Another fun helping of adventure: the locales are varied and exciting and the action set pieces are expectedly wild (see the mandrills on the swinging bridges). The comedy’s a mixed bag; slow-talking Hart is hilarious (“Who is Jumanji?” “Is that Barbara’s boy?”), but no one seems to be able to do a Danny DeVito impression. The drama doesn’t really work (Spencer’s arc was a nice thought but it resolves too easily; the Milo-Eddie tension comes out of nowhere and feels like an unecessary aside).
It’s intense, no doubt, but in a discomforting, empty sort of way-feels hard to feel relief at the constant near escapes of our protagonists when 99.9% of the rest of the world is completely annihilated in massive dumps of CGI. On one hand, this numbness as a response to such widespread devastation rings partially true, but on the other, it speaks to a certain blockbuster gloss that leaves the film’s themes of human desperation and end-of-the-world values inconsistent and underdeveloped.
Lots of cringe-worthy sleazy action-movie schlock (cue the boobs and blood and Busey and cartoon-ish stereotyped baddies) but it’s mostly balanced out by the solid quartet of protagonists (Glover’s renegade Mike has a great dynamic with Paxton’s goofy Jerry) driving forward the story. The third act drags on though, and because it’s an investigative plot and not a survival one, it raises a lot of questions surrounding the Predator’s motivations (the biggest being why is here in the first place?)
Over a wonderful aesthetic (warm cinematography, clever editing, and cozy jazz), light and leisurely character set-ups (Forrest and Jewel have great banter) set the stage for a fun little plot (Affleck’s weary cop is a perfect match for Redford’s relaxed con). The final act fails to wrap things up as gracefully, however, thanks to a couple plot snags (why let him leave the bathroom, and why a horse instead of the car?) and Forrest’s now irritatingly breezy attitude in the face of adversity.
Its quirky exterior (love that soundtrack and those earrings) fits the story on first blush (the telemarketing bosses provide lots of laughs; Cassius is a loveable existence-pondering lead) but then through the indie candy coating burst some terrifying plot points (see the final riot through the crack) and provoking and poignant thoughts on capitalism and the normalizing of evil–all of it creating this quasi-surrealist sort of tone that’s highly discomforting in how ultimately real it feels.
An estranged family of former child prodigies reunites when their father announces he is terminally ill. (IMDb)
Enjoyably quirky narrated character set-ups lead into a melancholic family reunion drama artistically crafted (memorable costumes and an excellent soundtrack stand out) but saturated with so much deadpan dialogue that it gets a little tiresome at points. Not all of the characters connect (Raleigh is inconsequential; Eli feels out of place) but Royal is a strong lead in his flawed quest for redemption, and Chas (see his guard let down; “I’ve had a tough year”) and Richie eventually hit home too.