All the right ingredients for a compelling biopic: Great turns (Leo’s a good lead but Kate, I mean Cate, is a standout support), a complex character to study, and an epic plot that flies high (the dual ambitions in film and aviation make for a riveting back-and-forth script) but also digs deep (“Howard, we’re not like everyone else. Too many acute angles”). Interesting editing adds some spice while a soaring climax and a great final line wrap things up nicely (“the way of the future…”).
A quietly troubled young man returns home for his mother’s funeral after being estranged from his family for a decade. (IMDb)
Should’ve ended with that great climactic exchange at the quarry (“Good luck exploring the infinite abyss” “You too”) or at least before that saccharine final scene at the airport, because everything previous is nearly perfect in its achingly poignant and tastefully quirky young adult character study that nails its depiction of depression, awkward homecoming, and early romance through thoughtful dialogue, strong performances, calm cinematography, and a fittingly melancholy soundtrack.
After a space merchant vessel perceives an unknown transmission as distress call, its landing on the source moon finds one of the crew attacked by a mysterious life-form, and they soon realize that its life cycle has merely begun. (IMDb)
Only a few instances of distractingly dated SFX (see the puppet-like movement of the worm; big explosion) mar this claustrophobic and intimate sci-fi thriller: Natural dialogue and pacing, along with an excellent use of long tracking shots, shaky handheld movement, and facial close-ups capture perfectly the unsettling dread, shocking horror, and relatable characters trying to cope in a uniquely nightmarish plot (the initial terror from the gross alien is boosted by the robot twist later on).
A bus crash in a small town brings a lawyer to the town to defend the families, but he discovers that everything is not what it seems. (IMDb)
The non-linear narrative works as it moves between post- and pre-incident, leading you with baited breath to the breathtakingly traumatic moment, but as the convoluted scenes pile up (why is she making out with her dad?) it becomes just another irritation. The characters are never explained (all we get are long empty stares and confusing dialogue) so the emotions never sink in, and outside of that is just a bland plot (and pointless sub-story) about a lawyer trying to rally plaintiffs.