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May 2021

Fleeing the Nest

Jonny Cournoyer/Paramount Pictures

A Quiet Place Part II (2021)

“A Quiet Place Part II” lives in the shadow of many great sci-fi horror flicks. Its predecessor revolved around blind creatures attracted to noises, like the cave dwellers in “The Descent,” but it felt original because of its theme of family dynamics related to responsibilities and guilt. The sequel seems to have drawn various plotlines from “The Walking Dead,” “Dawn of the Dead” and “Aliens.” It works for the most part, although it also feels comparatively derivative and tangential. Trailers and ads have played up the “Walking Dead” aspect, but it’s contained within only one scene.

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Inglorious Bastards

Focus Features

Final Account (2021)

The documentary “Final Account” tracks down about 20 members of the last generation of Germans and Austrians from the Third Reich to glean their recollections. The typical responses: 1. We didn’t know! Nobody knew! 2. Everybody knew, but we were too scared to talk about it! 3. Ashamed. 4. No regrets.

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Family Portrait

Andrew Macpherson/Amazon Studios

Pink: All I Know So Far (2021)

“Pink: All I Know So Far” is the cinematic equivalent of a fawning cover story from a magazine on display at the supermarket checkout aisle – not the tabloids; not Billboard; not Rolling Stone; but People, Us Weekly and Entertainment Weekly. The film follows 20 days out of the pop singer’s 19 month long “Beautiful Trauma” world tour with her husband, Carey Hart, and children, Willow and Jameson, in tow. Although Pink and Mr. Hart insist the 225 tour staff members are also family, none are interviewed on camera.

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Planet Bollywood

Courtesy photo

Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai (2021)

“Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai” adapts Kang Yoon-sung’s 2017 Korean film, “The Outlaws,” into a star vehicle for Salman Khan. As a turf war escalates between two rival gangs, a ruthless newcomer angles to take over. It’s up to the roguish cop, the titular Radhe (Mr. Khan), to restore peace. While the original was based on actual events that took place in 2004, the Bollywood remake seems so extravagant that few traces of reality remain. Both Radhe and the antagonist, Rana (Randeep Hooda), are utterly indestructible; this is precisely the kind of action flick that Takashi Miike had in mind when he made the cartoonish “Dead or Alive.”

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Second Fiddle

Anthony Courtney/Roadside Attractions

Finding You (2021)

“Finding You” is “Wolfwalkers” for adults: a fable set in a magical place called Ireland, where a homeless nuisance can be a master fiddler and a soul-searching American girl can fall in love with a Hollywood heartthrob. Beyond all the tourism board-approved scenic views you’ll discover an abundance of folk music, dancing, high crosses, ales and town tasties – or scones rather.

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Wedding Crashers

Golden Village Pictures

My Love (2021)

A near carbon-copy Chinese remake of “On Your Wedding Day,” Lee Seok-geun’s 2018 Korean film, Han Tian’s “My Love” manages to bottle the lightning a second time: It earned the equivalent of $21 million U.S. on its opening day and won the highly competitive Chinese Labor Day holiday box office over Zhang Yimou’s “Cliff Walkers.” Sweet, sentimental and occasionally funny, it’s the kind of romance that Hollywood has seemingly forgotten how to make.

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Working Girls

Alexander Bloom/Sundance Institute

Hive (2021)

Based on a true story, “Hive” reveals how women are shunned by Kosovan society when they attempt to do virtually anything – work, drive, start a business etc. Some women’s lives are on hold as they endlessly await word on the fates of their men – husbands, fathers and sons – missing due to the war with Serbia and presumed lying dead in some undisclosed mass grave. Per end titles, about 1,600 people from Kosovo remain unaccounted for two decades postwar. Still, traditional values dictate that these women survive on the paltry 30 euros monthly handouts from the government, lest they bring shame on their families by trying to make ends meet when the soldiers are not officially dead.

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Caught on Camera

Corey Hughes/Sundance Institute

All Light, Everywhere (2021)

“All Light, Everywhere” is an exposé on the police state that spotlights Axon, a company that offers a range of "public safety” products such as Tasers, police body cameras and drones. The documentary is so clinical in its depiction of the blind spots of surveillance that it sometimes recalls those unconscious-bias training videos some of your white colleagues love to complain about. But its revelations are nevertheless interesting, even if its approach is anything but.

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Far Upper West Side Story

Warner Brothers Pictures

In the Heights (2021)

Somewhere buried deep within the “In the Heights” movie adaptation is the story of a people who feel neither at home in America nor privy to the American dream. But you must look hard past the glossy, neon-lit music video treatment of the Broadway musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes.

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The Transporter

Christopher Raphael/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures

Wrath of Man (2021)

After a seemingly endless series of retreads (“Sherlock Holmes” times two, “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.,” “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” and . . . “Aladdin”?!), Guy Ritchie returned to mining his own oeuvre with 2019’s “The Gentlemen.” His latest, “Wrath of Man,” directly recalls one of his lesser known offerings, 2005’s “Revolver,” with Jason Statham navigating through some twisty shenanigans. But since it’s a remake of Nicolas Boukhrief’s 2004 film, “Cash Truck,” it too qualifies as a retread.

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