After being betrayed and left for dead in Italy, Charlie Croker and his team plan an elaborate gold heist against their former ally. (IMDb)
The first two acts hit all the right beats for a fun heist plot, including a couple well-timed “wrench-in-the-plan” twists, keeping it engaging through some less-than-stellar humour and characterization (Theron’s Stella is tragically reduced to nothing more than a “got girl” by movie’s end in a vomit-inducing end credits scene). The great car-chase action of the third act, meanwhile, leads to a less than satisfying deus-ex-machina ending courtesy of some unnecessary side characters.
A covert team of immortal mercenaries are suddenly exposed and must now fight to keep their identity a secret just as an unexpected new member is discovered. (IMDb)
Gets a (barely) passing grade for its diverse cast and millennia-worth of potential (gimme more of the emotion found in Joe’s boyfriend speech and those witch-trial flashbacks). The plotting is a mess and the central thread just doesn’t click–we’re supposed to root for this superhero team against the people trying to control them but we never actually see them being superheroes, just murdering the people trying to control them. Terrible dialogue and bland cinematography don’t help matters.
A mother of three hires a night nanny to help with her newborn. (IMDb)
Lovingly shot (lots of delicate attention to depth-of-focus), effortlessly acted (Davis has a constant twinkle in her eye; Theron shows remarkable range in a complex role), and smartly written and edited (the dialogue is perfectly raw and awkward; the pre-Tully mother/parenthood montage is on point). Gets a little weird in the third act though, and while the twist answers some questions and adds some intrigue, it also introduces a bevy of plot holes that overshadow any of its pros.
7.5/10 (Really Good)
Hancock is a superhero whose ill considered behavior regularly causes damage in the millions. He changes when the person he saves helps him improve his public image. (IMDb)
Starts off as a strong character drama, with Smith’s asshole Hancock playing well off Bateman’s earnest straight man for some laughs early on before some well-executed scenes bring out further depth (see his vulnerable press conference; small group sharing) and his mysterious superpowers add tasteful intrigue. If only it ended after the bank rescue, for from there an unwanted twist takes it down a mess of a new path populated by some laughable sci-fi, a barely-there villain, and a lame ending.
Based on the life of Aileen Wuornos, a Daytona Beach prostitute who became a serial killer. (IMDb)
Theron’s outstanding nuanced lead turn propels this gritty film to greatness, as she captures all of Aileen’s insecurity, brokenness, desperation, and rage with every word and motion–subtle or severe. The quick-paced story is just as raw and unrelenting (with a great soundtrack), tarnishing its own beautiful outcast romance with scenes of heartbreaking poverty and agonizingly tragic desperation and murder, boldly refusing to spoon-feed us comfortable themes, easy morals, or a happy ending.
A woman rebels against a tyrannical ruler in postapocalyptic Australia in search for her home-land with the help of a group of female prisoners, a psychotic worshipper, and a drifter named Max. (IMDb)
You know when there’s a wounded pregnant woman narrowly dodging a rock overhang while hanging off the side of a steampunk-style big rig that this is far from your typical action film. A gloriously refreshing set of protagonists (Theron leads a great cast of females young and old) drives (literally; it’s almost all insane car chases) forward a simple apocalyptic story beautifully filmed and fantastically decorated. Max’s backstory flashes are a little distracting without any context though.
A fictionalized account of the first major successful sexual harassment case in the United States — Jenson vs. Eveleth Mines, where a woman who endured a range of abuse while working as a miner filed and won the landmark 1984 lawsuit. (IMDb)
Theron melts into her character here, displaying with ease both Josie’s brokenness and courage. Her experiences of abuse and her lonely fight for her rights are tough to watch but are thoughtfully shown, as picturesque scenes of the equally isolated Minnesota countryside and its bleak mines punctuate her story along with clips of her eventual court case. The supporting cast here is impeccable and solidifies this moving film that comes to a satisfyingly redemptive and tear-jerking conclusion.
7.5/10 (Really Good)