Daredevil: Eps 5-8

The first quartet of Daredevil episodes had trouble finding their footing.  The dedication to violence and darkness, both visual and narrative, were in place, but the unspooling of the story seemed uneven, supporting characters Foggy and Karen were more annoying than interesting, and the...

Tomorrowland

Tomorrowland is about finding hope in a creative future, and believing we can build that future, yet the entire 130-minute extravaganza boils down to a protracted fight in which a technological strawman becomes the enemy, excusing all human failing, and is destroyed purely through violence. * * * Tomorrowland Director: Brad Bird Starring: George Clooney, Britt Robertson, Raffey Cassidy, Hugh Laurie, Thomas Robinson Review: 3 stars (of five) Tomorrowland fails as a story because it is facile, smug and hypocritical. It blasts society at large for giving up on the future to wallow in negativity and dystopia while ignoring real crises—then...

Avengers: Age of Ult...

Spectacle fatigue cripples Avengers: Age of Ultron. While the film delivers too much of what the audience demands to rate it a complete failure, it cannot be called a good film story.  While it succeeds as a commercial product and in terms of  technical craftsmanship, it fails as...

Daredevil (Episodes 1-4)

Less of a binge watch, more of an IV drip approach to entertainment, but there’s plenty of room on the bandwagon … Netflix’s Daredevil series is an interesting exercise in TV storytelling.  A show meant to be binge-watched unfolds more like chapters of a novel, rather than interconnected but self-contained short stories, the way most shows would. Daredevil (2015) Created by Drew Goddard Starring: Charlie Cox, Rosario Dawson, Vincent D’Onofrio, Deborah Ann Woll, Elden Henson, Vondie Curtis-Hall Review (Eps 1-4, collectively): 3 stars (of five) While a standard TV pilot tries to cram in everything the show hopes to...

The Age of Adaline

Too often lately, I find myself engaged by the actors on the screen or by the sure hand of the director, while the story itself drags the film down. Such was the problem with last week’s debut of True Story, and such was the case when I recently streamed the Wong Kar-Wai epic The...

True Story

What True Story has going for it is its actors and its directors.  Well-shot, well-acted, it’s a film you really want to like, but the story doesn’t hold together in a satisfying way.  Jonah Hill, James Franco and Felicity Jones give excellent performances–Hill’s a...

The Grandmaster

[Badmouth On Demand:  Occasional reviews of films on DVD/streaming services.] 2013’s The Grandmaster is a recent manifestation of director Wong Kar-Wai’s striking visual sense, but it might be a hard film for Western audiences, at least, to connect with. The Grandmaster (2013) Directed...

Force Majeure

This quiet Swedish film from 2014 is an emotional powerhouse, centering on the unraveling of a young married couple in the wake of a crisis. Centering on Lisa Lovern Kongsli’s Ebba, writer/director Ruben Östlund crafts an amazing journey through intense awkwardness and squirmish...