Sunday, August 7, 2016

Film Reviews: August 7, 2016

Here is a summary of the films reviewed on today's show:
  • Despite some logical flaws, Captain Fantastic is a smart story of a family trying to live a genuinely countercultural life. The movie is able to dramatize that experience while illuminating our culture’s shortcomings and this family drama presents us with some interesting and complicated questions about how we live our lives. 
  • Jason Bourne is a competent action film but it doesn’t have the edge that distinguished the first three Bourne films. It’s obvious that the filmmakers are at a loss for what to do and the movie retreads the franchise’s greatest hits.
  • Nerve is frequently ridiculous but it is also fun. As a teenage coming of age story and a techno thriller the movie succeeds more than it fails and the filmmakers successfully channel the cultural zeitgeist the way John Hughes did in the 1980s and Kevin Williamson did in the 1990s.
  • The Game is a movie that plays with the audience’s expectations in a way that is very satisfying. Those who delight in the art of illusion will find The Game to be a fun head trip and the movie is very interesting entry in David Fincher’s filmography.

You can find full text of every review in the Sounds of Cinema Review Archive.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Film Reviews: July 31, 2016

Here is a summary of the films reviewed on today's show:
  •  Star Trek Beyond is a satisfying sci-fi action picture. It’s not much more than that and Beyond lacks much of what was interesting about Star Trek and set it apart from other sci-fi properties. But as mainstream popcorn entertainment the movie works.
  •  Lights Out is a fun supernatural horror picture. It’s not an especially memorable movie and it is firmly within the realm of PG-13 horror but this is an efficient and enjoyable exercise in gotcha scares.
  •  The Secret Life of Pets is an entertaining animated picture. The movie is well below the bar set by its competition such as Zootopia and Finding Dory but it ought to satisfy families looking for an evening at the movies.
  • There is a serious documentary to be made about the failures of Hillary Clinton and the complicated history of the Democratic Party but Hillary’s America is not it. This is another clumsy attempt at political relevance by a pseudo-intellectual who is not the least bit interested in truth or democracy but only in shoring up his brand for his next exercise in cinematic and political hackery. 
  • The original Manchurian Candidate was a product of a particular time and it was highly unusual in 1962 both thematically and cinematically. For those reasons alone it is significant. The film remains an intelligent and subversive thriller that unsettles in the way it taps into unconscious fears about authority and autonomy. 

You can find full text of every review in the Sounds of Cinema Review Archive.