If you have finished watching the film The Outsiders (1983) and are looking for other movies like it, here is a list of options to consider.
The Zone of Interest
Jonathan Glazer's first feature in 10 years is a near-unclassifiable work of patience and intentional distance from its historical horrors.
What am I to say here? What can I say?
I feel as if I’m to say nothing at all. My mind has gone and I feel sick, and while that’s due to the film in question, another degree of it comes from a deeper truth. I feel wrong in my reaction to it; it can’t help but feel inadequate. The Zone of Interest has leveled me like few things ever have, but that’s not the point. That’s not its point. Continue Reading →
A Haunting in Venice
The first two entries in director/actor Kenneth Branagh’s foray into Agatha Christie adaptation lost the magic of the English writer’s mysteries. With his third attempt, A Haunting in Venice, Branagh decides to make considerable changes to the story. Using the bones of Christie’s Hallowe’en Party, writer Michael Green changes the setting from a small town in the English countryside to a palazzo in Venice. Branagh emphasizes the gothic elements of Christie’s story, leaning on the horror of the location, the manic nature of the children’s Halloween party, and the gruesome moments before and after an unexpected death. Continue Reading →
The plot of Free Fire, in many ways, could not be more straightforward. A mix of thugs, gun runners, and revolutionaries meet up to exchange weapons in a Boston warehouse in the 1970s. Things go wrong in a hurry. Continue Reading →
A little over 24 hours after seeing it, there are two sequences in Steven Spielberg's The Fabelmans that I've run on repeat back and forth. One dramatic, the other comedic—both illustrate the strengths of Spielberg's semi-autobiography. Continue Reading →
From the start, GKIDS' latest acquisition, The Deer King, can call itself the spiritual sequel to Princess Mononoke without fear. Like Studio Ghibli’s 1997 title, the adaptation of Nahoko Uehasi’s eponymous novel series also has world-building text about clashing factions and ancient magic unfolding over vivid forests and stirring music. One of this film’s directors, Masashi Ando, was a supervising animator for the other one. Wolves and elks are again the beasts with the most screen time. Continue Reading →
Death on the Nile
Even if you’re not familiar with Agatha Christie’s vast body of works—she wrote sixty-six detective novels alone—you’ve probably heard of Hercule Poirot. He’s the world’s most famous literary detective, next to Sherlock Holmes. Death on the Nile marks Kenneth Branagh’s second outing directing one of Christie’s Poirot stories and starring as the mustachioed detective himself, following 2017’s tepidly received Murder on the Orient Express. Dogged by COVID-19 delays and scandals surrounding star Armie Hammer, Death on the Nile sometimes feels like it’s scrambling to justify its own existence, and only half-succeeds. Continue Reading →
The Tender Bar
The Tender Bar, streaming on Amazon January 7th, is based on J. R. Moehringer’s memoir of the same name. In practice though, it could be anyone’s story, and not because there’s a universality to the tale it tells. George Clooney’s film is so generic that the film's Moehringer might as well be a human-shaped blank space. Boasting the archly-drawn relatives of the film version of August: Osage County, the subtle needle drops of a Robert Zemeckis film, and the emotional insight of a Snapple lid fun fact, the picture leaves one thirsty for something of substance. Continue Reading →
Despite its top shelf cast & capable direction, this drama about tourists behaving badly is nothing we haven't seen before.
The Forgiven is a story about fantastically rich white people behaving badly in an “exotic” location, told by slightly less rich and hopefully better intentioned white people. So soon after HBO’s The White Lotus, it might be tempting to call this a new trend. But it’s probably more accurate to consider it business as usual.
This is not to say that it’s a bad film. The Forgiven is thoroughly competent in its writing, direction, and performances. It also happens to be — from its first scenes and the Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?-esque dynamic it establishes between its protagonists, to its ending which is strongly foreshadowed to the point of telegraphing — an obvious one. Continue Reading →
The country soundtrack kicks in. The plain, honey-coated lens flairs coat the screen. A truck parks and out steps Mike Milo (Clint Eastwood), met with the distance of his once-good friend Howard (Dwight Yoakam) who, like a soda machine someone’s kicked loose, dispenses copious exposition about Mike’s past. The man was a great rodeo rider before dabbling in pills and drink, and, according to his old pal, his rising age doesn’t help either. Howard wants fresh blood, but it seems the movie doesn’t. The delivery, the detachment, Yoakam’s thoroughly disinterested performance—the film borders on worrying at first. Continue Reading →
John and the Hole
Pascual Sisto's debut feature is a surprisingly toothless psychological thriller with very little on its mind.
(This review is part of our coverage of the 2021 Sundance Film Festival.)
In what will be sure to elicit an insurmountable amount of Home Alone jokes, John and the Hole is a textbook example of a simple premise with potential. There’s John (Charlie Shotwell), a 13-year-old boy whose demeanor straddles the line between budding psychopath and awkward middle school kid. His eyes are so glazed over that they might as well be taped onto his face, and for a while, it’s really quite effective. When it stops making an impact, it’s because it’s clear there’s nothing else behind the surface.
One day while exploring the woods by his house, he finds a hole. More specifically, it’s a bunker that was never completed. Soon, he drugs his mother (Jennifer Ehle), father (Michael C. Hall), and older sister (Taissa Farmiga). Then he—you guessed it—drags their bodies into the bunker. He leaves them there for days on end while he lounges around the house, supplying his family with meager amounts of food and water. Whatever cause he has for doing this sits in the dark, and while it would be fine if Nicolás Giacobone’s script didn’t try to fill in the gaps, it kind of does. Worse yet, its attempts to tie fable into metatext are just overt enough to cement how toothless it all really is. Continue Reading →
David Fincher's meticulous anti-murder-mystery is a curious marriage of thriller and romantic comedy.
When glancing at David Fincher’s filmography, romance may not come to mind. There are the gruesome murders in Se7en, the unsolved mysteries in Zodiac, and the rise of social media titans in The Social Network. In 2014’s Gone Girl, adapted for the screen by Gillian Flynn from her own novel, Fincher dives deep into the marriage of Amy (Rosamund Pike) and Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck), a picturesque couple suddenly thrust into the national spotlight when Amy goes missing.
As the film unravels, it becomes clear that Amy orchestrated her disappearance to teach the philandering Nick a lesson. Amy and Nick may have deceived each other, but the real master of deception Fincher. Gone Girl is packaged as a psychological thriller, but it’s also Fincher’s most romantic film, the director flirting with us by using both the conventions of the thriller and rom-com genres. As a result, it woos the audience with a twisted love story. Continue Reading →