Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane’s successful attempt to assemble a baseball team on a lean budget by employing computer-generated analysis to acquire new players. (IMDb)
It’s got the surface stuff for dramatic greatness–an intriguing premise, a solid cast, entertaining dialogue (see Billy’s flurry of calls at the trade deadline), and slick editing that smoothly incorporates lots of flashbacks and archival footage–but the story holds it back in a couple ways: Billy’s personal life often feels like an unnecessary inclusion, and the intellectualism of the sports narrative seems to get replaced in the third act with a more typical underdog/pep-talk type feel.
7.5/10 (Really Good)
A young blade runner’s discovery of a long-buried secret leads him to track down former blade runner Rick Deckard, who’s been missing for thirty years. (IMDb)
If I was rating individual scenes, this would have a bunch of 10/10s, no question, thanks to some incredible visuals, sounds, turns, and Villeneuve’s impeccable sense of tension and atmosphere (see the opening search, the horse discovery, Joshi vs. Luv, K and dreammaker Dr. Ana, the stunning final fight). Unfortunately, Leto’s cliche villain and Deckard’s return make for a less compelling and more tangential-feeling third act, at least plot and character-wise, keeping the film from perfection.
Before she was Wonder Woman she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained warrior. When a pilot crashes and tells of conflict in the outside world, she leaves home to fight a war to end all wars, discovering her full powers and true destiny. (IMDb)
An okay first act (woman saving man as the first big plot point is a highlight amongst the generic child flashback/training scenes) and a messy third act (the surprise villain is unfounded and weakly executed; same goes for WW’s love thing) are held up by a wonder-ful second act in which Diana’s touching mix of compassion, innocence, and magnificent strength breaks through patriarchal bullshit in spectacular fashion (I nearly cried when she said “no” to Steve and leapt out of the trench).
A teenager journeys through a series of foster homes after her mother goes to prison for committing a crime of passion. (IMDb)
Stellar acting and an ample serving of interesting characters sets this film up for success, with Pfieffer’s terrifyingly headstrong Ingrid and her wandering adolescent daughter Astrid (Lohman) at the forefront. Intense dialogue, poetic voiceover narration, and artistic visual montages showcase Astrid’s tragic journeys to and from three foster homes and visiting her mother in jail. You’re left wanting more from each compelling but brief chapter, but the drama remains delicious if not filling.
While home sick in bed, a young boy’s grandfather reads him a story called The Princess Bride. (IMDb)
A hammed-up fairy tale with all the fixings: Giant rats and madcap magicians, true love and impassioned revenge, kisses and torture, quicksand and castles, and at the core, a romantic tale of a fair and tragic princess kidnapped and her fearless lover (played brilliantly by Elwes) overcoming all odds to fetch her back. Slathered on top of it all is a thick layer of uninhibited silliness that produces a plethora of hilarious quips and mirthful moments throughout. It’s a story for the ages!