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 Light Between Oceans (2016) Movie Review

Derek Cianfrance, the director of The Place Beyond the Pines and Blue Valentine, returns with a story that is similarly bleak and heart-wrenching, despite what the title might have you believe. The Light Between Oceans tells the story of a married couple (Alicia Vikander and Michael Fassbender) who, after multiple attempts, fail to carry a child to term.

Cianfrance brings style to the film, but it does not make up for the pitfalls of narrative and thematic substance. Lighting and framing capture picaresque cinematic moments from the 1920s Australian landscape. The sound design, in certain pivotal scenes, is fantastic. The film appears very much, and very adeptly, like a film.

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Fassbender and Vikander come together to make up the tragic couple. They are the film’s driving force, and they are both wonderful. Rachel Weiss, in addition, is absolutely riveting in a criminally small supporting role.

The issue with The Light Between Oceans is Continue reading The Light Between Oceans (2016) Movie Review

Snowden (2016) Movie Review

A movie by a veteran (yet perhaps out of touch) director starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt depicting a true story that was previously depicted in an acclaimed documentary. Is this The Walk. No, this is Snowden.

Snowden follows the CIA career and subsequent “whistleblowing” of Edward Snowden (Gordon-Levitt), as well as his relationship with Lindsay Mills (Shailene Woodley).

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Snowden’s script at times reads more like a civics lesson than a drama. Feeling the need to Continue reading Snowden (2016) Movie Review

When the Bough Breaks (2016) Movie Review

A happily married couple (Regina Hall and Morris Chestnut) are looking for a surrogate to carry their child. The young woman they choose (Jaz Sinclair) is sweet, kind-eyed, and 100% on-board. However, she is looking for more than a simple payment.

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As simple as the tactics used are, the film takes its time to establish sympathy for the relationship of our protagonists, and it does this well. You’d be surprised how Continue reading When the Bough Breaks (2016) Movie Review

Sully (2016) Movie Review

Sully is literally marred by explosions. They are the nightmares of the title character—pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger (Tom Hanks), who successfully landed a crashing plane into the Hudson River in 2009—a streaking jet plane striking into Times Square. These are the volatile internal demons of an outwardly calm man.

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Clint Eastwood’s latest directorial outing works on two levels of conflict. There is this internal struggle, and there is the closed-door politics of the man’s otherwise heroic actions. The divide between the two, stylistically, is two different movies. It is arguably more effective to Continue reading Sully (2016) Movie Review

Imperium (2016) Movie Review

Nate Foster (Daniel Radcliffe) is an FBI new recruit working in counter-terrorism in Washington D.C. He is unassuming and isolated in his eccentric brand of intelligence. When a possible White Supremacist terrorist plot surfaces, Foster is called upon to go undercover within the group to stifle any attack plan.

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There is a fury to Imperium, first evidenced in an expository montage containing still images of real-life neo-Nazism. This fury becomes more Continue reading Imperium (2016) Movie Review

Hell or High Water (2016) Movie Review

Two brothers (Ben Foster and Chris Pine) lay waste to rural Texas, robbing banks at sun-up and hightailing it before the police (led by Jeff Bridges) can even get their morning coffee. In the midst of this blur of action that is the opening to Hell or High Water, we can notice a few things: brilliant staging, an adept grasp of setting and atmosphere, an engaging balance of tone.

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With each bank robbery, we learn more about the two brothers. Their characters are fleshed out to the point where it isn’t difficult to Continue reading Hell or High Water (2016) Movie Review

Game of Aces (2016) Movie Review

Game of Aces is a period piece that doesn’t suffer from that inescapable stench of the period piece. It isn’t stuffy with the air of a different time and place. Many times, a period piece drama, especially those centered around wartime, will have the distinct feel of a re-enactment: heavy-handed, taking itself too seriously, and yet still somehow superficial. Game of Aces, in spite of its clearly tight budget, gets by on its lighter tone.

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The film begins anachronistic to this idea. “There is no pain,” a downed fighter pilot (Werner Daehn) whispers to himself as he Continue reading Game of Aces (2016) Movie Review