Rachel McAdams

‘The Little Prince’ is an uneven, but not meritless, adaptation

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s 1943 novella The Little Prince has long been acclaimed as a masterpiece of children’s literature, and rightfully so. In spite of the book’s ostensible target audience, Saint-Exupéry tackles adult themes such as mortality and fidelity with the same gusto with which he handles more childish whimsy. The remarkable cohesiveness of the two approaches has largely contributed to the novella’s staying power and broad appeal.

True Detective, Ep. 2.08, “Omega Station”

In the end, so many of the issues emblematic of the season at large caught up to each other to form one long, rough, near-painful season finale of True Detective. The disconnect between each of the four main characters turns into a huge distraction as the finale moves along, whereas previously in the season it was more of an annoying distraction. Ani’s reaction to the news of Paul’s death, so shocked she acts as if someone just punched her in the gut, comes off as the most fake character moment among many similar scenes. She and Ray barely knew Paul and definitely didn’t care enough to start a dialogue about his personal life at any time. The fact that his death would warrant any reaction beyond, “that means we’re next on the hit list” is delusional on the show’s part and supposes that Ani’s reaction mirrors how the audience is feeling at the same time. This also carries over to Ray’s commitment to avenging Paul’s death. Paul may have had their backs at certain points, but at no time did the team ever have the chance to bond more than superficially on the job and they certainly did not like each other enough as a group to sacrifice lives to avenge one another. The show wants the audience to feel a certain way about the action and deaths in this episode, but doesn’t shape the story to elicit those feelings.

True Detective, Ep. 2.07, “Black Maps and Motel Rooms”

That is not the type of penultimate episode that True Detective needs right now. After a rollercoaster of quality over the last handful of episodes, this second to last installment is decidedly one of the lesser entries of the season.

True Detective, Ep. 2.06, “Church in Ruins”

The good news is that the so-called “orgy episode” of this season is not nearly as gratuitous and exploitative of women as it could have been in a worst case scenario. The bad news is that it is still pretty gratuitous and unnecessary once it is made clear what exactly the show is trying to accomplish throughout the party.

‘Southpaw’ features another knockout Jake Gyllenhaal performance

All boxing films come down to three storylines, or all three wrapped in one—get beaten, get angry, get back to the top. Eighty years have passed since Wallace Beery made The Champ and Southpaw doesn’t try to rewrite the formula. It’s not a surprise, Barton Fink broke himself that way.

True Detective, Ep. 2.05, “Other Lives”

The only truly frustrating part about “Other Lives” is that if the entire season to this point had been even a fraction as good, so many of the acting missteps and story misjudgments could have been more easily forgiven. Much of what works in this fifth installment of the season are things that could have been easily fixed before filming a second episode after the premiere, which is all the more infuriating now that things are even marginally smoothed out.

‘A Most Wanted Man’ is not so wanted after all in this stillborn spy thriller

In Anton Corbijn’s foreign espionage thriller A Most Wanted Man, the late Philip Seymour Hoffman lends his take on an unconventional looking German intelligence agent, one without the usual dashing attributes associated with cinematic spies. Although sprinkled with cerebral-minded intrigue and conducting its atmospheric tension in methodical fashion, A Most Wanted Man feels relentlessly sluggish in its execution to live up to its labored political-coated drama. This low-energy, plodding spy showcase has its isolated highlights in sleek suspense, but fails to drive home any genuine revelations about its touchy subject matter regarding counter-intelligence suspicion and terrorist paranoia. Despite solid and committed performances, it’s a slow burn of a thriller that simply lingers without fortifying any convincing punch.

‘A Most Wanted Man’ features a superb Hoffman performance

Throughout the beginning of Anton Corbijn’s A Most Wanted Man, it is hard to ignore that there are only a handful of upcoming performances left from Philip Seymour Hoffman in this world. The actor’s untimely death earlier this year left a hole in the world of cinema, one that will not be filled anytime soon. Hoffman was a character actor who managed to become an A-lister, without ever losing his chameleon-like ability to channel whatever or whomever he wanted.

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