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Alicia Vikander cast as Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
Only supporting actress winners are allowed to play this role!

"What on earth can Alicia bring to this role, and why bother? Good luck." - Tom F

"How long must we wait for Dianne Wiest as Lara Croft!?" - Mike

 

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Entries in Reviews (368)

Sunday
Apr242016

Review: A Hologram for the King

Eric here, with a review of the new Tom Tykwer film in theaters, A Hologram for the King, an adaptation of the best seller by Dave Eggers. It's the tale of a desperate American businessman near the end of his professional rope, who travels to Saudi Arabia to sell a holographic teleconference system to the king. 

While Tom Hanks isn’t at the peak of his popularity these days, he remains one of the biggest movie stars alive.  So it may feel surprising that this film is being released with very little publicity, dumped rather unceremoniously in “arthouse” cinemas...

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Saturday
Apr232016

The Huntsman: Winter's War

This review was originally published in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad...

The Huntsman: Winter’s War, now playing, promises a “new” fairy tale. That’s true only if you’re willing to stretch the definition of the word. This “new” and awkwardly titled picture is both prequel and sequel to Snow White with some Frozen fan fiction in the middle. It begins long before the events of the revisionist Snow White & The Huntsman (2012) and eventually skips ahead to pick up where the last movie left off. In case you’ve forgotten your blockbuster history — spoiler alert! — Snow White and her Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) triumphed at the end by killing the true twin stars of the picture: Queen Ravenna and Her Oscar Nominated Costumes (a.k.a. former Oscar winners Charlize Theron & Colleen Atwood).

Dead though Ravenna was, when there is money to be made in franchise resurrection, nobody stays buried. In the new film we learn that the royal witch came to power alongside her kind loving sister Freya (Emily Blunt). After an unspeakable tragedy, though, Freya also became evil. Ravenna had that Magic Mirror to inspire her wickedness but Freya opts for a worn Blu-ray of Frozen as unholy talisman...

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Wednesday
Apr202016

Review: Confirmation

Kieran, here. Politics, even at their most abstract are ultimately personal. At its best moments, HBO's Confirmation directed by Rick Famuyiwa’s (Dope) and written by Susannah Grant (Erin Brockovich) understands this. Anita Hill’s (Kerry Washington) 1991 allegations of sexual harassment against Justice Clarence Thomas (Wendell Pierce) on the eve of his confirmation to the US Supreme court is a subject about which few who can remember are indifferent. Who was lying and about what? What did the Anita Hill’s testimony say about the positions of gender, race and political alignment in this country? These are the kinds of questions that evoke vociferous, often angry opinions and the film doesn’t offer up easy answers.

The truth of whether Clarence Thomas sexually harassed Anita Hill is secondary. Thomas, as rendered by Pierce in what is actually a small role with few spoken lines, is a beleaguered public figure, forced to defend himself and deal with the consequences these allegations had on his personal and professional life. I say this not to imply that Thomas is innocent (I’ve always thought he was guilty). But, as is often the disgusting and sad truth about men who commit these crimes, they’re not always technically lying when they maintain their innocence under oath. In order for it to truly be a lie, these men would have to believe that they did anything wrong in the first place. Whatever mental gymnastics Clarence Thomas had to go through in order to get to this place, his own words and Pierce’s subtle but precise performance clearly illustrate that Thomas does not believe he was guilty of any wrongdoing. When the film is examining the implications of a culture that allows men to make these leaps and how it turns victims into villains, it shines and Pierce is a key component of what makes this element works. He opts not to turn Thomas into a monster for it’s not the “monsters” who violate women and irrevocably damage lives. They are simply people, a much truer and scarier fact to fathom.

more...

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Sunday
Apr172016

Review: Sing Street

Like Begin Again, his last love song to the restorative powers of music and collaboration, John Carney can play your heartstrings like an orchestra. And like that film’s original title – Can A Song Save Your Life? – Sing Street addresses songwriting as soul food, with a face full of neon eyeliner and a deliciously poignant streak of youth in revolt. And as a young kid trying to forge a path in 1980s Dublin, there’s plenty to rebel against – institutional alcoholism and abuse, isolation from the mainland and mainstream, and the collapse of your elders’ hopes playing out in an endless depressive cycle. The future looks as bleak as the dark and stormy skies portending above the Irish shore, but it just so happens that these are the conditions where inspiration can strike like a lightning bolt. If you don’t like the only song playing on the radio, you’d better chuck it in the bin and dream up a new one.

As the story so often goes, Conor (newcomer Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, the love child of Bud Cort and Harry Styles) starts a band with a ragtag uniform of Catholic schoolboys to impress a girl. He may not know it at first, but that’s not the only reason. More after the jump...

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Friday
Apr152016

Review: The Measure of a Man

Like Bicycle Thieves’ Antonio Ricci (Lamberto Maggiorani) almost seventy years before him, Thierry Taugourdeau (Lindon) the protagonist of The Measure of a Man, is simply trying to earn an honest living to support his family. He has been unemployed for well over a year and must make ends meet with a small unemployment check. He spends most of his days trying to find a job, and at night he puts on his best face to appease the fears of his wife (Karine de Mirbeck) and his teenage son (Matthieu Schaller) who has a disability that will require special education in the near future. While Thierry’s overall situation is absolutely lamentable, there is no “time bomb” outlook in the meditative film, rather than push this everyman into “Michael Douglas in any 90s thriller” mode, director Stephane Brize invites us to observe and perhaps develop empathy.

Thierry is both unique and one of many like him who lose their jobs on a daily basis. After being laid off from a factory, along with hundreds of others who we never see, we understand that Brize’s film is touching on a larger sociological phenomenon, without losing the insight that comes from a particular case. This balancing act between the specific and the universal is handled by Brize with elegant tenderness and passionate impotence; how have we allowed our society to become this?

Halfway through the film, and this is not a spoiler, Thierry finds a job as an inspector at a large supermarket where he must confront people who shoplift. Considering this isn’t Chanel or Dior, the items being purloined range from meat to “loyalty points” a cashier adds to her own personal card. We understand Thierry knows the poverty that forces these people to commit such acts, but then the film poses another question: is Thierry’s loyalty to his economic needs or his humanity.

Towering over almost every other actor in the film, Lindon gives a performance of such subtle power that you often ask yourself if he’s even “acting”. Seeing the pain in Thierry’s eyes, as Brize’s immovable camera pierces into the souls of people who must explain they can’t afford to pay for that piece of food they put in their pockets, is at times even harder to look at than the goriest Hollywood trick. Brize knows that the film won’t be able to solve the problems it exposes, and those looking for “entertainment” will certainly not be pleased with this feature, but as a window into the social realism perpetuated by the Dardennes, Bresson, De Sica and Rossellini, The Measure of a Man poses one pithy question: will we look out, or will we close the blinds when the view gets too hard to handle.

The Measure of a Man is now in theaters.

 

Friday
Apr152016

Review: The Invitation

A dinner party reunion of estranged friends sets the stage for director Karyn Kusama's unnerving and twisted micro-horror The Invitation. The film's marketing has wisely eschewed going much further than that vague synopsis, for this one is most rewarding when experienced fresh. But don't just expect surprises with what unfolds, but from what's underneath the plentiful chills.

Shot almost entirely within one swanky Los Angeles home, the modest production is deceptive for how easily it gets under your skin and rattles. Its slim budget is hidden by a glossy presentation and a production design that finds the right alchemy of alluring and demonic (paging Daniel Walber!). Kusama treats this house as she does the many characters, all hidden corners of darkness packaged within a polished facade. If you watch The Invitation on VOD, prepare to have home jealousy, for this is pure house porn. And you'll definitely want a glass of wine.

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Sunday
Apr102016

Everybody Wants Some!! Turns The Baseball Jersey Inside Out

Eric previously argued against Everybody Wants Some!! right here. Here's Daniel Crooke with a second opinion....

Nobody lives in the moment like Richard Linklater. Which is remarkable, considering his canny cinematic ability to lounge with a certain slice of society, simultaneously celebrate and circumvent the trappings of self-importance, and extrapolate no less than what one might call the meaning of life. This is not to say that Linklater offers any absolute definitions – or that he’s a sage Second Coming who has all of them – but that he stands alone when it comes to unassumingly examining issues of identity, socialization, and finding the place where one fits in the world. His latest film Everybody Wants Some!! is no exception; in fact, by isolating one group of folks oft regarded as empty-headed and disposable – that of the jock, the bro, whatever you call them when their glistening pecs aren’t in your way – Linklater challenges the viewer to costume change their own preconceptions along with his ensemble as they amble their way through myriad modes of social circles and shooting the shit.

Now, on its face, one can certainly see why these bong-hit beats would preclude certain audience members from even engaging with the characters onscreen, to miss the forest for the trees. Linklater’s films often work as living, breathing Rorschach tests where you only see what you want to see but the marrow of Everybody Wants Some!! is found in the Magic Eye of it all. Blur the edges of the frame. Blend the bro code, social structures, and pronounced personal differences from the brain’s left side and the spontaneous soul-searching, open-ended quests across campus, and embracing of social overlaps from the right and, in the middle, you’ll find what the film’s really about. More after the jump...

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