Author: Christina Tucker

All the Money in the World Touches Upon Tragedy But Can Resort to Moralizing

Overview: A tragic true story of the kidnapping of John Paul Getty III in 1973; Imperative Entertainment; 2017; Rated R; 133 minutes. “Why doesn’t your family love you?”: Ridley Scott’s All the Money in the World is the story of the kidnapping of John Paul Getty III in 1973, and his grandfather, J. Paul Getty, at the time the richest man in the world, who  refused to pay his ransom. Michelle Williams as Gail Harris, mother of John Paul Getty III (referred to as Paul) carries much of the film, and is always committed and often successful. Although her...

Read More

2017 Star of the Year: Greta Gerwig

Greta Gerwig brings a distinctly millennial character to her acting, full of realism, dry humor, and vulnerability, but without the same level of self-pity or biting cynicism that makes many of the young adult characters of our time feel grating or unlikable. Decidedly of her time, there is an unashamed sweetness in her acting that grounds often-messy characters in truthful humanity. Her acting style, with its awkwardness and downplayed humor, is easily undervalued. But to every character she plays, Gerwig brings a unique energy. In the past several years Gerwig has performed in and written some of the most...

Read More

The Last Jedi is a Mostly-Successful Exploration of Morality and Legacy

**CAUTION: SPOILERS AHEAD** Overview: The members of the Resistance struggle to stave off the quickly approaching First Order, and Rey seeks help from Luke Skywalker. Lucasfilm; 2017; Rated PG-13; 152 minutes. I came to this island to die: The Last Jedi is ambitious thematically, narratively, and visually. Numerous plotlines involving several new characters are explored in various locations, and although some feel vastly less successful than others, the heart of the film, as grounded in Rey, Luke, and Kylo Ren, and their struggles with the burden of the force, carries The Last Jedi to greater heights. Strongest and most...

Read More

The Original Star Wars Trilogy & Its Hopeful Hero

Originally published on March 23, 2017. Throughout the month of March, Audiences Everywhere will be sharing appreciation for film trilogies, including personal reflections from our writers on some of their favorites. Today, we’re discussing a singular hero’s role in perhaps the quintessential movie trilogy: Star Wars‘ Luke Skywalker… “I’m Never Gonna Get Out of Here” He’s Luke Skywalker, and he’s here to rescue you. Capable but physically unassuming—Obi Wan calls him “little one”—with blond, feathered hair and a too-big tunic. He’s a talented pilot, good with droids, and too short to be a stormtrooper. If there’s a bright center...

Read More

Free Will and the Destiny in our DNA: Blade Runner 2049 and Gattaca

Originally published on Ocdtober 24, 2017; republished in celebration of Director Ridley Scott’s 80th birthday.This article contains spoilers for Blade Runner 2049. Sci-Fi and Social Mobility Dystopian societies in fiction are generally rife with metaphors for obstacles to social mobility, a lack of individuality, and the suppression of free will. Our hero generally starts as a faceless, nameless player within a strict social structure who adheres to the rules, until they rebel, realize their potential, and break from the mold, possibly to bring down a restrictive regime. But the underlying themes and metaphors present in these types of stories vary...

Read More

Now Available on Amazon Prime: Free Fire Sees Fear & Masculine Insecurity Beget Violence

Originally published on April 24, 2017. Free Fire is now available on Amazon Prime’s streaming service. Overview:  In 1978, a weapons deal in a warehouse quickly goes wrong, and a shootout ensues when everyone present tries to defend themselves. A24; 2016; Rated R; 90 minutes. “It’s too late, I’ve been insulted”: In 1978, a weapons deal goes wrong. There is no on screen information to give a date, time, or location. We can glean as much as it necessary from visual cues and exposition. Free Fire’s premise could be handled in many ways, and Ben Wheatley chooses an impressively...

Read More

Kingsman: The Golden Circle is Fun but Empty

Overview: After the Kingsman headquarters is destroyed, the remaining Kingsmen are forced to seek out their American counterparts, the Statesman, to stop a dangerous threat. Twentieth Century Fox; 2017; Rated R; 141 Minutes. “Now I’ve Got Wings”: Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman: The Secret Service was creative, irreverent, well-crafted parody that still managed to have a sweetness to it, courtesy of its protagonist Eggsy (Taron Egerton). The sincerity and heart present in the chaos and parody in the original Kingsman came from Eggsy’s origin story, from an aimless working-class boy to an English gentleman spy, guided by his mentors Harry Hart (Colin...

Read More

In The Vault, Poor Creative Choices Add Up to a Weak Horror Film

Overview: A bank robbery quickly goes south due to mysterious, supernatural forces within the bank. FilmRise; 2017; Not Rated; 91 minutes. “We’re not alone”: In Dan Bush’s The Vault, siblings Michael Dillon (Scott Haze), Vee Dillon (Taryn Manning), and Leah Dillon (Francesca Eastwood) commit a bank robbery in order to help Michael Dillon pay back an ambiguously unsavory debt. In the process, the truth about the bank come to light and leads to chaos and carnage. Among those held hostage in the bank are assistant manager Ed Mass (James Franco) and head bank teller Susan Cromwell (Q’orianka Kilcher). While the...

Read More

Atonement: Lies, Stories, and Art as Penitence

“I wouldn’t necessarily believe everything Briony tells you. She’s rather fanciful.” Briony Tallis (Saoirse Ronan), from the beginning to the end of Atonement, is a person whose life is consumed by fabrication. Beyond her interest in writing plays and later, books, her affinity for fanciful stories and archetypal characters bleeds into her real life; Briony manipulates events around her, crafting narratives out of the “characters” she sees as an author would, leading to tragedy for those around her. Briony writes a play, The Trials of Arabella, inspired by her sister Cecilia and the tension she shares with Robbie, the...

Read More

Logan Lucky is Well-acted, Sharply Written, and Sweet

Overview:  The Logan siblings attempt to pull off a heist during a major NASCAR race in North Carolina; Bleecker Street; 2017; Rated R; 119 minutes. “Ocean’s 7-Eleven”: Logan Lucky is Steven Soderbergh’s first theatrical feature since Side Effects (2013), and is a welcome return to the format for the experienced director. With writer Rebecca Blunt (the pseudonym of a currently-unknown writer who could be anyone from Soderbergh’s wife Jules Asner to Soderbergh himself) Soderbergh has created a character-driven heist film that is both genuinely hysterical and avoids taking the easiest, most obvious routes in terms of plot, humor, and characterization....

Read More

Ingrid Goes West Explores the Lunacy of Social Media Obsession

Overview:  After the death of her mother, Ingrid decides to travel West and become friends with a young woman she follows on Instagram. Neon; 2017; Rated R; 97 minutes. Tastemakers: Ingrid Goes West, director and co-writer Matt Spicer’s first feature length film, is remarkably specific, a millennial’s film, largely in the best sense; it is slickly made, full to the brim with cultural references and irony but also remains emotionally vulnerable and sincere. Ingrid Goes West avoids being broad parody or a mean-spirited of youthful naiveté in general, and instead integrates the amount of contemporary detail that grounds its characters...

Read More

Lady Macbeth is a Beautiful, Bleak Story of Desperation and Cruelty

Overview: In 19th century England, a young bride struggles against the confinement of an abusive marriage. BBC Films; 2016; 89 minutes. I’m thick-skinned: Lady Macbeth explores with quiet subtlety and complexity a protagonist, Katherine (Florence Pugh), who is mistreated and cruel, sympathetic and reprehensible. Its story, based on a 1865 novella Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District, could be considered pulpy; a sexual thriller complete with adultery, clandestine affairs with an attractive farmhand (Cosmo Jarvis’ Sebastian), a young woman’s exploration of her sexuality, and eventually murder. But it is presented with absolute austerity that draws the viewer in and...

Read More

New on Amazon Prime Instant Streaming: 20th Century Women & The Distance Between American Generations

Originally published on January 30, 2017. 20th Century Women is now available on Amazon Prime’s instant streaming service. Overview: In 1979 Santa Barbara, single mother Dorothea struggles to raise her son Jaime and seeks the help of two young women. A24; 2016; Rated R; 118 minutes. Mama Can’t Buy You Love: Director and writer Mike Mills, recently nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, has more than proven his mastery of incorporating personal yet universal themes in his work. Mike Mills’ most recent feature, Beginners (2010) was simple yet profound, heartbreaking yet hopeful, and creatively crafted. 20th...

Read More

A Look Back at Don Siegel’s The Beguiled

Overview: After a girls’ seminary school in rural Mississippi, allegiances are tested and a seemingly idyllic community devolves into jealousy and violence. Universal Pictures; 1971; 105 minutes. Take a lesson by me: Miss Martha Farnsworth Seminary for Young Ladies exists as a microcosm of the rural Mississippi society in which they live with one major difference: there are no men. The eponymous Martha Farnsworth (Geraldine Page) is strict and harsh with the children, patronizing with the teacher Edwina (Elizabeth Hartman), and Hallie (Mae Mercer) their slave, lives as a second-class citizen on the grounds. Despite some petty arguments, those at...

Read More

The Bad Batch is Disjointed and Aimless

Overview: A young woman challenges overwhelming desperation and violence in a dystopian wasteland. Annapurna; 2017; Rated R; 115 minutes. “We ain’t good, we’re bad”: The plot of The Bad Batch, the sophomore feature from Writer-Director Ana Lily Amirpour, is not difficult to follow. A young woman, Arlen (Suki Waterhouse), lost in the desert, loses her arm and leg to cannibals in a community called The Bridge. She escapes, murders a woman in revenge, and then aims to repent by caring for that woman’s daughter Honey (Jayda Fink). Meanwhile the young girl’s father Miami Man (Jason Momoa) searches for her. The...

Read More
  • 1
  • 2