Category: Drama

“This is the Night”

7.2

This is one of the strangest films of the year. By a long shot. Who pitched this?

With the subtlety of a punch to the face, this moving tells the tale of a city coming together to worship their adopted messiah, Rocky Balboa. In a better mob movie than “The Many Saints of Newark,” we follow a wannabe restaurant (or catering business) owner rising against his childhood nemesis while his sons conquer their own adversaries, all connecting with the eye of the tiger fighting spirit of the Italian Stallion.

Yo Adrian. This movie is absolutely ridiculous, but it’s got heart. It’s got a lot of fight left in it. It’ll leave you in disbelief of your own inspiration as the credits roll. Looking for something off the wall? There’s nothing more random than round-the-clock screenings of Rocky 3 bringing a community together. Gotta love the power of cinema.

Spoiler alert: My man gets the girl.

“Dune”

7.3

The prodigal son is cast out into the desert. Let me guess, for 40 days?

Yes, the Jesus metaphor is that on the nose for all 3 hours of the runtime.

I went into this film expecting spectacle, and spectacle I got. All three stories of the IMAX screen were bathed in the cinematic beauty of this film. The score crafted by the masterful Hans Zimmer thundering through my chest… all for me to leave the theater underwhelmed and confused. Similar to the “Hobbit” series, “Dune” attempted to be too careful not to overwhelm the audience with lore and instead errors on the side of feeling ultimately empty. The disbelief and shock on my face when I was greeted with “Part 1” immediately after the title flashed across the screen must have been a sight to see.

This cake is all frosting. Somewhere between “Star Wars” and “Mad Max,” the world they build is breathtaking. Then there’s nothing really behind the curtain. I felt like they were trying to avoid the cramped confusion of the cult-classic original film adaptation and overcorrected.

If you don’t care about the story, have at it. Just don’t disrespect it by watching on a TV or, God forbid, a mobile device. Highly recommend the most massive screen possible for the spectacle factor. Here’s to, I guess, hoping there’s enough box office success for them to fill in the gaps in part 2.

“Many Saints of Newark”

6.7

If there was such a thing as a “Goodfellas” cover band… this would be it.

They check off all of the boxes for “making a mob movie,” but with little to no creativity. Almost purely riding the coattails of the legendary series. It was cool that they cast Michael Gandolfini to play Tony Soprano, but that was about all of the novelty you get here.

“The Card Counter”

7.9

“Any man can tilt.”

An Abu Ghraib movie the weekend of the 20th anniversary of 9/11. Ballsy move, but one I think pays off by the time the credits roll. What begins as “Molly’s Game” quickly turns into an Oliver Stone documentary, pulling back the curtain on the complicated nature of morality, the role of the United States in history, and the human costs of war. Oscar Isaac and Tiffany Haddish cement themselves as leading cast members. A masterclass in framing, tension building, and impactful filmmaking.

“Old”

6.4

I feel like I aged 57 years watching this movie, so it was a fitting storyline…

The cinematography is gorgeous. The story has such potential. That being said, you’ll be rolling your eyes by the third act. It’s the ending. AGAIN! There doesn’t need to be a life-altering twist at the end. Every time. Another swing for the fences, another pop-fly caught for an unexciting out. I didn’t want to attend a 2-hour medical ethics lecture, movie! And anyone who thought this beach wasn’t going to have weird things happen is insane and deserves everything that happens to them.

Annoying characters, predictable story, and an ending that will leave you rolling your eyes.