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 Disaster Artist (2017) Movie Review

James Franco’s The Disaster Artist could have been the extension of a joke, an acknowledgment of the irony that makes Tommy Wiseau’s historical miscalculation The Room such an audience favorite. That would have been the easy route, and it would have made for a less compelling film.
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Instead, The Disaster Artist takes an earnest approach. It aims to convince us that it is the drive of Wiseau’s vision which is truly Continue reading The Disaster Artist (2017) Movie Review

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Novitiate (2017) Movie Review

When Pope John XXIII created Vatican II, it shook the Catholic Church to its core. The Second Vatican CouncilĀ  was a big deal at the time, being that it was the first reconvening of Roman Catholic officials for the sake of reform in over 100 years.

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In the wake of Vatican II, thousands of nuns left the Church given that, in an attempt to create a more open and inviting Church, the status of nuns was Continue reading Novitiate (2017) Movie Review

Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017) Movie Review

In Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, a title so laborious and specific that it can’t help but get stuck in your head, Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand) rents out three billboards (they haven’t been used in years, not since the highway went up) and plasters a notice up on them. Black on red. A question aimed at Police Chief Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) asking for justice for Mildred’s dead daughter.

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A confrontational pitch-black comedy about reactionary culture and life-altering emotional extremity, Three Billboards delivers one of the Continue reading Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017) Movie Review

Roman J. Israel, Esq. (2017) Movie Review

It wouldn’t be surprising if you only know of the film Roman J. Israel, Esq. because the poster features the back of Denzel Washington’s head. It’s understandable. It’s not as if the name is particularly catchy. But Roman J. Israel, Esq. is the second directorial feature from Dan Gilroy, the man behind Nightcrawler and the scripts of such films as The Fall and Bourne Legacy.

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For someone who appreciated Nightcrawler, it is not unreasonable to anticipate good things from Gilroy’s follow up. Don’t be fooled. Roman J. Israel, Esq.—and I only keep reiterating the name because we are reminded of it time and time again in the film—is not Continue reading Roman J. Israel, Esq. (2017) Movie Review

Mudbound (2017) Movie Review

On the eve of World War II, Laura (Carey Mulligan) is courted by engineer Henry McAllan (Jason Clarke) in the Mississippi Delta. Although Laura is more charmed by Henry’s brother Jamie (Garrett Hedlund), she marries Henry and they raise two children. Henry buys a farm (more precisely, he’s swindled and the family is relegated to a meager shack that is characterized most readily by the puddles of mud in the yard that never dry up). This farm employs the Jackson family, led by pensive Florence (Mary J. Blige) and Hap (Rob Morgan) Jackson.

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When America is drawn into the war effort—Roosevelt’s infamy speech marks the act break—Ronsel Jackson (Jason Mitchell) and Jamie are called on to serve. When they return to the states, inevitably changed, they face Continue reading Mudbound (2017) Movie Review

Lady Bird (2017) Movie Review

The teenage bildungsroman is a common narrative formula. Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig’s directing debut (she also serves as screenwriter), may be another addition to the list, but it does not feel like another tired addition. If anything, it exists in this long line of coming of age films as as much of a standout as the film’s eponymous role: a personality so bold and big but also honest that it demands to be taken on its own merits.

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This is undoubtedly caused by Gerwig’s distinct presence. Even as a first-time director, it is clear that this is uniquely Continue reading Lady Bird (2017) Movie Review

LBJ (2017) Movie Review

If you ever wanted to hear Lyndon Johnson (portrayed here by Woody Harrelson) discuss the hang of his testes, Rob Reiner’s LBJ is the film for you. The subject comes up twice, showing up again near the end as if it is a brilliant comedic callback meant to elicit hoots and hollers.

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I was surprised to hear, two days before the film’s release, that there was a Continue reading LBJ (2017) Movie Review