A look at the life of the astronaut, Neil Armstrong, and the legendary space mission that led him to become the first man to walk on the Moon on July 20, 1969. (IMDb)
Immersive and boldly chosen visuals and sounds on the ships (blurry, claustrophobic, loud) are paralleled by more shaky-cam close-ups and tense drama on earth, leading to stunning physical and emotional release on the bleak, vast, and silent lunar landscape (Gosling is solid throughout). The blip on the radar is how the great “Whitey on the Moon” critique (“I can’t pay no doctor bill, but Whitey’s on the moon”) is only followed up with, well, more movie about white guys going to the moon.
A kindergarten teacher in New York becomes obsessed with one of her students whom she believes is a child prodigy. (IMDb)
Thanks to its stellar script and star, it masterfully builds tension and slowly amps up the creepiness from the most subtly discomforting of moments to the downright disturbing third act (Lisa’s initially puzzling choice to let Jimmy read his poems being the only blip along the way). She’s a fascinating character, wonderfully nuanced (see her kind of helping Jimmy at the end) and naturally developed (the smartly written supporting characters really help here). The sparse score was a great touch.
On the rocky path to sobriety after a life-changing accident, John Callahan discovers the healing power of art, willing his injured hands into drawing hilarious, often controversial cartoons, which bring him a new lease on life. (IMDb)
Combines the accessible emotional punch of a mainstream drama (without getting sappy) with the unconventionality and boldness of an indie; the wonderfully edited timeline-jumping of the first half creates a uniquely compelling character set-up while the longer dialogues to follow solidify and bring to a tear-jerking climax the powerful yet nuanced redemption arc (see the return to those adorable skate kids). Phoenix is expectedly great, but it’s Hill who’s simply magnetic in a supporting role.
After a simple jewelry heist goes terribly wrong, the surviving criminals begin to suspect that one of them is a police informant. (IMDb)
Showing only the before and after of the heist job is a unique conceit that could easily flop without a strong script; fortunately, Tarantino fully delivers with car trunk loads of sizzling mono/dialogues (the strong cast never wavers in numerous lengthy scenes) and a compelling back-and-forth-in-time narrative that perfectly develops the characters (see the Mr. Orange twist; wanted an official Mr. Pink intro though). Deliberate, artistic camerawork (see the final close-up) brings it all home.
After the disappearance of her scientist father, three peculiar beings send Meg, her brother, and her friend to space in order to find him. (IMDb)
The dialogue (nay, the whole movie) is like 99% painfully cheesy exposition (with poor performances to boot), though somehow the opening act set-up still manages to confound and frustrate the viewer completely in its vague, contrived nature (so how does Charles Wallace know all these mysterious people again?). After all the fluffy mysticism of the Mrs. it eventually crafts a nice message about self-acceptance and the power of love over evil, but it’s still so damn cheesy. Pine is good though.
As Scott Lang balances being both a Super Hero and a father, Hope van Dyne and Dr. Hank Pym present an urgent new mission that finds the Ant-Man fighting alongside The Wasp to uncover secrets from their past. (IMDb)
The plot leaves a few things to be desired (namely, less of the increasingly convenient and far-fetched tech and its accompanying untethered babble; also, resolving things with the Ghost could’ve been done a lot earlier), but everything around it is quite satisfying: the characters are likeable, the jokes are frequent and funny (see the truth serum bit), and the size-changing action is lots of fun (the visual effects here are excellent and quite clever-see the final reveal at the drive-in).
Feeling trapped in the stifling, wealthy enclave of Westport, Connecticut, Anders Harris (Ben Mendelsohn) retires from his job in finance and leaves his wife (Edie Falco) in the hopes that it will renew his lust for life. (IMDb)
“I got a cigar burnt on my forehead [does that really get you your own hospital room, btw? I feel like not] so that totally makes up for all the shitty and unexplainable things I did and definitely warrants my redemption and slight smile to end the film.” NOT. Compelling enough content and characters, but it’s awkwardly written (so much contrived swearing) and very poorly edited (scenes are jarringly mushed together, and even the seams between different takes for a scene are noticeable).