Nicholas Cage has had ups and downs in his career over the last decade, with some real lows in there (“Season of the Witch”), but he shows in this movie that he still has the acting prowess that won him an Oscar in the 90s.
Cage stars as Rob in “Pig,” a man who lives a secluded life in the Pacific northwest. He spends his days hunting for truffles with his foraging pig, and sells his finds to a single buyer, Amir (Alex Wolff), for simple supplies.
His day-to-day routine is shattered, though, when his pig is stolen in the middle of the night. With a reluctant Amir providing assistance, Rob sets out to get his pig back by any means necessary. However, his journey takes him back to a world he left behind, digging up his past in the process.
Continue reading “REVIEW: Cage shines in truffle trouble drama ‘Pig’”
A title like “Nightmare Alley” may inspire thoughts that this film is about fantastical monsters.
But director Guillermo del Toro’s latest film is about how ordinary men can be just as monstrous as fabled beasts.
Bradley Cooper stars as Stanton in the film, a man who’s clearly on the run from his past at the start of the movie. As the film takes place during the later years of the depression and Stanton needing work, he ends up taking an offer to work at a carnival.
There, he meets a husband and wife duo who have an act where they perform as a pair of psychics, although, their mind games are actually just coded words to make it appear that they have powers. Still, Stanton sees an opportunity for himself and decides he would like to do such an act, but his efforts to do so leads to dangers and conundrums.
Continue reading “REVIEW: Take a stroll in ‘Nightmare Alley’ for quality noir”
Clint Eastwood is once again sporting a cowboy hat in his latest movie, but this one doesn’t take place in the old west.
In “Cry Macho,” Eastwood portrays Mike Milo, a retired rodeo star and horse breeder who was just cut from his job. His former boss Howard Polk (Dwight Yoakam) hires him for a different job at the movie’s outset, though.
Polk’s son, Rafo (Eduardo Minett) lives in Mexico and is allegedly being abused. Mike’s job is to bring Rafo back to the United States, so the father and son can reunite. While reluctant, Mike takes the job, meets Rafo and the two go on a journey from Mexico City to the U.S. border.
Continue reading “REVIEW: Eastwood’s ‘Cry Macho’ is a misfire”
Paul Schrader is back with another pessimistic film that earns a positive score.
Oscar Isaac stars as William Tell in “The Card Counter,” a man who after serving a prison sentence, lives on the road traveling from casino to casino. Tell is able to count cards and is strong poker player, but he never tries to make more than he needs to survive. It soon becomes clear that he’s troubled by something in his past.
Tell’s life begins to change, though, when he meets Cirk (Tye Sheridan), the college-age son of a soldier he knew while serving. Around the same time, he meets a woman named La Linda, who convinces him to begin playing professionally under her management.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘The Card Counter’ is a terrific slow-burn in a fast setting”
Hero. Antihero. Villain. Can a protagonist be all three? “Cruella” attempts to find out.
Emma Stone stars as Estella in this supposed prequel to the “101 Dalmatians” story. Estella, born with white and black hair, is a girl who was orphaned at a young age when her mother fell from a balcony during a party. Following the death, Estella finds her way to London and meets Jasper and Horace. The three become friends and pull schemes together to make money in order to survive.
Eventually, though, Estella gets her chance to leave her life of pick-pocketing and get her dream job as a fashion designer. Eventually, she gets to work for London’s top fashion individual, who simply goes by The Baroness (Emma Thompson). The more she works there, though, the more Estella finds reason to let out her true self, Cruella, and conquer the fashion world.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Cruella’ constricted by tonal imbalance”
Angelina Jolie has taken a break from playing Maleficent to return to the action genre.
This time, though, she plays a character with survival skills, rather than being a master martial artist or super spy.
In “Those Who Wish Me Dead,” Jolie portrays Hannah, an elite firefighter in Montana who’s trying to get over a traumatic event that took place about a year ago. Because of the experience, Hannah is taken off the frontlines and instead is stationed at a fire lookout tower.
Meanwhile, a father and his son Connor (Finn Little) go on the run. The father, Owen (Jake Weber), is an accountant mixed in a situation where he could potentially expose several financial scandals and therefore has a hit on him. Those looking to take Owen out do succeed, but Connor escapes. After doing so, he runs into Hannah, who takes on the task of protecting him.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Those Who Wish Me Dead’ brings big sky thrills”
Many revenge movies are straightforward in their approach, so any time a good director can come along with some flair to elevate things, it’s a plus.
That’s the case here with “Wrath of Man.”
The film centers on Patrick Hill (Jason Statham) who simply goes by “H.” Appearing to be just an everyman, H begins working for an armored vehicle company, mainly under the supervision of a man whose nickname is Bullet (Holt McCallany).
His first several days there are routine, but one day a truck he’s in is stopped by a gang of thieves. It’s no problem for H, though, who takes out the criminals with great skill and precision. It soon comes to light that H is working at the company for a specific reason and has revenge on his mind.
Continue reading “REVIEW: Good direction from Ritchie makes ‘Wrath of Man’ work”
The use of confidential informants, as this film shows in great detail, can be a problematic law enforcement measure.
In this case, the movie is about informant Bill O’Neal (LaKeith Stanfield), a young man who is arrested for pretending to be an FBI agent to steal a car. Rather than be charged right away, though, O’Neal is given an opportunity by bureau agent Roy Mitchell (Jesse Plemons). Not long before Mitchell gave O’Neal the opportunity, J. Edgar Hoover (Martin Sheen) announced that Black Panther Illinois Leader Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya) needed to be monitored.
That’s the job offered by Mitchell, and to avoid prison time, O’Neal reluctantly accepts. O’Neal makes his way into the Black Panthers organization and over time, establishes himself as a full-fledged member. As a result, O’Neal begins getting closer to Hampton and is able to report his findings to the FBI. However, with tensions seeming to rise all around him, O’Neal finds himself being pulled in two directions.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’ is a powerful, magnetic drama”
Denzel Washington is once again doing detective work in California but this time, it’s not a training day.
Washington plays Joe Deacon, who casually goes by Deke. A former detective, Deke now works as a sheriff deputy with a normal beat. He mostly stays in his own lane, but at the movie’s start, he’s brought in to give some experienced advice on a new murder case.
The case is being primarily helmed by Jim Baxter (Rami Malek), a young detective who’s already making a name for himself as a talented inspector. While the two are at first not thrilled about working together, they eventually decide they can figure this puzzle out better by working side-by-side. The film explores them doing so and also begins revealing why Deke made a career change.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘The Little Things’ has little to offer the detective genre”
“I’m Your Woman” is a fairly entertaining crime drama, but the story does get clunky at times.
Rachel Brosnahan plays the lead character Jean in the film. She is married to Eddie (Bill Heck) a man who by all appearances is associated with organized crime. At the movie’s onset, Eddie comes home with a baby, stating that it’s his and Jean’s son.
Jean begins caring for the baby, but her typical days of motherhood are shattered when she is told that Eddie has gone missing by one of his friends, Cal (Arinze Kene). Now she must survive with her child as the criminal underground applies pressure on her.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘I’m Your Woman’ is watchable, but weakened by story issues”