The whole effort is blandly acted and forgettable. Need proof? I had forgotten I had watched it before.
An entry in a periodic series of reviews of films celebrating milestones in 2015
Brief Review: Terrorism, state torture, the ease at which our humanity can be manipulated away and clinging to the hope that escaping into dreams of love can break us free. I wish I could say its themes are dated. Brazil is still visually stunning. There may be a handful of better dystopian films, and certainly ones that pack more thrills, but since the root social problems that the movie explores are still with us, Brazil remains a vital expression of our fears of the present.
Release Date: February 22, 1985
Palace intrigue and bureaucratic reform in 15th Century Korea are deftly handled in The Face Reader. Kang-ho Song as always is fun to watch as the titular character, who winds his way from poverty and disgrace to the heights of power and back again. Director Jae-rim Han keeps the story simple enough for non-Korean audiences to follow this Korean period drama, which makes it a good introduction to the genre.
The first in a periodic series of reviews of films celebrating milestones in 2015
Release Date: January 25, 1995
It is difficult to believe that The Usual Suspects is 20 already. Bryan Singer’s mid-1990s pulp about five criminals attempting a heist to save their lives seemed to be pointing the way toward a noir future when it was released. It seems like just yesterday we were talking about a twist ending that “we never saw coming.” Sure it wasn’t The Crying Game (1992) levels of twisted, but I think we were out of the practice of watching suspense tales unfold, so the question of “Who Is Keyser Soze?…If he even exists” was fresh for us without long film memories at the time.
Kevin Spacey won his first Oscar for his role in the film. Christopher McQuarrie also won an Oscar for original screenplay. Both screenwriter and director would pair up again several times in much bigger budget fare – most notably X-Men, Jack, the Giant Slayer, and Valkyrie. As far as independent movies go, it could be considered a success. Below are four questions to contemplate at 20:
It has not been a good month for the news media in the movies I have been reviewing. In Birdman, the New York Times theater critic is shown to be unprofessional, promising to write a negative review to kill a play that she hasn’t seen. In Gone Girl, sensationalist news journalists are shown to be easily manipulated into writing a narrative that ends up covering up a ghastly crime. And now we have Nightcrawler, a movie about a petty thief who finally finds his vocation as a freelance cameraman selling footage to a local news station in Los Angeles. There seems to be a shortage of crusading journalists this month, Kill the Messenger aside.
Gone Girl is a slick potboiler about the failure of a marriage and the unraveling of an attempt to commit the perfect crime. It does a good job staying away from many of the cliches of the crime thriller. It could easily have become a straightforward police procedural, but nonetheless the movie still made me feel like I was watching a TV drama from time to time and not a film.
The movie opens on the morning of Nick and Amy Dunne’s (played by Ben Affleck and stunning Rosamund Pike) wedding anniversary. Has stopped in a watering hole called “The Bar” which he owns with his sister, Margo (Carrie Coon), mainly to complain about his wife and marriage. He receives a phone call from a neighbor that his door is open and he returns home to find broken furniture but no wife. For the remainder of the movie, the characters attempt to solve the crime while flashbacks provide the history of the marital conflict between the two leads.