“I’m pregnant,” Mildred (Ruth Negga) tells Richard Loving (Joel Edgerton) in Loving’s opening line. “Good,” he replies, a shy smile creeping over his face. “That’s real good.” So good, in fact, that they travel out of Virginia’s Caroline County up to Washington, D.C., in order to get married.
As a member of the Washington Area Film Critics Association, it is my solemn duty during each and every awards season to engage deeply with art, to catch up on movies I’d missed, to truly experience the grand breadth of human wisdom and experience projected up on the big screen.
When thinking of the worlds of Guillermo del Toro, the mind’s eye drifts to the spectacular, big budget universes he conjures up out of his cranium.
For a movie that’s been pitched as a sci-fi thriller fraught with action and international and political intrigue, Arrival opens with a surprisingly emotional sequence.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has a house style that could be charitably summed up as fashionably bland. Its movies are filmed in a competent and coherent manner, but rarely contain images or standalone shots that one would describe as particularly memorable.
Maybe 15 minutes or so into Hacksaw Ridge, two women walked out of the screening. They’d seen enough blood for their taste.
Inferno is the third movie based on a Dan Brown novel, and arguably, possibly, I guess, the best: though that’s not saying much, since they’ve all been talky bores more interested in the cleverness and pseudo-intellectualism of their overstuffed, nonsensical plots.
Jack Reacher was one of 2012’s more pleasant surprises. Written and directed by the Oscar-winning screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects, The Way of the Gun), this tightly scripted and surprisingly funny thriller featured a compelling, no-nonsense hero in the form of Tom Cruise’s Reacher and a surprising, chilling, Teutonic villain in the form of legendary director Werner Herzog. It may not have been high art, but it was damn fun.
Roughly two-thirds of The Accountant is truly fantastic. The first hour and the last 20 minutes or so are funny, high-octane, well paced, and clever—it’s entertaining and competently put together, anchored by solid performances from solid performers.
The Birth of a Nation isn’t as compelling a glimpse into the horrors of slavery as 12 Years a Slave. Nor is it as epic as previous films about uprisings, such as Braveheart or Spartacus. Though it features several commanding performances and has a number of heartrending moments, Nate Parker’s retelling of Nat Turner’s rebellion feels loosely strung together and, ultimately, lacking in dramatic tension.