisen Series Requires Patience
Amazon and Forever co-creators Alan Yang and Matt Hubbard have placed so many restrictions on what can be revealed about their September 14-launching dramedy that it is a straitjacket squeeze to say why you should or shouldn't watch it. So, in a clear exercise in anti-marketing marketing, as I say in my video review above, let me tell you this: Watch Forever for Maya Rudolph and for the sixth episode, which truly goes to a special place in both television and maybe your… Read
‘The Predator’ Review: Latest Reboot Is Old-Fashioned Monster-Movie Fun
Can we ever get enough of Predator? Apparently not, since there have been numerous sequels, reboots, re-imaginings and spinoffs (Alien vs. Predator, anyone?) since the original 1987 Arnold Schwarzenegger movie that started it all.
Now, 31 years later, director Shane Black — who co-wrote the script with Fred Dekker — is taking a crack at bringing it all back to glory in The Predator. As I say in my video review above, Black might be getting a bit of revenge with this one… Read
‘White Boy Rick’ Review: Matthew McConaughey Stars In Compelling True Story Of Family Sucked Into ’80s Detroit Drug World
Yann Demange’s English-language debut film, White Boy Rick, is compelling stuff indeed. Coming off the Telluride and Toronto film festival debut circuit, this true story of a 14-year-old Detroit kid, Rick Wershe Jr., recruited in 1984 to be part of an undercover police operation to ferret out lowlife drug-dealing rings in a largely African American neighborhood, gets the ambiance and the feel of those times just right. As I say in my video review above, this is a rather… Read
‘The First’ Review: Sean Penn’s TV Series Debut Is Stuck On Launchpad
From Sean Penn's TV series debut and onwards, there are a fair number of firsts in The First, but the September 14-launching Hulu series about a mission to Mars is not a leading drama. Created by ex-House of Cards showrunner Beau Willimon, this lackluster eight-episode misfire often comes across more like the inverse of the once Kevin Spacey-led Netflix political drama, as I say in my video review above.
Although co-starring Designated Survivor's former FLOTUS Natasha… Read
‘A Star Is Born’ Review: Bradley Cooper And Lady Gaga Take On A Classic Hollywood Love Story And Make It All Their Own – Toronto Film Festival Premiere
There probably isn’t a more durable franchise in Hollywood history than A Star Is Born. Even Star Wars, James Bond and their ilk can’t compete in terms of longevity with this star-crossed love story that has been a staple of movies since 1937 when Janet Gaynor and Fredric March starred in the first version. Then in 1954 it was Judy Garland and James Mason, and in 1976 it was Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson.
Between them A Star Is Born has racked up 18 Oscar… Read
‘Ben Is Back’ Review: Julia Roberts And Lucas Hedges Shine In Powerful Tale Of A Family In Crisis – Toronto Film Festival World Premiere
Every now and then several movies come along the same basic premise, and that is the case with a slew of films premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival, all in the past 24 hours, that deal with efforts of parents to change the course of their son’s life, and all of them happen to start with a ‘B’. We have had Boy Erased in which parents played by Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman put their kid, played by Lucas Hedges, in a gay conversion therapy camp. Last… Read