Once Upon a Time In Hollywood
Forgot your password?
Don't have an account? Sign up here
and the Terms and Policies,
and to receive email from Rotten Tomatoes and Fandango.
Already have an account? Log in here
Please enter your email address and we will email you a new password.
No user info supplied.
As, essentially, a slasher movie, 'Ready or Not' makes its wickedly funny mark through the buffoonishly incompetent cast of the Le Domas family. Whether the characters are coked out of their minds, (understandably) unaware of how to handle a nineteenth century crossbow, or just completely disinterested in carrying out the murderous tradition, the sinister screwball realities of the film's plot are knocked into fiendishly dark instances of black humor hammeringly nailed by its synergistic writing, directing, and acting combo. If for nothing else, 'Ready or Not' largely succeeds off its ability to seamlessly juggle taut, investing tension with its gratifyingly gruesome sense of humor.
A gorgeous, candle-lit style and cinematography additionally help polish off the film during its longer, tedious setups and familiar cat(s)-and-mouse action, which take up a decent amount of time between the narrative's cleverer, out-of-the-box story beats. Similarly, the ongoing mystery of the Le Domas' motivations and the accompanying one-percenter themes also aren't particularly original, but their execution down to the story's satisfying, perfectly payed-off ending is handled so well all these nitpicks are an easy forgive.
It's a rare treat getting to get to go into a movie completely blind these days. With only a tantalizing poster and the promise of recently up-and-coming star power, I went into 'Them That Follow' blindly ready to be swept off my feet. Set deep in a rural, timeless Appalachia, the film cooks with an interesting premise as the inhabitants of a small Christian village ritualistically wrangle snakes to purify themselves before God. Unfortunately, it's otherwise as thematically predictable as any contemporary subject matter wrestling with explorations of faith, and a large portion of its plot points contribute little to the narrative and its characters while failing to pay off.
Alice Englert feels restricted as the leading Mara, whose writing and development manifest very little of the character's internal machinations and growing conflictions. A now Oscar-winning Olivia Colman is at least good in a menacing supporting role next to Walton Goggins' sly performance as the village's boisterously faithful evangelical preacher, both overshadowing Englert's limited character with decent arcs for themselves. But even some vaguely intriguing, drawlingly scattered spikes within the narrative still don't offer enough to give 'Them That Follow' a viewing.
Based on a memoir by Sarfraz Manzoor, 'Blinded by the Light' is unapologetically adoring of the music of Bruce Springsteen. Viveik Kalra leads with an infectious energy matched by Gurinder Chadha's gleefully free-spirited directing celebrating the story of how the Boss's music forever changed the life of a burgeoning Pakistani-British writer.
Apart from a distractingly choppy editing job and mildly meandering story progression, the film's a delightful watch that boasts a kind of bright, hopeful sincerity not often seen today. The sugar and fluff are all nice, but the film really shines during its heavier moments as it tells an impactful narrative about father-son relationships, the clashing of cultures between multi-generational immigrants, and the sadly relevant dangers of nationalist trouble brewing in a politically divided country.
Sandwiched in between an annoying framing device and the two drawn-out, though ultimately serviceable first and third acts of 'Where'd You Go, Bernadette' is a dynamite character study featuring Cate Blanchett in one of 2019's best performances by far. Blanchett is phenomenal and completely makes the film as the film's titular grouch, a disillusioned artist whose descent into a creative rut has led her to become a sarcastic, bitter agoraphobe. Though potentially risking a bad message/interpretation, the story about mental health is thoroughly compelling through Blanchett, who tells all in bursting rants of momentous drive and raw, burning emotion.
There are bits of deceivingly subtle development for Bernadette and her family (two other good performances from Billy Crudup and Emma Nelson) scattered throughout the first chunk of movie, but after the bough breaks, the film becomes a laboriously aimless, exposition-heavy, novel-like experience that could've done with some trimming from its pen-to-paper roots. Regardless, Blanchett's performance amidst the uniquely gloomy Seattle aesthetic deservingly ekes out a more than solid recommend.
Putting a cast of tweens barely dipping their toes into the dirty parts of the world is a good enough premise in its own right, but the additional layer writers Lee Eisenberg and (also directing) Gene Stupnitsky plant on top with the kids' unversed worldly naivety pushes the already quality humor to another level. Though they spout vulgar words and phrases like nobody's business, Max, Thor, and Lucas more often than not have no clue what they're really saying, and when juxtaposed with the way they handle themselves around the crasser material, the gold mined from their general innocence is too darn cute.
And while the cussing and misfortunes befalling them is hilarious in itself, the boys themselves are endearingly well-written, developed, and relatable as well. Each character has his own personality and genuinely compelling mini arc brought to life with golden energy by Tremblay, Noon, and Williams' phenomenal performances. Whether it's coping with their parents' divorce, raging hormones, or learning to do what they love regardless of what their meaner classmates may say or think, the boys' individual conflicts are constructed with real, invested thought executed with heartwarming, heartbreaking sincerity by the talented young actors. Additionally, the bittersweet overarching narrative about friendship and growing up and apart hits hard with unbelievably touching, completely earned emotional maturity that has no right to work as well as it does.