“Mara and Affleck star as a couple torn asunder by his untimely death, with Affleck hanging around the house for an eternity afterward wearing a morgue sheet over his head like a Peanuts cartoon. Somehow this silly image grows to be quite plaintive and moving, with an element of deadpan Kabuki in the wry observations of a world that refuses to stop turning.” – WBUR’s The ARTery, 12/22/2017
“Playing a suave negotiator who speaks multiple languages, Wahlberg’s lunkhead line-readings elicited titters of laughter at the advance screening I attended. There are still a few days left before the movie opens, so maybe Ridley has time to replace him with Clive Owen, Michael Fassbender or anyone who actually might make sense in the role.” – WBUR’s The ARTery, 12/22/2017
“The film luxuriates in the sun-kissed settings, languorous and largely devoid of conflict. Adapted by 89-year-old screenwriter James Ivory, it exhibits that specific brand of watchable, genteel restraint that made Merchant Ivory the arthouse Marvel Studios of the 1980s and ‘90s. It’s the kind of movie that discreetly pans to billowing curtains during a sex scene.” – WBUR’s The ARTery, 12/22/2017
“The movie pretty much drops the whole shrinking business altogether to focus on Damon’s sudden discovery of an underclass. Payne’s early, acidic satires like Citizen Ruth and Election used to skewer this exact sort of self-congratulatory, limousine liberal BS. The filmmaker’s softening over the years has been one of cinema’s slow-motion tragedies.” – WBUR’s The ARTery, 12/22/2017
“I’m pretty sure there’s an audience for this deliberately naïve, pie-eyed, old-fashioned musical celebrating the life of P.T. Barnum as a ‘Hey, let’s put on a show!’ tribute to outcasts and oversized dreams. But I’m even surer that I’m not a part of that audience, given how much of the running time I spent groaning with my face buried in my hands.” – WBUR’s The ARTery, 12/22/2017
“The movie feels at odds with itself, chiding the audience for disrespecting Harding’s underprivileged background while at the same time chock full of sight gags sniggering at poor people. There’s also a thuddingly obvious collection of needle-drop soundtrack cues so on-the-nose I left the theater wishing someone could have kneecapped the music supervisor.” – WBUR’s The ARTery, 12/21/2017
STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI * * * *
Starring Mark Hamill, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac and Carrie Fisher. Written and directed by Rian Johnson.