‘Elvis & Nixon’ is an actor’s showpiece for Michael Shannon and Kevin Spacey to collide in the most bizarre power summit in pop culture history
Jeff Nichols’s new sci-fi thriller, ‘Midnight Special,’ is like a masterclass in mood and style.
The Night Before Written by Evan Goldberg, Kyle Hunter, Jonathan Levine, and Ariel Shaffir Directed by Jonathan Levine U.S, 2015 Every November and December studios release holiday-themed flicks to cash in on the frenzy of the season. Every once in a while a gem like Gremlins or Elf comes out and becomes yearly viewing, but …
Michael Shannon transforms the otherwise heavy-handed economic morality tale, ’99 Homes,’ into something dynamic and alive.
I was a bit hesitant to start watching the series finale for Boardwalk Empire. I didn’t even have it in me to watch it until a few days after it aired. Why was I so hesitant? Probably for a number of reasons. A part of me wasn’t ready to say goodbye to a series I …
Two of Boardwalk Empire’s most longstanding veterans waved the long goodbye tonight in one of the hardest, heaviest, and most integral episodes the series has ever delivered.
As Boardwalk Empire rounds the curve toward its curtain call, we’re given an episode that moves things along nicely while calling several characters to account for their actions.
With “Cuanto” we mark the halfway point of the final season, and its first major death. As fans of Boardwalk will attest, though, the only real surprise was that it took as long as it did. If you were running the numbers in Vegas, or Atlantic City for that matter, the odds would come up quick that there will likely be a lot more to come. If only Arnold Rothstein was still around to roll the dice on that one.
“What Jesus Said” opens with Chalky and his loose cannon partner breaking into the house of the latter’s former employer. In what is easily the low point of the episode, Chalky’s plot consists of balancing precariously between his edgy accomplice, Milton, and the a mother and daughter whom they have taken hostage. Although on paper, the idea might sound engaging, it plays out in a mostly uninspired manner due to the fact that Chalky isn’t given a whole lot to do. These scenes, which take up roughly 1/3 of the main plots explored this week, consist widely of three other characters who we are given little emotional investment in.
There are revelations aplenty as we catch up with a few more members of the cast after the crash, and in the beginnings of the Great Depression. Gillian is seen early on under surprising circumstances; in not a prison, but a mental institution. Her initial sequence, in which she dozes comfortably in a steam bath while discussing frivolities is rapidly dissipated when one of her fellow patients loses control over a radio program, and riles up the other patients in kind.
There is an air of finality to even this first episode of Boardwalk Empire’s final season. From the opening scene to the final moments, “Golden Days for Boys & Girls” has the distinct feeling of a ticking clock. Ironically while the episode takes its sweet time, from skipping out on several of the shows most notable characters to adding in a recurring flashbacks of the childhood of the Thompsons, it only further solidifies the fact that this is the end. Like the last ruminating drink of a dying man, the simplest of things only matter more with the end in sight.
From the director of cult classics like Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer and Wild Things, The Harvest is John McNaughton’s first film in over a decade.
Man of Steel can best be described as inconsistent and certainly a missed opportunity. Now, with news of the mutated sequel coming in every week, it seems a good time to really explore these flaws.
Much of season four of Boardwalk Empire has felt disjointed. The series has a surplus of talent, with far more characters than it seems to know what to do with, and rather than cut down the cast, they’ve jumped back and forth between these characters (taking the same approach as they did in season three), often shelving characters and arcs for weeks at a time. What this inevitably leads to are peaks and valleys throughout the season, as the episodes featuring viewers’ favorite characters engage significantly more than those centered on less interesting characters (William, anyone?). This week, Boardwalk Empire focuses on Mueller/Van Alden and, given this reviewer’s enjoyment of that character and performer all season, it’s little surprise that “Marriage and Hunting” is one of the clear standouts of this season.
As many viewers will no doubt be aware, Der Erlkönig is a poem by Goethe based on Danish folklore that was adapted by the great (early) Romantic composer Franz Schubert into one of his most famous lieder, or art songs. To set the mood for the discussion of by far the best episode this season, so far:
Boardwalk Empire, Season 4, Episode 4, “All In” Written by David Matthews Directed by Ed Bianchi Airs Sundays at 9pm EST on HBO Kate is new to Boardwalk Empire this season and her reviews will approach the acclaimed series from the newbie’s perspective. This week, on Boardwalk Empire: Nucky plays poker, Willie fails chemistry, and …
In last week’s season premiere, we checked in with most of our main cast, the significant exceptions being Michael Shannon’s Nelson Van Alden/George Mueller and a touted-in-the-marketing new character played by Jeffrey Wright. Both are front and center this week, along with Agent Knox and the ever intriguing Richard Harrow, and prove to be excellent additions to the ensemble.
A couple of years ago, a rather controversial and divisive pitch black comedy/murderous drama called Killer Joe rocked the Kasbah in critical terms, sharing the adulation of some and the damnation of others. It was grimy, grotty and often deliberately gratuitous (to the point that its most shocking scene earned a subtle nod on its DVD cover) and did a number of things apart from splitting a bemused audience right up the middle.
One of the better elements of Zack Snyder’s adaptation of Watchmen, and widely considered its best sequence, was that film’s opening credits montage, which forcefully played with pop culture iconography to impressive degrees. In a way, that sequence was an effective hint of what was to come with Snyder’s reboot of the Superman property; a cultural icon lavishly portrayed in a titanic fashion.
The Iceman exists in a strange kind of cinematic purgatory, in which reside those movies that are both too rushed and too slow. With actors like Michael Shannon, Chris Evans, and Winona Ryder among the key players, this period piece about a particularly sociopathic Mob enforcer’s rise to some level of infamy is, at best, decent.
The Iceman Directed by Ariel Vromen Written by Ariel Vromen and Morgan Land USA, 2013 It’s kind of baffling that it’s taken this long to make a movie about Richard Kuklinski. Quiet family man is secretly a prolific murderer working as a hitman for the Jersey mob, completely unbeknownst to his family? That’s the kind …
Chronicling the complicated balance between work and family that prolific real life contract killer Richard Kuklinski carried on for decades, The Iceman paralyzes the audience purely with Michael Shannon’s unrelentingly intense performance.
Some of this year’s Sundance comedy-dramas have had their narratives plucked from the wellspring of their director’s personal experience, though that should never excuse any shortcomings. Yesterday, I wrote a negative review of Francesca Gregorini’s treatment of motherhood in Emanuel and the Truth about Fishes. My primary beef was less with the inherent trauma at …