With a dearth of dialogue, and only the monotonous grind of survival in a harsh desert expanse, "Arctic" moves at a glacial pace, slowly gathering momentum in what turns out to be a gripping thriller. Man versus nature, where nature is an unrelenting bully.
In what could have been a typical Hollywoody film scenario, "Arctic" achieves that rarified of cinematic accomplishments: a riveting, uncompromising tale of action and reaction, with meticulous, tedious pacing that feels chillingly real. As blunt as everything seems, there is an underlying, unspoken inner conflict of a man perfectly capable of standing alone, suddenly nudged off his perch to venture into life changing, and possibly ending, decisions.
A polarizing film for sure, but those patient enough will be warmly rewarded. By offering up a weekly synonym for love on her social network, Alice opens a can of complicated worms. Candid interviews reveal the wide scope of the love definition, and how it drives everyone on a daily basis. Quite timely this, as set in stone relationship standards have been obliterated in recent times. Pretty much everything is on and off the table. And men, who not so long ago were awkwardly, if not staunchly mum on the subject, are suddenly in on the discussion. This is all about relationships, how they develop, how they succeed, how they fail, how they flounder, how they grow, and how everyone involved, when prodded, sees their own unique dance.
In the end, nothing is really answered, but that was a given, other than that love is a personal, often ethereal thing, and deserves ongoing dissection. Good luck. A hard life's worth of eye baggage, desert cracked lips, permanent bed hair, and a staggering hangover gait, detective barely Erin Bell, formerly an undercover cop, is still smothered under those heavy, heavy covers. She's a mess. A cold, lifeless mess. And she owns the screen.
A recent murder presses the rewind button on a series of unfortunate events, in which we get to see a young, ravishing Kidman, some horrific decisions, and eventually, after some puzzling but engrossing flashbacks, a final resolution. And though the clever story does eventually come together, it is a tad disappointing. This film is more about Kidman's powerfully understated and totally haunting performance.
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Her broken body barely able to carry any weight, fueled by what's left of her mind: a hazy cloud of regret, struggling to find some sort of redemption. Some sort of closure. A dude seduces his date with a naked martial arts demonstration. A guy gets shot out of a canon, cartoon style. Fear not, "Roma" is not a surrealist comedy about silly male behaviour. It's better. After "Gravity" defying Hollywood, Alfonso Cuaron delivers an astonishingly moving ode to his youth, carefully stalking a family with a widescreen, smoky black and white lens.
Endurance testing long, lava fluid, trance inducing, intoxicatingly delicious, cardiac arresting, "Roma" is the year's best movie. And it's not even close. The anti-Hollywood action flick we all so desperately needed, Cuaron's masterpiece plays as a distant, voyeuristic, peek at complicated family strife in astonishingly realized Mexico.
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It's all moving photographs, long, panning, beautiful takes of life's ugliness, revolving around the generous glow of beloved maid Cleo. Yalitza Aparicio is an understated wonder in the lead, evoking a spectrum of summer sun warmth to horrific tragedy, with a minimum of dialogue. Simply fabulous. And fabulously simple.
At well over the dreaded two hour mark, "Roma" will test some impatient movie fuss-budgets, but once the spell takes hold, this movie won't let go. Cuaron tackles some hefty subjects - class, sex, political and relationship struggle - in a deftly subtle, background delivery.
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Watch locally, think globally. If there's no big ass theatre around, project this stunning Netflix beauty on a wall for the full experience. But it never develops. Which is quite the surprise. And that is good. Witches and warlocks and haunted houses: the fantasy film marks are checked. A pre-teen orphaned misfit thrust into a magical kingdom battle of good versus evil in post war America, is on the menu here. And though it does slip into sappy territory, the movie with the long name works in that old fashioned Disney way. The characters are over the top colourful. The sets are meticulously complex.
The plot bounces along at a steady pace. And most importantly, Jack Black and Cate Blanchett are superbly snippy as adults in charge of our young hero. In spite of some silly CGI moments, like attacking jack-o'-lanterns, "The House With a Clock in It's Walls" works because of the strutting leads, obviously enjoying the freedom to have some fun on set.
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Not great, but not bad. He's a warm, wonderful oddball who just might crash your next event, however small, or insignificant, and instead of dominating the room from a celebrity perch, he just blends in. These life bombs of wedding pictures, kickball games and karaoke bars, are now the stuff of urban legend.
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Though with digital proof, they are just legend. Why a Hollywood hotshot would chose to mingle with his audience, sometimes for hours, is the question documentarian Tommy Avallone tries to answer in this rather fine film. We see the famous grainy footage: Bill tending bar, Bill washing dishes at a party, Bill treating a stranger to World Series tickets, and we meet the giddy recipients of these pop-up moments. As theories are bandied about, it becomes clear that there is something transcendently magical about these experiences, for everyone involved.
Less about giving, and more about sharing, Murray's connections are real, unscripted, joyous. Tommy spends the whole of the movie tracking down the elusive movie star, culminating in an encounter which plays true to the spirit that Murray has cultivated. Quite a lot of fun.
Reilly's giddy reaction to a flushing toilet, or his clumsy introduction to teeth brushing, are but a few of the little gems sprinkled throughout this Gold Rush western. Not technically a comedy, "The Sisters Brothers" has just enough tiny smile inducers mixed in with a languid pace and stark violence to rank among the best westerns of recent yore. With Joaquin Phoenix, Riz Ahmed both very good and Jake Gyllenhall excellent as a proper dandy with flowery language , we have an odd buddy-buddy vs.
Jacques Audiard directs directly from the Coen Brothers school of clever period pieces, starting the show with an after dark, distant gun battle, that's as mysterious as it is beautiful. The line between good and bad guys is in flux, but Audiard knows how to elicit sympathy towards the Brothers, even as the ruthless hit men set about their messy business. In a world where most pop stars' dabbling in politics is of a perfunctory, often naive nature, there exists a few explosive artists who really are game changers. Unfortunately, many are often disregarded as self-serving alarmists.
As a Sri-Lankan refugee, the transplanted Brit M. A has been tireless in fighting for the Tamil people seeking independence back in her homeland. With a father who co-founded the revolutionary Tamil Tiger movement, her's is more than just a privileged outsider connection.
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Mixing pop and politics is also what this jumpy documentary is all about. Before music became her weapon both intellectually and on the dance floor , video was M. The results are a mixed bag, but effectively show the growth of a spirited, young radical into world famous persona, with many of her victories, and missteps along the way. It's an engrossing doc, and must viewing for anyone wanting a well rounded look into what M. At the very least, it'll increase the Google activity on a much overlooked part of the world.
And who better to flashback to the mid-sixties than Michael Caine? Don't answer that, just see the movie. With a bevy of jovial off screen interviews, Caine reminisces revolution with old pals McCartney, Daltrey, Twiggy and Marianne.