Over the years, Pixar has enlisted a variety of creatures to populate their wholesome stories of love and acceptance. There have been toys, monsters, cars, disembodied souls, and even the occasional human. In their new film Elemental, the characters are personifications of the four elements. It’s a choice that may leave you asking, “Have they run out of ideas at this point?” Continue Reading →
Gerard Butler's CIA-agent-on-the-run thriller aims to be more than a power fantasy, but for all its virtues, it doesn't stick that landing.
There's an expected cognitive dissonance that comes with watching a man-on-a-mission genre piece set in the Middle East. Whether it's a glorified shooting gallery or a power fantasy where the hero stops just short of bleeding red, white, and blue - one needs to practice a mental limbo to either ignore or maybe be pleasantly surprised with the bare minimum concessions to showing the opposite side's perspectives.
Ric Roman Waugh's expertly mounted, ambitiously scattered Kandahar is, at its core, a Stagecoach riff. One where our leading man, career CIA operative Tom Harris (Gerard Butler leveraging his soulful full-time divorced dad essence), has 30 hours to make a mad 400-mile dash across an Afghanistan desert from an impossibly large group of following forces. It's a foolproof premise, yet intriguingly, Kandahar refuses to embrace its conceptual neatness. Continue Reading →
The remaining festival offerings in horror are satisfyingly gory, but some fall short in plot & characterization.
(This dispatch is part of our coverage of the 2021 SXSW Film Festival.)
After a strong beginning, South by Southwest’s “Midnighters” category wraps up with more ecohorror, an animated fantasy epic, and yet more small town folks acting weird. Gorehounds will be pleased to know that over the top violence seems to be making a comeback in horror, if some of the films featured here are any indication. Regrettably, in some cases it’s at the cost of a cohesive, fleshed out plot. Continue Reading →