In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply pointed stories about women's lives. So this drama weaves together three narratives with distinct female perspectives. Based on short stories by Maile Meloy, these tales only barely intersect, but they echo similar themes in a striking rural Montana setting.
In the central story, Beth (Kristen Stewart) is a young lawyer who drives four hours twice a week to teach a night class, where she develops a fan in a young rancher (Lily Gladstone) who has a secret crush on her. Meanwhile, Laura (Laura Dern) is another lawyer representing an injured worker (Jared Harris) who took a small financial settlement before learning that he would never physically recover. And then there's Gina (Michelle Williams), who is building a home in a gorgeous location with her strained husband (James Le Gros) and surly teen daughter (Sara Rodier). They need a pile of old sandstone that has been sitting for some 50 years next to the home of a man (Rene Aberjonois) everyone's afraid to talk to.
All of this is set against Montana's big-sky landscapes, sumptuously captured on-screen by cinematographer Christopher Blauvelt. Everything is crisp and wintry, and Reichardt cleverly designs the film in a simplistic, insightful way that quietly focusses on unspoken interaction between the characters. Yes, much of this movie is completely silent, as these women consider the realities of their lives. This of course allows the actresses to make the most of their characters, adding weight and depth to each scene, often without saying a word.
Continue reading: Certain Women Review
The story involves young Haru (voiced for the States by Anne Hathaway), who rescues a helpless cat from an oncoming truck, only to find herself in the debt of a feline kingdom she formerly didn't know existed. Haru is awakened one night by a bizarre procession on her street: It's the king of the cats (Tim Curry), bearing gifts. Before she knows it, she's whisked into the world of the cats, where she is transformed into a half-cat/half-person, and is told she will be marrying the cat she saved, who turns out to be the cat prince.
Continue reading: The Cat Returns Review
For a relentlessly unoriginal, pandering and predictable, two-and-a-half hour Revolutionary War epic that white-washes slavery, chooses exaggerated slow-motion action over any interest in historical accuracy and is helmed by a director who has demonstrated little talent for anything but overblown textbook filmmaking, "The Patriot" isn't a bad movie.
It's a mimeographed knock-off of "Braveheart" in buckskin vests and powdered wigs, but that doesn't seem to bother Mel Gibson, who won an Oscar for directing that film and stars in this one as another tread-upon colonial who takes up arms against England for his nation's freedom.
A hero of the French and Indian War who has since pledged to raise his children as a pacifist plantation farmer in South Carolina, Benjamin Martin (Gibson) is an amalgam of real revolutionary war figures, fantasized by screenwriter Robert Rodat ("Saving Private Ryan") as a politically correct hero who is a wonderful widower father, who communes with the natives (he's versed in the deadly use of a Tomahawk hatchet), who employs his plantation workers instead of enslaving them, and who takes up arms again only after a stuffy, sadistic redcoat Colonel named Tavington (Jason Issacs) kills one of his sons in cold blood when he finds Martin's home filled with rebel soldiers receiving first aid after a battle.
Continue reading: The Patriot Review
In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...