Monday, September 21, 2015

The Keeping Room

Suspenseful and tedious in equal measure, The Keeping Room is not the badass feminist western I wanted it to be. Its central premise is compelling, but a ponderously slow build-up and a thematically confused ending ultimately undercut its effectiveness.

The Keeping Room
Director: Daniel Barber
Starring: Brit Marling, Hailee Steinfeld, Muna Otaru, Sam Worthington



Friday, September 18, 2015

Sicario

Suspenseful, ruthless, and hopelessly bleak, Sicario is director Denis Villeneuve's latest masterclass in tension. He keeps the audience on edge by demonstrating how bursts of violence can come at any time, from a daring opening raid on an Arizona drug den all the way to the film's fatalistic finale, all while questioning the moral consequences of the American intelligence community's shady alliances. Those searching for a typical badass action movie should look elsewhere, because while there are some scenes that match that description, the film is equally interested in posing ethical quandaries as it is depicting brutal scenes of bloodshed.

Sicario
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Starring: Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin


Thursday, September 17, 2015

Everest

Snowflakes whip horizontally so fast you can hardly see them, and over a crevasse on the world's tallest mountain, a climber grips for his life, dangling above disappearing blackness. This is Everest, the newest film from Baltasar Kormakur (Contraband, 2 Guns), and while the director excels at creating suspenseful set-pieces, the script sometimes fails its human characters in favor of putting the spotlight on the mountain itself. Framing the peak in all its grandeur (and perilousness) is to be expected — it's freaking Everest, after all — but I wish that didn't mean doing its human co-stars such a comparative disservice. There are some heart-pounding moments on display here, and overall it's a mostly enjoyable ride, but the movie doesn't quite ascend to the pantheon of great disaster films to which it seems to aspire.

Everest
Director: Baltasar Kormakur
Starring: Jason Clarke, John Hawkes, Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin, Keira Knightley