John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum
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The filmography of director Jim Jarmusch is characterized by hits and misses. Unfortunately, his latest offering is more the latter than the former. This social/political satire, wrapped up in an homage to George Romero's horror classic "Night of the Living Dead," frequently falls flat, playing like an unedited first cut of an unedited first draft screenplay. Jarmusch's latest seems like an attempt to imitate Jordan Peele but lacks the airtight narrative foundation to effectively pull it off. That's too bad, too, given the stellar cast here, most of whom (except for Tilda Swinton) are underutilized and given precious little to work with. What's more, the story takes far too long to find traction, something that it finally starts to do in the second half but never quite catches fire due to some of the same pacing, editing and lackluster writing issues that plague the entire first half. A very big missed opportunity here.
True to his signature style, French-Canadian director Denys Arcand's latest comedy-drama with a philosophical twist follows the quirky exploits of a sheepish, underemployed but compassionate PhD who unwittingly gets caught up in a high-stakes crime caper with an array of shady characters. While the film is a bit talky at times and likely tells you more than you ever wanted to know about international monetary transfers, the picture has a heart and serves up more than a few pointed observations about ethics, greed and society's recognition (or lack thereof) of what really has value. This beautifully filmed offering shows off Montreal in its best light while delivering a colorful tale of personal evolution, particularly when it comes to enlightening us how to avail ourselves of our opportunities when they come along. Although not for everyone, this fun, witty and insightful release is a pleasant way to spend a few enjoyable hours at the show.
Not a great "X-men" franchise offering, but certainly not as bad as what many critics and fans have been saying. This character-driven superhero tale is somewhat overwritten when it comes to exploring (and frequently misinterpreting) motivations, incorporating contemporary social issue symbolism, and getting in touch with feelings, so much so that it tends to drag in the first half. The opening also gives surprisingly short shrift to the action-adventure elements, a shortcoming that's fortunately made up for at the back end. However, when it comes to the story's philosophical/metaphysical themes, the picture is spot-on, providing thoughtful viewing yet again in an unlikely context. In all, this release may not match its predecessors, but it does share valuable insights worth pondering in a well-acted, beautifully photographed package.
A flamboyantly engaging biopic that hits all the right notes from start to finish. The film's inventive song-based approach to this character study adds punch to the storyline, playing like an old-style musical, one that actually works in a contemporary cinematic landscape largely devoid of this genre due to stale or forced releases. Taron Egerton gives a career performance as the rock idol who had, and nearly lost, it all, a portrayal easily worth an Oscar. Director Dexter Fletcher's offering is nothing what I expected -- and exceeds all of what I hoped for. Don't miss this one.
A delightfully charming and quirky senior romance tale whose partners cling to eccentricities with which they cannot let go but who at least have each other to see their way through the tenuous and painful process. While not all elements of the film or characters work, and even though some aspects are a little too formula for their own good, the picture nevertheless has more than its share of funny twists and turns, as well as fine performances by John Lithgow and Blythe Danner as the unlikely consorts. It serves up an excellent example of living in the moment, without worrying about a past that has come and gone and a future that has yet to arrive. Think of this as the geriatric version of "Seeking a Friend for the End of the World" but without the rampant silliness and you've got an idea what this charmer is all about.