Perhaps the biggest saving grace about “Murder Mystery,” the latest movie partnership between Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions and Netflix, is that no one will have to pay money to sit in a movie theater to endure 100-plus minutes of subpar cinema. It isn’t just that the production design is simplified to a level that almost none of the crime comedy’s supposedly luxurious foreign … Read More Murder Mystery: An unnecessary whodunit?
Documentaries change in the minds of viewers when they know the outcome before it happens on screen. Usually it’s the ends justifying the means, the result giving audiences a reason to watch a journey. Director Rachel Lears didn’t know that the 18 months spent chronicling the lives of four women running as outsider candidates in Democratic primary elections would turn into a Sundance and … Read More Knock Down The House: Celebrating the outsiders
Movies aren’t allowed to take their time on the big screen anymore. Describing a film as slow and intimate has become a cinematic death knell as meticulous drama has ventured off the silver screen for greener pastures on television miniseries or streaming services. A tale about famed criminals Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, for example, has to have any number of shootouts, car chases … Read More The Highwaymen: The long road to justice
Filmmaker J.C. Chandor is at his best making intimate, dialogue-heavy films about man’s unrelenting quest for the almighty dollar at any price. His 2011 debut “Margin Call” was an intense, diabolical examination of the New York financial services industry that earned him an Oscar nomination for the film’s screenplay. Three years later, Chandor returned with “A Most Violent Year,” a subtle and nuanced crime … Read More Triple Frontier: The price of being a soldier
Characters go one-on-one both on and off the court in director Steven Soderbergh’s new sports drama “High Flying Bird,” though not much basketball’s being played. There’s a ferocity to the head-to-head dialogue in the screenplay from playwright and “Moonlight” creator Tarell Alvin McCraney that seems to mimic intense showdowns Michael Jordan might have had with defenders in his heyday. “High Flying Bird” aggressively attacks … Read More High Flying Bird: High-rise hoop dreams
Until recently, buzzworthy films coming out of Robert Redford’s Sundance Film Festival each January took six to eight months to reach a wide audience. A major film studio would snap up a noteworthy indie darling and stash it away from moviegoers until the fall and awards season long after the buzz had died down. The advent of online streaming services has expedited access for … Read More Velvet Buzzsaw: All art is dangerous
Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón returns with a stunning, yet melancholic film sure to dazzle audiences who catch his latest work, “Roma,” on the big screen. Dripping in contrast thanks to its harsh black-and-white cinematography, “Roma” is a rich and searing look into Cuarón’s mind through a portrait of his childhood, and yet, chances are you’re never going to get the full “Roma” experience. Purchased … Read More Roma: Memories of a childhood
Approaching real terrorism dramatically is difficult subject matter for filmmakers to handle properly. Whether it’s a faithful, authentic retelling like Clint Eastwood’s “The 15:17 To Paris” with the real heroes on screen or a more loose depiction like Peter Berg’s “Patriots Day,” there’s a great deal of care given to what and how the terror of catastrophic events and the terrorists who commit them … Read More 22 July: Terrorism docudrama chillingly effective