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Sometimes the narrative surrounding a film threatens to supersede the film itself. The content and relative quality of the movie in question becomes secondary to a story about the movie’s process.

So it is with “All the Money in the World,” a dramatization of the real-life story of the kidnapping of John Paul Getty III, grandson to financial titan J. Paul Getty. But as rife with drama as that tale might be, it paled in comparison to the controversy that surrounded the film and the choices made to address that controversy.

Actor Kevin Spacey played the elder Getty in the movie as it was originally filmed, but following a slew of allegations of sexual assault and other misconduct, the decision was made to remove him from the film and replace him with Christopher Plummer. And despite an incredibly truncated timeline, director Ridley Scott managed to do just that while still sticking to the film’s announced release date.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 03 January 2018 13:49

‘Downsizing’ comes up short

Sometimes, a film is simply less than the sum of its parts.

Take “Downsizing.” This movie has everything you could want in terms of quality entertainment. You’ve got a talented writer-director auteur-type at the helm in Alexander Payne. You’ve got a top-tier movie star playing the lead in Matt Damon. You’ve got a dynamite high-concept premise that offers fertile ground for satire with room for both humor and hubris.

All the pieces are here. Unfortunately, “Downsizing” can’t figure out just how to put it all together, leading to a film filled with tonal inconsistencies resulting in a haphazard narrative. Instead of assembling one puzzle, this film tries for three or four different pictures; what we end up with is something muddled and more than a little frustrating.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 27 December 2017 13:50

‘The Disaster Artist’ anything but

James Franco shines behind, in front of the camera

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 27 December 2017 13:49

Voice change - ‘Pitch Perfect 3’

Comedy sequel strikes some odd notes

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 27 December 2017 13:47

‘The Greatest Showman’ not that great

Musical has its moments, but mostly falls short

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 20 December 2017 13:54

‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ far from least

There are few films as difficult to review as a “Star Wars” movie. There’s such a fine line that needs to be walked with regards to the narrative; no one wants to be responsible for spoiling any aspect of such an eagerly-anticipated cinematic experience. However, you also want to be able to convey your feelings about the movie in a manner that is both engaging and accurate.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 20 December 2017 13:51

Stop and smell the flowers with ‘Ferdinand’

Retelling of children’s classic offers sweet family fun

Published in Movies

Stories of loss are difficult to tell. Finding ways to convey the notion of grief without succumbing to sentimentality or devolving into the maudlin – particularly on-screen – can prove trying to even the most accomplished filmmaker.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 13 December 2017 13:07

‘Just Getting Started’ gets old fast

Recent years have seen a proliferation of cinematic subgenres that consist of “old person does X.” Sometimes it works – old guy action movies have become a personal favorite. Sometimes, however, it doesn’t – see the spate of old person comedies awash in hijinks and/or shenanigans. Those are occasionally OK, but for the most part, they tend to be dull, derivative or both, failing to do anything beyond lean on their thin premises and jab you in the ribs while suggestively waggling their eyebrows. 

Published in Movies

One of the most beloved holiday tales of all time is “A Christmas Carol.” The Charles Dickens classic has seen innumerable iterations on screen and stage alike – the story of Ebenezer Scrooge and his journey from miserable miser to generous gentleman is a constant at this time of year.

Published in Movies
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