The true-life tale, directed by Whale Rider's Niki Caro and featuring Kevin Costner as the harried coach of an underdog cross country team in California's Central Valley, tells its by-the-bootstraps story so winningly that, predictable though it may be, it's still hard not to find it thoroughly rousing.
Truth in advertising. Damian Szifron's Wild Tales is exactly that: an anthology of surprising and unexpectedly wild short stories. Though it feels like there's going to be a connection, the individual stories share neither characters nor plotlines. Instead, they align along a similar theme: revenge, with an occasional overlay of class struggle.
For several days now, I've been struggling to understand why I'm so out of the loop on this one. It's not because I don't like experimental films or Richard Linklater. I didn't like Boyhood because it wasted my time with mostly unlikable characters, generally bad storytelling, and a whole lot of nothing.
When James Bond rebooted with Daniel Craig in Casino Royale, the blend of old-school spy tale and modern-action sensibility seemed right -- if still a little restrained. Imagine now what would happen if James Bond were put in the hands of someone who was willing to not just rethink the secret-agent film but blow it up all together.
Unfortunately for the filmmakers, the audience, and (given the $175 mil price tag) the studio, Jupiter Ascending isn't exactly the second coming they were hoping for. Instead, it's a melange of misplaced ambition that's asphyxiated by tangled plot threads that are at once overcooked and undernourished.