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Director: Brad Bird Starring: Holly Hunter, Craig T. Nelson, Samuel Jackson, Bob Odenkirk, Catherine Keener, Sarah Vowell, Huck Milner, Jonathan Banks Running Time: 125 minutes


For viewers, things have changed a lot since The Incredibles irised out with the Parr family gearing up to take on the Underminer back in 2004. Already popular, superhero movies have exploded to become the dominant force in big studio’s release slates. Pixar have come back into the Disney fold, have become more sequel friendly and beholden to (or promoted to) the big wheels at the biggest studio. Brad Bird went and proved himself as a director in live-action, stumbled a bit with Tomorrowland and finally got around to a follow-up to to the beloved superhero family. The Incredibles meanwhile, have been waiting in stasis, still waiting to fight the Underminer,  baby Jack-Jack still developing powers unknown to all, Violet still having a date with the cutest boy in school, Bob and Helen still freshly back on track after the derailing effects of Mr. Incredible’s hero withdrawal. Incredibles 2 follows off immediately from the ending of its predecessor, with an enjoyable film that settles back in without missing a beat.

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Director: Stefano Sollima Starring: Benicio del Toro, Josh Brolin, Isabel Moner, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Jeffrey Donovan, Catherine Keener Running Time: 122 minutes


It can’t hurt a film to have a little ambiguity from time to time. Three years ago, the uncompromising crime-thriller Sicario took us to the darkest corners of the greyest areas of the US-Mexican border, a place where Mexican cartels and the US government could compete to get up to the shadiest shit. It was an intense film with a considerable combination of talent: Denis Villeneuve combining to great effect with Roger Deakins to put the suffocating effect of the crime scene on screen, a great score by the gone-too-soon Jóhann Jóhannsson and a script by Taylor Sheridan that was seemingly very thoughtfully assembled; like an Apocalypse Now for America’s drug war. On screen, the talents of Emily Blunt dragged viewers down with her own sinking feelings, an FBI agent turned bystander to the morally ambivalent machinations of the Department of Justice, embodied by the casual hoo-ra “consultant” Matt Graver played by Josh Brolin and the mysterious, violent sicario Alejandro Gillick, played by Benicio Del Toro. They were up to something, it was no good, and there was noting Blunt could do about.

Something suspicious happened towards the end of Sicario though. A balance shift, a feeling that the film was becoming a bit too enamoured of its hitman for its own good. If Matt and Alejandro come out on top at the end, does that make it a downer ending or a triumph? Who is the main character of the film again? Emily Blunt’s conspicuous absence from the sequel Soldado might tell its own story. The boys are back in town. Sicario is not sending us it’s best people. In a fraught political environment, this sequel feels even less wanted, depending on which side of the fence you’re on.

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Director: Alan Gilsenan Starring: Catherine Keener, Hannah Gross Running Time: 90 minutes


Adapting the Canadian Author Carol Shields final novel Unless for the big screen was certainly going to be a challenge. The novel, the last book written by the author before her passing from breast cancer, was a sprawling story with many layers of philosophical meditation. The novel tackles gender inequality and the realistic possibilities for women, the nature of happiness as well as identification of people’s place and purpose in time. Writer/director Alan Gilsenan does a noble job of condensing these themes into a digestible cinematic format and with Catherine Keeners raw, realistic central performance Unless feels like a film with a lot on its mind. The resulting film however is never as nuanced and profound as it thinks it is, keeping the audience at an emotional distance when it should be letting them in.

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