It was inevitable that when you direct the highest-grossing film EVER - "Avengers: Endgame" - that your follow-up film would be destined to pale in comparison. But for Anthony and Joe Russo, who have risen to fame and fandom after directing a slew of beloved Marvel movies ("Captain America: Winter Soldier," "Avengers: Age of Ultron," "Avengers: Infinity War" and "Avengers: Endgame" among them), "Cherry" is more than a step-down, it is a baffling fall from grace.
Released just in time to qualify for the 2020 movie awards-cycle, "The Father" should and will be in the mix as one of the best, and truly one of the most powerful, films of the year.
Alfred "Boogie" Chin (Taylor Takahashi) has what it takes to be great. So does the film, "Boogie," except that it never rises above the clichés of the coming-of-age underdog sports genre that it seems to revel in.
The title: "The United States vs. Billie Holiday," implies a movie that will feature some sort of lawsuit against one of the greatest jazz singers of all-time. But this is no court-room drama. Instead, the title categorizes not only how Holiday fought against the norms of the time, but how the FBI tried desperately to silence her voice both literally and figuratively.
It's a stunning, impressive achievement for first-time filmmaker Shatara Michelle Ford, whose debut film "Test Pattern" looms large, despite being such a small film.
It starts with a detached, emotionless voice-over monologue. Combined with the stark, desolate imagery of a 19th-century frontier setting, "The World To Come" drops us out in the cold and despite the heat created between its two leads, is never quite able to warm us up.
Starting with a bad accent and going nowhere fast, "The Mauritanian" feels like it should have been a better movie but never quite achieves its lofty goals.
It's a deep, contemplative experience watching "Land."
Somehow, Robin Wright - in this, her directorial debut - manages to also make "Land" a simple film, in the most complimentary of ways, and it's a movie that leaves a lasting, graceful impression.
Writer/Director Lee Isaac Chung has a lot to say about the American immigrant's experience in his new lovely, poetic film, "Minari."
About midway through the quirky black dramedy, "French Exit," a dead father (Tracy Letts) literally chats with his overlooked adult son (Lucas Hedges) and eccentric wife (Michelle Pfeiffer), via a medium (Danielle Macdonald). They stare at a candle on a table, and as the candle flickers, the dad's voice speaks. Dad may or may not have been reincarnated as a black cat, and the entire ordeal doesn't make even one character bat an eye.
If this scene sounds strange, that's because it is...but it's an oddness isn't entirely earned. And while "French Exit" has moments of sharply written dialogue, and gives Pfeiffer more to chew on than she's had in several decades, the entirety of it feels like a jumbled, tonal mess that never quite materializes into anything worth watching.
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