The Painter and the Thief
The Half of It
The Vast of Night
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A dark, unsettling look at two boys who struggle to come to grips with their father's (Konstantin Lavronenko) sudden return to their family after a 12 year absence, and how he takes them on a camping trip that turns into a test of each one's masculinity. Although the amount of ambiguity the film contains tends to be a little annoying at the conclusion given the film's unwillingness to give really any answers, director Andrei Zvyagintsev's point is clearly to have you as confused as the boys who are being mentally tortured by their father. Throw in a sudden, shocking twist 3/4 of the way through that is impossible to see coming, some beautiful still photography, and the fact that the actor who plays the older boy (Vladimir Garin) died a day before the film's release due to a similar accident that takes place in the film, it is a very memorable, unmistakably powerful little movie. Not for all tastes to be sure, as this is an art-house film inside and out, but a watchable one.
An average, slightly disappointing and too grim follow-up to the first two riveting 'Hunger Games' films about the expansion of Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) into a public relations figure for the rebels, and how The Capital led by a corrupt rule (Donald Sutherland) looks to squash whatever progress they make. The acting as always is top-notch, but the decision in where this film goes with the plot just is not as interesting as compared to the previous films. We have seen many movies before deal with the subject of public relations before, and in a much more convincing, better way than this movie, including in the first two films. Once the film leaves this part of the plot behind it gets more interesting, but ultimately I can't give this movie a recommendation because of how bogged down it gets because of this direction it takes in its first half of duration.
A meticulously constructed near-masterpiece about a dirty businessman (Oscar Isaac) who begins to see his empire collapse from under him, and he suspects those he does business with are primarily responsible for it. This is a period piece about a calm, quiet character who approaches everything with a clear mind despite being under immense pressure. Isaac's rock-solid, confident performance is the driving force behind this movie, as he is a presents a rare individual that is unlike anything we've seen from these kinds of stories. The last act of the film has a scene in it that encapsulates the movie's message as a whole, and its rare we see this kind of skill behind the camera from a gifted, fairly new big movie director like J.C. Chandor.