Luc Besson’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (Valerian from here on out) is a hallucinogenic science fiction epic that, despite its many flaws, manages to be a fun excursion into outer space.
To be sure, Roman Holiday is a well-made movie, based on a clever, but simple, premise by legendary screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, directed to great effect by the legendary William Wyler, with striking visual style (most notably on display in the scooter sequence) following an exciting romp through the city of Rome, and featuring a charming performance by the debonair Gregory Peck. However, without question, Roman Holiday succeeds largely on the back of the breathtakingly, achingly endearing Audrey Hepburn.
Swedish director Ruben Östlund’s idiosyncratic vision may not be for everyone, but there’s no denying that it’s bold and original; his is a challenging lens, one which is darkly comedic, questioning, dizzyingly suspenseful, but ultimately satisfying if somewhat bewildering. Coming out of his Palme d’Or-winning 2017 feature, The Square, I couldn’t help but feel this entire wide array of emotions, even as I felt that I may not have “gotten” Östlund’s vision.
Battle of the Sexes is two movies that have seemingly been combined together in a way that really shouldn’t work, and yet it does. This is largely on the strength of an excellent lead performance by Emma Stone as tennis legend Billie Jean King, as well as a strong supporting cast.
Billy Wilder’s Some Like It Hot is a classically hilarious romp built upon a premise that, all things considered, hasn’t aged well at all. And yet, thanks to Billy Wilder’s excellent sense of comic timing, as well as fantastic lead performances by Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis, this movie feels fresh and vivid even nearly 60 years after its original release.
Lemmon and Curtis may be the stars of the show, but Marilyn Monroe is easily the most captivating actor in Some Like It Hot, delivering an all-timer sultry performance that won’t be easily forgotten.
Ultimately this film, despite its many signs of age, proves to hold up.
“Nobody’s perfect” is the perfect line for this film to end on, too, with absolutely top-notch delivery from Joe E. Brown.
Between The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow crafted two of the most important statements on post-9/11 America, despite neither film taking place in America itself. While The Hurt Locker presents the audience with a more palatable message, in a more accessible package, for my money, it’s Zero Dark Thirty that is the more well-made, well-crafted film, a film that raises more questions than it answers, that spotlights much of American foreign policy since 9/11 through the lens of the chase for Osama bin Laden.
Kathryn Bigelow’s bold cinematic return after seven years out of the director’s chair, and the first in a series of collaborations with screenwriter Mark Boal, The Hurt Locker is one of the best depictions of life in the Iraq war, as told through the eyes of an explosive ordnance disposal team.