Friday, May 31, 2019

Two-Paragraph Review: The Standoff at Sparrow Creek (2018)

The Standoff at Sparrow Creek is a smart film, but it is not as smart as it would like to be. It features a classic lifeboat scenario, this time among a band of weekend militiamen who are held up in a warehouse after a massive attack on a police funeral in their area. As they bid their time worrying about arrests, listening on HAM radio about more nationwide attacks, one of them is working hard on figuring out who of them actually carried out the initial massacre.

The movie is all drama and tension between the characters, followed by plenty of dialogue (in fact, that’s most of the film). While I do admire the low-budget approach to this enjoyable thriller setup, it ends up being smug and too self-content at many points. Those long dialogues include some not that great lines, and the actors that deliver them are equally persuasive as a modern militia crew that is inches from committing a new and major terrorist attack. Still, the film holds your attention, which is more than enough for a project of this size.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Indie Showcase: Art of Love (2019)

Art and love might seem like a natural pairing in numerous situations. After all, ever since the days of the ancient past, art did explore in so many shapes and forms the concept of love. Yet, while so many works of art try to approach the subject from a philosophical, grand, and even emotionally detached perspective, some try to observe love and art in the contemporary setting, through the eyes of regular people who work hard to survive and thrive in an often ruthless and uncaring world. Art of Love is a feature-length indie title that tries to do just this. Here is how the film describes its plot:

Monday, May 20, 2019

Two-Paragraph Review: High Life (2018)

Gentle and brutal, complex and really simple, relatable and completely alien - all of these are the traits that High Life possesses as a work of art. This alone would make it worthwhile for anyone who is seeking to experience something new. Still, besides these characteristics, the movie has many other fantastic points. Among them is Robert Pattinson as the quiet and contemplative Monte, who easily carries the main role of this oddly structured film.

Yet, Pattison, just like the decades-older veteran Juliette Binoche works fantastically with each other, the rest of the cast and the whole vision of the director, Claire Denis. The plot of the film, which sets a crew of death row inmates on a mission to explore a nearby black hole, is just one of the cogs in this truly impressive machine. The entire setup is much larger than a smarter retelling of Interstellar. Instead, it’s a genre-bending concept piece that is wonderful to watch and also a strong chaotic commotion that you more experience emotionally than understand intellectually. I loved it throughout.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Two-Paragraph Review: Game Night

When you look at it superficially, the concept of Game Night seems immediately worn out. A group of friends getting for a night of games, entering one that was supposed to include actors but ends up including a real crime which they're firstly oblivious about. Sure, it's like Fincher's Game but only in a comic reverse mode. Must be dumb and boring, right?  Well, oddly, it's really good.

In fact, for me, it's one of the best AAA Hollywood comedies I saw in recent years. The duo of John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein made the film with steady hands and a great eye for a serving of black humor jokes. I was impressed by its sharpness and even more, by the willingness to take the film into some dark and twisted waters - not that deep into them, mind you, but the effort is still appreciated. Lastly, Jesse Plemons is one of the most talented actors of his generation and the movie was lucky to have him - he added a cherry on an already really good cake.