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

Triple Frontier (2019) Movie Review

After a troubled development process, Triple Frontier, a military heist drama, has dropped on Netflix. Originally fronted by Paramount, Frontier was to be directed by Kathryn Bigelow (she retains producer credit) and starring Tom Hanks and Johnny Depp.

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In its final form, it is directed by J.C. Chandor and starring Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, and Charlie Hunnam. Bigelow left the picture, reportedly to Continue reading Triple Frontier (2019) Movie Review

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Paddleton (2019) Movie Review

Michael (Mark Duplass) sits in a doctor’s office listening to his diagnosis. Andy (Ray Romano) stands at his side. They’re friends, of a sort, though their go-to descriptor for the relationship is “neighbor.” As Andy tries to wrap his head around Michael’s diagnosis—cancer, most likely of the terminal variety—he stammers. Flustered, he tries to get a straight answer out of the doctor, who has nothing to offer.

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Then, Michael and Andy go about their regular day. They play a racquetball variation called “Paddleton.” They watch the same kung-fu movies on VHS. They do puzzles together. They say little and share a lot.

Paddleton takes the very serious subject of Continue reading Paddleton (2019) Movie Review

Greta (2019) Movie Review

There is something perversely compelling about Greta, the new film from Neil Jordan. At the same time, there is something far too familiar about the film, a terse obsession thriller.

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Perhaps the fascination begins and ends with the inimitable Isabelle Huppert, who literally pirouettes through her pathological, homicidal character. She is Continue reading Greta (2019) Movie Review

High Flying Bird (2019) Movie Review

Steven Soderbergh’s last film, Unsane, was shot entirely on an iPhone. And the discomfort that came from such an isolating, wide-angle experience made sense in the setting of that film. All the same, the narrative of Unsane left something to be desired.

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Steven Soderbergh’s second film to be shot on iPhone, High Flying Bird, interrogates the business side of professional basketball. Its discomforting lenses make Continue reading High Flying Bird (2019) Movie Review

Velvet Buzzsaw (2019) Movie Review

“Velvet Buzzsaw” refers to the former punk band of art manager Rhodora Haze (Rene Russo), a music group that became outmoded and slipped into what former street artist Damrish (Daveed Diggs) calls “self-parody.”

Velvet Buzzsaw, the latest from Dan Gilroy, has similar punk rock ambitions that bleed easily into self-parody. Or maybe it’s just parody.

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In its opening gambit, Buzzsaw sees a swirl of well-to-do art types at a Miami gallery exhibition. Manager Jon Dondon (Tom Sturridge) is trying to poach veteran artist Piers (John Malkovich) from Rhodora, while Rhodora courts Damrish. Critic Morf Vanderwalt (Jake Gyllenhaal) pauses from making passing critiques at pieces to stare agog at Continue reading Velvet Buzzsaw (2019) Movie Review

Miss Bala (2019) Movie Review

Miss Bala is a story of an innocent bystander caught between two sides of a war. Unwittingly working for both the drug kingpin (Ismael Cruz Cordova) and the DEA, Gloria (Gina Rodriguez), must take her fate into her own hands to save herself and her friend.

And it’s a fairly bland experience.

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Gloria travels to Tijuana to see her friend, Suzu (Cristina Rodlo), who is about to compete in the Miss Baja California pageant. After a night club shooting, Suzu disappears and Gloria is Continue reading Miss Bala (2019) Movie Review

The Upside (2019) Movie Review

The Upside is a remake of the 2011 French film Intouchables, a facile yet hugely crowd-pleasing story about a white wealthy quadriplegic who hires a black ex-con to be his live-in caregiver. In the American iteration, the two roles are fulfilled by Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart, with the role of Philip Lacasse’s (Cranston) uptight executive Yvonne being played by Nicole Kidman.

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Neil Burger’s film is just as facile, and likely just as crowd-pleasing, as Intouchables.

Dell Scott (Hart) is on the hunt for a job—something he does not want, but something required to Continue reading The Upside (2019) Movie Review