Da 5 Bloods
On the Record
I May Destroy You
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A solid contribution to the canon of cyberpunk sci-fi, Minority Report plays out a strong core narrative with some sloppy details that reek of having been adapted and condensed from a fiction text. While the special effects and acting performance from Cruise leave much to be desired, the philosophical questions posed by the film's dystopia are engaging enough to be worth watching at least once.
Set in a fantastically well constructed and creative dystopia, Looper's core narrative is ultimately a little meandering, but builds strong characters and pulls them together for an even stronger ending.
At almost 3 hours, this film is a slow burn, but with such an intimate and romantic portrayal of old Hollywood, you almost don't want it to end. The leads each do what they do best; DiCaprio flawlessly portraying an aging star fraught with self-doubt, and Pitt defaulting to a gruff but vaguely wholesome stunt man. With a mix of pure fiction and history, Tarantino builds tension by showing you the lives of the real life stars doomed to get caught up in Manson-family murders. Sharon Tate is portrayed in uncanny fashion by Margot Robbie, whose talent and charm is ultimately under-utilized by Tarantino's script. The film shows a commitment to long-winded and over-indulgent sequences that serve as love-letters to late 60s LA. There are a few of these scenes that go bust, but most of them are fantastically entertaining.
There's a lot this movie gets wrong and a lot that it gets right. The best elements are the chemistry between the leads, the art direction, the cinematography, and the direction. There is a fantastic surrealist blend of movie and stage elements, along with a great use of color for a truly innovative visual production. For a musical about a musician however, the music leaves much to be desired. While perfectly well written in a vacuum, there is sloppy integration between narrative and song, with a disturbing lack "pure jazz" that Gosling's character professes to care so much about. With the writers' seeming failure to have any interactions with a real musician as research, the film's story is doomed to be a narrow minded caricature of an LA beatnik and the "dying art" of jazz.
Yet another movie where Brad Pitt refuses to hide his southern accent, Money Ball is compelling although a little dry. An admirable endeavor, the film chronicles the real life events of Oakland's 2002-2003 baseball season, which serve as a reasonable but un-thrilling foundation for narrative development. We know for sure that the stakes are high as the season starts, but the pay off is a little shy of satisfactory. All in all, Pitt and Hill lend redeeming performances to a film whose understatedness services to reinforce its reality.