Entries in Reviews (453)
This review was originally published in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad
You've seen the moment many times. Two future lovers see each other in a crowd, and something clicks. In West Side Story that moment prompts a blur on the edges of the frame, with only the lovers in focus. In La La Land, it takes the form of a camera push-in with all the lights, but for a spotlight, going out. The moment is so familiar in fantasies (and desired in reality) that there's even an old showtune about it.
Some enchanted evening, you will meet a stranger
You will meet a stranger across a crowded room.
And somehow you know, you know even then...
The last place you might expect to see it deployed is in a new French film which begins with 18 minutes of explicit activity in a sex club...
by David Upton
Tom Hardy gets a mythical movie star introduction as Taboo opens, hidden alternately by camera and cloak before he pulls back his hood and the camera creeps reverently below him. The FX and BBC collaboration is a real passion project for the British actor, co-created with Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight and Hardy’s father Edward ‘Chips’ Hardy...
By Sean Donovan
Goat has an important discrepancy between its advertising and the final film we end up watching. The poster, released just before the film’s 2016 Sundance in-competition premiere, specifies a clear focal point and it is male nipples. A man’s tight nipples exposed as other clothed men gather around him pouring liquor down his chest. Any hunch as to what sizable market population Goat is trying to advertise to? If you need more clues, how about the fact that this film was produced by queer cinema legend Christine Vachon, features the star of Pride Ben Schnetzer, and the straight male pop star Nick Jonas (confusingly labeled a gay icon by Out Magazine), and the man who wants to be gay icon so much it hurts, James Franco, in a dual role as producer/supporting actor? No more clues needed: Goat is hunting for THE GAYS.
The opening credits more or less bear out the promise of this advertising, set as they are to a slow-motion montage of bouncing shirtless men. Yet the resulting film is a very dark, gritty experience, lacking even the typical scenes of sexualized rowdy excess that one usually finds in films about fraternity bros...
by Chris Feil
For even the Star Wars agnostic, you have to admit there is a certain appeal to Rogue One. Dubbed with the "A Star Wars Story" moniker, here is the most significant divergence from the main series yet: not only does it step away from the Skywalker family tree, but the pulsing trailers have promised a look and mood mostly its own. The final film is maybe less of a sidestep than we'd been promised but is still at its best when it sets itself aside from the saga.
Detailing the stealth mission to steal the Death Star blueprints before the events of A New Hope, the film has a host of new characters to go with its different vibe...
by Chris Feil
When the aliens discover Earth, long after the ice caps have melted, I hope we leave a time capsule that includes Collateral Beauty to explain ourselves. No seriously: there's something to the film's off-handed cruelty and blasé emotional platitudes that shows how dunderheaded we humans can be. However this is only one of the film's many accidents, coming from its lack of self-awareness rather than its content. Collateral Beauty thinks itself holistic and clever, but its actually deeply, fundamentally stupid.
by Nathaniel R
Presented to assuage Nathaniel's guilt from not having properly reviewed them -- all five are now playing in theaters.
Moana (Clements, Hall, Musker & Williams)
Story: A chieftain's daughter sails the ocean to right an ancient wrong and save her people
Review: The episodic plot is ungainly and repetitive but the rest, from animal sidekick, to magical animation, to the heroine's self awakening and theme song ("How Far I'll Go") sure is dazzling. Disney's most resonant and hypnotic climax in forever and ever. "This is not who you are..."
Oscar Chances: A nomination seems certain but Zootopia will be a tough film to dismount from this year's throne. It's worth noting that composer Lin-Manuel Miranda will complete his EGOT if he wins the Oscar.