Never in all my years as a film critic have I been so confident that the general public will despise a film as much as I predict they will despise "The Green Knight."
It's an incoherent mood piece, a jumble of themes and ideas that never coagulates into anything of substance...its repetitive score and desaturated motif is dripping with style but nothing else. In other words, it's the perfect vessel for film critics to laud as "high art," despite a guarantee that 99% of them who fancy themselves able to derive meaning from such sludge will also have no idea in hell as to what they just watched. It is...different...that's for sure, so it's applauded for its non-conformity.
Well I somewhat courageously declare that "The Green Knight" is cinema without soul. The best that it has to offer, I guess, is that it does at least answer that age old question: What does the fox say?
M. Night Shyamalan has built a career on horror-mystery movies that don't always work, and that all seem to be chasing the lightning-in-a-bottle he found with his 1999 mega-hit, "The Sixth Sense." After a long string of clunkers, his 2016 "Split" got his fans excited that he was finally "back," but the follow-up, 2019's "Glass" all but shattered those high expectations.
With "Old," he effectively makes a feature-length Twilight Zone episode that isn't among his worst films (this is no "The Happening" or "After Earth"), but it is far from his best. And if "The Sixth Sense" or "Unbreakable" is too high a bar to set, even on its own, "Old" doesn't exactly revel in anything that feels new.
The soapy, melodramatic romance, "The Last Letter from Your Lover" has it all when it comes to what one might expect from such a film: Forlorn lovers, forbidden affairs, characters with amnesia, car wrecks, handwritten letters complete with voice-over, lavish costume designs and sets, chance encounters, and a love that spans decades.
It's a bit predictable and unapologetically cheesy at times, but it's also reminiscent of a different era of film...they just don't make movies like this one anymore, so it feels oddly invigorating to see that this sort of classic romance is still alive and well, at least on the big-screen.
It's been quite a while since Nicolas Cage has been given something so grounded in reality. The Academy Award-winning actor has most recently become notorious for starring in a string of bizarre cult films...sure, he has occasionally come back to the mainstream to voice Grug the dad in "The Croods" and Superman in "Teen Titans Go! To the Movies," but mostly he has stockpiled his filmography with B-movies ("Mandy" and "Joe" perhaps stand out, while the direct-to-VOD releases "Rage," "Dying in the Light," "Arsenal," "The Humanity Bureau," "Kill Chain," "Primal" and "Jiu Jitsu" do not).
In "Pig," the premise is on par with his recent stretch of totally-bananas movies: Cage plays a lonely truffle-hunter whose pet pig is stolen, and so he goes on a mission to find it. But there is a surprising tone to "Pig," and it gives Cage his best platform in years to remind us that there is an Oscar-winning actor still in there, somewhere.
Shot entirely in Detroit, "No Sudden Move" is a fun, throwback crime caper. And it's not a gimmick or arbitrary that the movie takes place in the Motor City...in fact, this is one story that really couldn't have taken place anywhere else.
Some stories are so bizarre, they can't possibly be untrue.
"Zola" is one such tale.
Meyer Lansky is one of the most enthralling mobsters in American history, and yet, he seems to always be represented as a supporting player. Finally, Lansky is given his due.
There is a lot to like about "Lansky," and if you're a fan of Mafia movies or crime dramas, you won't be disappointed that you checked this out. But you can't help but feel that there was a better version of his story to be told on-screen.
A play like "Hamilton" is a one-in-a-million sort of production. From the original cast to the costumes and choreography, to the unprecedented word-play and unforgettable lyrics from the mind of Lin-Manuel Miranda, to its cultural significance, "Hamilton" was lightning in a bottle...the stage play of our time and one of the few creations in the history of the stage or cinema that cannot be over-hyped regardless of how much praise is heaped upon it. It really is that good.
But before "Hamilton," there was "In the Heights," the debut production from Miranda that he originally wrote his sophomore year in college back in 1999. The play finally reached Broadway, from 2008 to 2011, scoring 13 Tony nominations (winning four, including Best Original Score for Miranda, the youngest recipient ever to win the category).
Now after a full year of postponements due to COVID-19, the big-screen adaptation of "In the Heights" reaches theaters (it is also available to stream on HBO Max). If you're familiar with "Hamilton," you know that "In the Heights" is a lesser overall production...how could it not be? But on its own it's a rich celebration of the immigrant experience in America, and one of the most joyous, unapologetic and optimistic films in quite some time.
"In the Heights" is no "Hamilton," but that is just fine.
There's no keeping this one quiet: "A Quiet Place Part II" is everything you would hope it would be.
I'm not exactly sure why, but the "horse movie" genre continues to thrive. It seems each and every year, we're given at least two (2021 will be no different, with the animated "Spirit Untamed" coming to Netflix this Summer as well).
The latest entry out of the gate is "Dream Horse," and here is the copy/paste description fitting of all horse movies: An unlikely horse, groomed by an unlikely person who is almost entirely out of their element, becomes a sensation after a lot of hard work, dedication and training montages...the evil businessmen of the "establishment" get in the way, but never so much as to knock the film from its PG-rating.
So if horse films are your bale of hay, then you'll probably love the familiar rhythms of "Dream Horse." For everyone else, you'll most likely want to avoid this for the manipulative, steaming pile of horse manure that it is.
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