Category Archives: Drama

Life is but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more

The 15:17 to Paris (2018) Movie Review

Clint Eastwood’s latest, The 15:17 to Paris, tells the true story of three Americans who prevented a potentially disastrous terrorist attack on the eponymous train to Paris in 2015. Not only does Eastwood tell this story, but he casts the three men to play themselves.

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This is a lot to ask, having three non-actors carry the dramatic heft of a movie, but the three men (Spencer Stone, Anthony Sadler, and Alek Skarlatos) do a Continue reading The 15:17 to Paris (2018) Movie Review

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Fifty Shades Freed (2018) Movie Review

Congratulations, everyone. We are now officially living in a post-Fifty Shades world. It’s over. We made it.

Listen, the Fifty Shades trilogy has received its guff. We all know what the critical consensus is on these films. Why bother with yet another review of yet another film of this trilogy? Because, at the risk of losing any credibility I may have accrued as a critic, Fifty Shades Freed is the best of the trilogy.

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Does that make it a good film? No. Is it a film with a better message than the other Fifty Shades movies? Not at all. But it has Continue reading Fifty Shades Freed (2018) Movie Review

Phantom Thread (2017) Movie Review

Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) is a famed couture designer in post-war London. He is quite idiosyncratic, very particular. He has eyes for a waitress named Alma (Vicky Krieps), whom he places in his house and sizes her up for a dress.

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This scene, where Day-Lewis’ Woodcock measures Alma, is the beginning of an intensely fraught yet surprisingly understated romantic relationship. And it is a Continue reading Phantom Thread (2017) Movie Review

12 Strong (2018) Movie Review

There is a lot on the surface of 12 Strong that has been done in war films before, again and again. Grunt soldier characters act like they do in every other movie. Fire-fight sequences involve everyone we don’t care about falling down dead, and everyone that has been established as a character surviving despite being amid insurmountable danger. Themes of camaraderie and learning to think differently about your fellow man abound. Etcetera. Etcetera.

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With this, there is plenty of scenes that play out, down to the lines themselves, exactly as you would expect.

Our boys have to Continue reading 12 Strong (2018) Movie Review

The Post (2017) Movie Review

One could look at The Post, the latest from veteran director Steven Spielberg, and see a current and scathing indictment of executive authority to undermine freedom of speech vis a vis journalism, a critique of modern political decorum by way of an examination of the past.

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Ignoring the politicization of this message, the grand-standing done in the final 30 minutes of this film, in which Continue reading The Post (2017) Movie Review

I, Tonya (2017) Movie Review

There is one word that describes every facet of the film I, Tonya. Energy. From the acting performances, to the editing, to the camera work, to the dialogue, to the framing device, to the soundtrack there is a constant and consistent energy. There is never a wasted or dull moment. It is a two-hour movie that breezes by.

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Beneath this energy, which is spear-headed by dark comedy, is a surprising amount of empathy that the film drums up around the figure of Tonya Harding (portrayed here by Margot Robbie). The highly publicized story of Harding plays out in the film in a Continue reading I, Tonya (2017) Movie Review

Call Me By Your Name (2017) Movie Review

Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name is a film that takes its time yet never wastes a moment. It may seem at first that it is slow to startup, but this humdrum beginning that meanders almost lazily through this formative summer of Elio’s (Timothee Chalamet) is used as a basis from which the film’s central relationship can form. From the point at which this relationship comes to be, the film becomes an intensely emotional and sensual experience.

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Certainly, this lengthy and deliberate film will lose some viewers. The simplicity of the plotting does not help in that regard. But beyond mere plot is a film that captures Continue reading Call Me By Your Name (2017) Movie Review