Photo: TriStar Pictures
Cleverness, the saying goes, will only get you so far.
Money Monster is a clever movie, and gets fair distance from that — and then some, thanks to a stronger cast than it deserves — but the premise is only strong enough to support about two-thirds of a narrative. For the first hour of Money Monster, it works just well enough. And then it doesn’t quite. Continue reading
Photo: Universal Pictures
The Coen Brothers are an odd breed. They’re brilliant filmmakers, as their combined 28 Oscar nominations stand as testament to. But like Quentin Tarantino and the Wachowskis, they can be their own worst enemies sometimes.
So long as they treat the script and characters as the most important pieces of the picture, they invariably spin gold. (See: Blood Simple, Fargo, The Big Lebowski.) Whenever their visual eye and compulsion for cinematic homage take precedence, though, their movies end up misfires at best and forgettable at worst. (See: The Hudsucker Proxy, The Man Who Wasn’t There, The Ladykillers.)
Hail, Caesar!, the brothers’ first mainstream movie since 2010’s True Grit and their first “goofy” comedy since 2008’s Burn After Reading, has all the pieces to have been one of their greats. Unfortunately, they’re lost in a sea of half-sketched scenarios and overlong set pieces. Continue reading
Photo: Walt Disney Pictures
Is it greedy to want more than you get when you admittedly get more than you should?
Tomorrowland is directed by Brad Bird, one of the few directors working today who (with one exception) has made nothing but masterpieces, such as The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, and Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol. Like a more optimistic James Cameron, Bird’s background in animation and skill for plotting out complex action sequences has shaped him into a director capable of nearly anything.
Teaming up with Damon Lindelof (the divisive co-showrunner who helped Lost escape its desert-island roots to become a millennium-spanning, time-hopping parable of good and evil), Bird wrote Tomorrowland out of the imaginations and inspirations of the utopian, futuristic region of Disney’s theme parks. As an adaptation of such, it’s not perfect, but it’s certainly more Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl than The Haunted Mansion.
Photo: Columbia Pictures
As a director, George Clooney tends to alternate between making alright movies and making excellent movies. Confessions of a Dangerous Mind was okay, but Good Night, and Good Luck was fantastic. Leatherheads was fine, but The Ides of March was terrific. Unfortunately, the pendulum’s swung back toward just good with his fifth movie, The Monuments Men.
Photo: Warner Bros.
Sometimes, a movie is released that just begs to be witnessed on the big screen. A movie that, if someone waits to watch it on their television, will lose something only evident when sprawled across a large canvas. A movie that you brag to others years later about having gotten to see when it was in theatres. Gravity is one of those movies.