Director Damien Chazelle’s last three movies have either ended up on my top 10 of the year lists, or an honorable mention.
His latest film, though, will likely end on 2022’s worst of the year list.
“Babylon” tracks the careers of three characters in Hollywood during the late 1920s and early 30s. Jack (Brad Pitt) is an experienced performer, Nellie (Margot Robbie) is a new actress on the scene and Manny (Diego Calva) is a person doing odd jobs as he works his way up the studio ladder.
The movie shows how their careers are impacted by drugs, the extravagance of the roaring 20s and the shift in Hollywood from silent films to talkies.
Continue reading “REVIEW: Ambitious ‘Babylon’ ends up being an obnoxious dud”
“All Quiet on the Western Front” is definitely not the easiest watch of 2022, but it is one of the better movies of the year.
Based on the famous novel, “All Quiet on the Western Front” tells the story of Paul (Felix Kammerer), a young man who enlists in the German Army in 1917, a year before World War I ended. He enters the war filled with enthusiasm, driven by messages of nationalism during his enlistment.
That enthusiasm dissipates quickly, though, as Paul is thrust into trench warfare. As the war drags on, Paul sees his friends regularly killed in action while facing constant danger in the muddy trenches.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Western Front’ features a heartbreaking perspective of WWI”
A horrific moment in America’s history followed by awful injustice is featured in the emotionally charged “Till.”
Danielle Deadwyler portrays Mamie Till-Mobley, whose son Emmett (Jalyn Hall) was killed during a visit to Mississippi in 1955. The movie dramatizes the events that took place in Mississippi where, in a racism-fueled action, Emmett was abducted and murdered in the middle of the night.
It then documents how Mamie showed Emmett’s body to the press, revealing the brutality of the attack and the subsequent trial against the individuals responsible. It also details the overall impact the moment had on the Civil Rights Movement.
Continue reading “REVIEW: While flawed, ‘Till’ is a creditable effort”
Director David O. Russell’s latest film shows he still hasn’t managed to recapture the spark that he had with 2012’s “Silver Linings Playbook.”
In O. Russell’s new feature, which he also wrote, Christian Bale stars as Burt Berendsen. A veteran of World War I where he lost an eye, Burt is a doctor working in New York City, where he often crosses paths with friend and lawyer Harold Woodman (John David Washington).
The movie picks up with the two men being hired by a woman to investigate the mysterious death of her father. Things go wrong, though, when the woman dies and they are framed for her murder. To clear their name, they start an investigation into what’s going on, and get help from a woman named Valerie (Margot Robbie), who they met in Europe during WWI.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Amsterdam’ collapses as plot becomes convoluted”
Elvis Presley has been portrayed on the large and small screen many times before. However, none of them featured the flair of filmmaker Baz Luhrmann, until now.
The story of Elvis (Austin Butler) in this biopic is told from the perspective of the performer’s infamous manager, Col. Tom Parker (Tom Hanks). The movie begins with Parker on his deathbed and from there, the former manager recounts the events of his time with the singer, from when he discovered him to the performers final days in Las Vegas.
The movie showcases how Elvis’ popularity surged, his inspiration from African American musicians, his controversial stage movements and his attempt at a comeback after some down years. It also features the decline of his health during his time doing several shows in Vegas.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Elvis’ is an exuberant, exhausting experience”
I didn’t always know what was going on in the 2019 “Downton Abbey” film since I didn’t watch the series. That was true again here.
However, like its predecessor, it’s still fairly enjoyable.
“New Era” has two main stories unfolding. One revolves around a new film being shot at the Downton estate, where Mary (Michelle Dockery) and Violet (Maggie Smith) are keeping watch of things. While the family is hesitant about the film industry using the building, they allow it as it will provide funding to do needed roof repairs.
Meanwhile, the characters Robert (Hugh Bonneville), Cora (Elizabeth McGovern), Edith (Laura Carmichael), Herbert (Harry Hadden-Patton), Tom (Allen Leech) and Lucy (Tuppence Middleton) travel to southern France to explore a villa Violet inherited. The inheritance was included in the will of a man who Violet met decades ago in her youth.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘New Era’ at Downton offers enjoyment, despite shortcomings”
As a Vikings fan, I felt a major urge to clap my hands above my head whenever the word “skol” was thrown out in this film.
The story of “The Northman” is based in a Scandinavian legend, which ultimately inspired Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.” The protagonist of this film is a prince, Amleth, (Alexander Skarsgard) who witnesses his father (Ethan Hawke) be killed by his uncle Fjolnir (Claes Bang).
Amleth is forced to flee as a child after Fjolnir’s bloody rise to power, but vows to return. He eventually does so, now as an experienced, hardened warrior. To get close to his uncle, Amleth goes undercover, appearing as a slave working on Fjolnir’s land.
Continue reading “REVIEW: Meticulously made’ Northman’ devoid of heart”
I felt like I was drinking a 40 oz in the auditorium, because this film has a whole lot of Olde English.
Based on William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth,” “Tragedy” was written and directed by Joel Coen, with Denzel Washington playing the titular character. The film is a fairly straightforward retelling of the story, with Washington’s Lord Macbeth having a vision of ascending to the throne of Scotland.
That prophecy becomes fulfilled, and as the story goes, Macbeth’s reign turns out to be a difficult one. Soon after he takes the crown, he becomes paranoid and begins taking actions that only lead to more trouble.
Continue reading “REVIEW: Technically sound ‘Tragedy of Macbeth’ too inaccessible at times”
It’s easy to love “I Love Lucy.” But that’s not the case with “Being the Ricardos.”
The film stars Nicole Kidman, who portrays Lucille Ball, the actress well known for the series “I Love Lucy.” The movie picks up during a week of filming the “I Love Lucy” show, where the production has been impacted by some recent news.
Rumors are swirling around Hollywood about Ball possibly being associated with communism during the height of the Red Scare. The film follows how this affects production, and Ball’s marriage to her husband, Desi Arnaz (Javier Bardem).
Continue reading “REVIEW: Biopic ‘Being the Ricardos’ drops the Ball”
Al Pacino hasn’t been in a family this intense since the Corleones.
“House of Gucci” follows the famous fashion family from the late 70s until the dynasty fell apart in the mid-90s. The movie’s main focus is on Patrizia (Lady Gaga), a woman who in 1978 met and married one of the Gucci heirs, Maurizio (Adam Driver).
From there, the movie follows how the two maneuvered to gain more power in the family. Their efforts to do so put them in conflict with other members of the family, and eventually, each other.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘House of Gucci’ grabs a viewers’ attention, despite flaws”