Author: Christina Tucker

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...

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Shimmer Lake is Shallow Tale of Small Town Crime

Overview: A small town police officer tries to apprehend three bank robbers, one of which is his brother; Footprint Features, Netflix; 2017; TV-MA; 86 minutes. A county that doesn’t get dead bodies: Officer Zeke Sikes (Benjamin Walker) is a police officer tasked with solving a small-town bank robbery that involves his brother, Andy (Rainn Wilson). The drama of Shimmer Lake takes place in a small town ill-prepared to handle serious crime, and uses this setting and the contradictions therein to address the cynicism of Sikes as he aims to understand the crime that has taken place. Oren Uziel’s Shimmer Lake...

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Vincent N Roxxy Abandons its Characters for Cartoonish Violence

Overview: An unlikely romance between Vincent, a young small-town loner and Roxxy, a young woman on the run, turns to tragedy when Roxxy’s past catches up with her. Unified Pictures; 2017; Rated R; 102 minutes. Tone Trouble: Stories of love between unlikely partners, while well-trodden territory, can always be approached in novel ways, especially if the partners in question provide something new in terms of an interesting dynamic, setting, or concept. Vincent N Roxxy desperately wants to put its leads through trauma and violence to heighten the emotional stakes; what begins as small-town romance with a retro sensibility becomes something...

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Dead Men Tell No Tales Struggles to Put to Rest a Once-Great Franchise

Overview: Jack Sparrow confronts a ghost from his past that seeks revenge. Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures; 2017; Rated PG-13; 129 minutes. Don’t Forget Your Old Shipmate: Led by Gore Verbinski’s vision, the first three Pirates of the Caribbean movies were marked by entertaining adventure sprinkled with well-integrated magic and inventive, ambitious visuals. The films explored piracy as a rejection of social expectations and moral simplicity, through eccentric and fascinating characters. After a disappointing fourth installment, the franchise seeks real closure in its fifth and final chapter. The way in which directors Joachin Rønning and Espen Sandberg and writer...

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‘Free Fire’ Sees Fear & Masculine Insecurity Beget Violence

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 subtle and character-focused exploration of violence and its causes. It is not surprising that the weapons...

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