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

First Man (2018) Movie Review

Damien Chazelle’s follow up to the highly successful and almost Best Picture winner La La Land is a biopic about the first man who walked on the moon, Neil Armstrong (played here by Ryan Gosling). Sounds like a conventional route to go down after directing two films that broke the contemporary Hollywood mold. But leave it to Chazelle to take a unique approach to the conventional.

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Armstrong is a pensive man. On the surface, emotionally slight. Rarely speaking more than he needs to, he relies more on Continue reading First Man (2018) Movie Review

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A Star is Born (2018) Movie Review

About 10 minutes into A Star is Born—that is to say, the 2018 Bradley Cooper-directed A Star is Born—country rock superstar Jackson Maine (Cooper) explains to his love-at-first-sight (and soon to be muse) date Ally (Lady Gaga) something very important. Drunk, but conjuring up a moment of lucidity, he points around at the patrons of the bar. “Everyone in this bar is talented at one thing or another,” he says. But Ally. Ally has something to say. And that means something. That’s bigger than just being talented.

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With this line, Cooper both encapsulates the entire film and reveals its biggest flaw. A Star is Born is certainly talented at one thing or another. But I don’t know if Continue reading A Star is Born (2018) Movie Review

Blaze (2018) Movie Review

Ethan Hawke’s debut as director comes in the form of a biopic of country-blues musician Blaze Foley. According to Rolling Stone, Michael David Fuller aka “Depty Dog” aka Blaze Foley was a “quintessential American artist before such a thing existed.” He didn’t want to be a star, because stars burn out shining for themselves. No, he was going to be a legend.

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That’s how Ben Dickey explains it, embodying Blaze in the back of a pickup to his muse Sybil Rosen (Alia Shawkat). Cool as a cucumber, as if Continue reading Blaze (2018) Movie Review

Lizzie (2018) Movie Review

Lizzie Borden was a notorious figure. She was a news sensation long before the 24-hour news cycle was a germ in Ted Turner’s head. In 1892, Borden’s parents were murdered with an ax, and she was the prime suspect. It was a big deal. I mean, you know you’ve struck a cultural nerve when children skip rope to rhymes of your homicidal exploits.

Congratulations, Lizzie. You made it. They even made a movie dramatizing your life. Again.

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Craig William Macneill’s version of events in Lizzie is intended as a pot-boiler, tension simmering amid a terse domestic drama that boils over rapidly in the climax. On both accounts—simmering and boiling—things feel Continue reading Lizzie (2018) Movie Review

The Wife (2018) Movie Review

The Wife is written by Jane Anderson, based off the novel of the same name by Meg Wolitzer. It is written with superb eloquence. It stars Glenn Close as the eponymous wife, Joan Castleman, whose husband Joseph (Jonathan Pryce) has just won the Nobel Prize in literature, although it becomes clear that Joe is not quite deserving of the award. Close presents us with an Oscar-worthy performance whose understatement is matched only by the brief flashes of ferocity.

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The writing and acting are top notch. As a film, however, The Wife is Continue reading The Wife (2018) Movie Review

A Simple Favor (2018) Movie Review

A Simple Favor is a mystery film with a sleek aesthetic and a windy plot saturated with plot twists that charge forward to a cat-on-mouse-on-mouse game of a final act. With Paul Feig behind the wheel, it cannot help but also be a riotously overt dark comedy with full on laugh lines punctuating most moments of purported tension. It is a film that aims to be both thrilling and funny, which turns out to not be entirely either.

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And I kinda like it…

A Simple Favor is a film that revels in its sheer messiness, like a child who spills his milk with a smile on his face just to get attention. The plot begins fairly simply. Stephanie Smothers (Anna Kendrick) is Continue reading A Simple Favor (2018) Movie Review

White Boy Rick (2018) Movie Review

“In 1980s Detroit, Ricky Wershe Jr. was a Street Hustler, FBI Informant and Drug Kingpin—all before he turned 16,” boasts the poster for White Boy Rick, the true-crime drama courtesy of director Yann Demange and Matthew McConaughey’s hair. Because if any actor could use a mullet for its full creative potential…

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The eponymous white boy is portrayed by Richie Merritt, a newcomer to the screen. Merritt is a high school student, unlike Ricky, who has dropped out of school to Continue reading White Boy Rick (2018) Movie Review