Star Trek Beyond

Star Trek Beyond

Directed by Justin Lin

2016

Star Trek Beyond, based on Gene Rodenberry’s 1966 television series, is a science fiction action film that recounts an adventure of the USS Enterprise and the third movie in the reboot series. Star Trek Beyond admirably resists J. J. Abrams’s Star Treks’ irritating attempts to create realism and dramatic stakes through an artificial gritty darkness, but it still feels like film by numbers. The tin-eared dialogue, unevenly gifted cast, and mostly perfunctory action sequences make it difficult to appreciate Star Trek Beyond’s occasionally inspired set pieces and return to the franchise’s original optimism.

Would not see.

 

Advertisements

The Bad Sleep Well

The Bad Sleep Well

Directed by Akira Kurosawa

1960

The Bad Sleep Well is a Japanese language thriller about revenge and corporate corruption. The film is occasionally sentimental and the female characters are thinly sketched, but it is still a great film. The Bad Sleep Well’s plot moves both unexpectedly and inevitably to its stark conclusion and pointed social criticism.

Must see.

The Most Beautiful

The Most Beautiful

Directed by Akira Kurosawa

1944

The Most Beautiful is a Japanese language drama set in an optics factory during the Second World War. The film is propagandistic and mawkish. The Most Beautiful is watchable and sometimes enjoyable, but it is ultimately better seen as historical artifact than art.

Would not see.

Café Society

Café Society

Directed by Woody Allen

2016

Café Society is a romantic comedy-drama set in 1930s Hollywood and New York City. The film has occasional glints of ambition, but seems mostly content to be good enough. Like many of his recent films, Café Society is filled with contrived situations, stilted dialogue, funny one liners, and a multitude of Woody Allen stand-ins rather than differentiated characters. Café Society is an entertaining and occasionally thoughtful look at an idealized past and the pain of time’s passage.

Would see.

Sanshiro Sugata Part II

Sanshiro Sugata Part II

Directed by Akira Kurosawa

1945

Sanshiro Sugata Part II, based on Tsuneo Tomita’s novel and a sequel to Sanshiro Sugata, is a martial arts film. The film is frustratingly propagandistic and limited by the technology of its time. Sanshiro Sugata Part II evinces Kurosawa’s skill at pacing action and choreographing movement, but presages little of his later brilliance.

Would not see.

One Wonderful Sunday

One Wonderful Sunday

Directed by Akira Kurosawa

1947

One Wonderful Sunday is a Japanese language film that tracks the day in the life of a young and impoverished Japanese couple in Tokyo. Sentimental, plodding, and didactic, One Wonderful Sunday feels much longer than its 108 minute run time. The film is rightfully one of Kurosawa’s lesser known.

Would not see.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Directed by Taika Waititi

2016

Hunt for the Wilderpeople, based on the book Wild Pork and Watercress by Barry Crump, is an adventure comedy drama that follows a child and his cantankerous foster uncle as they travel in the New Zealand bush. Occasionally sentimental, but often quite funny, Hunt for the Wilderpeople is far better than one would expect from its unlikely friendship between a grumpy old man and a persistent child premise. The film isn’t groundbreaking, but it’s eminently enjoyable.

Would see.