Spider-Man: Far From Home
Toy Story 4
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It's a deceptively simple story with a lot going on underneath the surface and a lot of things left unsaid, things that must be intuited by the audience. That requires a certain class of actor/actress to deliver the necessary quality of performance, and with Thomasin McKenzie, who is truly an astounding revelation, as well as the always superb Ben Foster, they have them. Wonderfully filmed (Granik's directing is exceptional) and with an amazing sound-design that is as much part of the story as anything else, it's a tough, emotional ride that certainly should leave a trace on your heart.
For a film that took a lot of flak prior to its release and even more once it finally got thrown into the world, I can honestly say that I don't know what people are talking about. Yes, it's far from perfect – it lacks the grandeur, especially in the visual department (what happened there?), you might have been expecting because of the ‘Star Wars' association; and there's a distinct lack of imposing villains which is very obvious and unfortunate, but neither of these things are enough to give it such a bad reputation.
As for Alden Ehrenreich's performance, well, he obviously isn't Harrison Ford and as much as he did his very best (and mostly succeeds) to deliver his own, likeable version of Han Solo, it's impossible not to compare him to Ford's infinitely charismatic and superior version.
All in all, I think the intention was clearly to move away from The Force, Jedi's, Sith and other big storylines, and to create a smaller scale Star Wars film. There are times when that doesn't quite work, but for the most part it does, leaving us with an action-packed, fun and entertaining little adventure that effectively explains some of Solo's past by expanding on a few of the more famous titbits and stories associated with the character.
Basically, don't go into this expecting to see something on the same scale as the previous films. If you can manage that, it may just surprise you.
A bittersweet exploration of life, love, loss and the pitfalls of fame, ‘A Star is Born' is well-filmed and has some superbly written music that always hits exactly the right note and elevates each scene. Granted, overall it's a tad melodramatic and the script's a bit messy, getting lost here and there before finding its way back to the heart of the story; those detours away from what matters ultimately mean the ending doesn't land with quite as much force as it should, but for the most part, it works.
If there are two things to take away here, it's that Bradley Cooper really did a fine job in the director's chair and shouldn't let missing out on a nomination at the Oscars knock his confidence; and that Lady Gaga is a revelation, proving that she's quite capable of stealing the show from the seasoned pros.
As someone who acted in the original (and may have even had an uncredited hand in the script), you'd think Shane Black would have a decent grasp on what made that movie work so well. So how did this go so wrong? Not only is the story incredibly silly in nearly every way and full of plot holes, but it also has the characters (including the Predators) make some very stupid decisions that are difficult to ignore. Thankfully, the cast is pretty great and has the necessary chemistry, and Black's signature humour pops up in enough places in the dialogue to make that interesting, but for the most part, it fails to capture the essence of what makes a good Predator film.
It's quite one-sided and perhaps a little bit too in your face at times (you'd be hard pushed to describe this as anything but a propaganda film), but it's an unfortunate fact that the message is a timely and poignant one for Americans, proving that some people really don't learn from the past and, in fact, are desperately trying to resurrect it. Nevertheless, the thing to watch this for is the story itself which is so outrageous that you can hardly believe it's based on true events. The trailers did lead me to expect something with a bit more style, humour and smarts, but ‘BlacKkKlansman' still makes for pretty great viewing, in no small part thanks to a superb cast.