In its broad strokes, it sounds like something you’ve seen before – a quartet of friends resort to slinging molly, hoping for a path out of their rotting neighborhood – but it’s a lived-in, breathed-in movie, filled with atmospheric details, unexpected characters, and a striking authenticity. …Read More
Michael K. Williams
I’ve never tried to hold a smirk for over two hours. After watching Matt Piedmont and Andrew Steele’s The Spoils Before Dying, however, I can say for sure that someone has attempted it. The experience of witnessing this attempt oscillates between being surprisingly delightful and, as expected, insipid.
Fiction films can be a trickier proposition at the Tribeca Film Festival than their nonfiction counterparts; for some time the fest had a reputation as a home for pictures that made the slate for the movie stars they’d put on the red carpet rather than the quality they’d put on the screen. That rep has fallen away in recent years, bolstered by a stronger slate of under-the-radar indies and faves from other festivals. Here’s a look at the 22 new narrative movies your film editor saw, and how they stack …Read More
There is a scene, late in Rupert Wyatt’s new remake of The Gambler, where Mark Wahlberg is getting a serious beating. This isn’t unusual in the back half of the picture, during which Wahlberg sports a steadily pulpier mug, but he does something interesting in the midst of the trouncing: he leans into it. On one hand, that’s entirely in character, all of a piece with the self-destructive instincts of his character, an ultra-privileged nihilist with a serious gambling problem. On the other, it’s a metaphor for what Mark Wahlberg is doing as an actor with The Gambler, a film where he plays — get ready — an English literature professor.
“Get yourself ahead,” Nucky Thompson muses after a drink or seven. “For what, though? For what? No one ever talks about that.” Boardwalk Empire, like so many other antihero shows, is not exactly known for celebrating high-minded idealism over moral ambiguity—which is exactly what makes “The Devil You Know” such a standout episode. Character deaths are hardly unusual, and par for the course in the run-up to a series finale. But characters asking what’s worth dying for, and who deserves to die, and for what? For a show centered around someone as stubbornly amoral as Nucky, that’s as far off course as it gets.
Paul Thomas Anderson took five years to make his 2007 oil epic There Will Be Blood. He took another five years to make 2012’s Scientology-inspired The Master. He banged out his adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice in two, and you can feel the difference—in the best possible way. The two films that preceded it marked the filmmaker’s transition from wunderkind to Serious Artist; by turns wrenching, challenging, and borderline impenetrable, they plunged the depths of American history and the American soul. Vice, by contrast, is a slang-y, breezy lark, a picture whose two-and-a-half-hour running time, Oscar-friendly release date, and premiere as the Centerpiece selection at the New York Film Festival make it sound like a more important movie than it is—or, more importantly, than Anderson seems to think it is. After a decade spent making two films that are like pressure cookers, he was clearly ready to blow off some steam.