Charismatic rancher Phil Burbank inspires fear and awe in those around him. When his brother brings home a new wife and her son, Phil torments them until he finds himself exposed to the possibility of love. (Letterboxd)
Excellent turns (Cumberbatch’s nuanced lead especially), with lots of interesting relational and thematic dynamics at play (brother-brother, mother-son, old hat vs. new hat, harsh vs. tender, banjo vs. piano) and storytelling that’s appreciably subtle and moody, aided as it is by patient camerawork and an unnerving soundtrack. Despite the slow-burn approach, some of the character shifts feel sudden (see Rose’s descent; Phil’s change), but it’s tied up in a satisfying (leather) bow in the end.
7.5/10 (Really Good)
Eddie Murphy portrays real-life legend Rudy Ray Moore, a comedy and rap pioneer who proved naysayers wrong when his hilarious, obscene, kung-fu fighting alter ego, Dolemite, became a 1970s Blaxploitation phenomenon. (IMDb)
Moore’s exuberance, creativity, and determination as a true and crude man of the people carried his career through any and all obstacles–and through Murphy’s excellent portrayal it carries this film too, with its biggest obstacle being the script’s failure to dwell on any of the obstacles in Moore’s trajectory to the top. So the journey’s a little too light and breezy, but like Moore’s crew you just can’t help but get caught up in the scandalous and silly fun of it all (see the sex scene shoot).
A young Scottish man travels across America in pursuit of the woman he loves, attracting the attention of an outlaw who is willing to serve as a guide. (IMDb)
A tastefully simple and slow-paced Western adventure plot with just a dot of dramatic irony is accented by stunningly coloured cinematography, an earthy soundtrack, and unique camerawork (see the dead person stills at the end), and punctuated by a starkly violent final act. The ambling and artful script veers into vague melodrama a little too often (especially in its emotional climax) but with the film’s delicious aesthetic it creates a rich portrayal of melancholic frontier America.
7.5/10 (Really Good)