Ryan Gosling, Corey Stoll, and Lukas Haas in Damien Chazelle’s First Man.
“First Man is a big film about the small things that went into an enormous event.
It’s no spoiler that the climax here is Neil Armstrong’s 1969 walk on the moon. For the first 90 minutes, though, First Man holds back on the inherent drama of that premise.
It follows Neil (Ryan Gosling) as he makes his way through the NASA ranks, and at home as he mourns the death of his young daughter. It spends time on a bunch of promising missions that go nowhere, and on complex questions the engineers will have to solve. There’s some action sprinkled in there, and a few precious moments of euphoria. Mostly, it’s sweating the small stuff.
That choice is puzzling at first, even frustrating: We know the guy gets to the moon, so let’s get on with it already! Why are we wasting time with all this minutiae?
But those tedious concerns and disappointing dead ends are exactly the point. First Man is about work, and more specifically about the enormous amount of work (and luck) that goes into an achievement as momentous as the moon landing. It demands patience, but it gave back what I put into it several times over.
Director Damien Chazelle keeps his eye on the unromantic details that usually get glossed over in retellings of historical events. Literally: Much of this movie is composed of shots of dials, switches, and the top half of Gosling’s face……………………..”
What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali review – from prodigy to legend
Part one of Antoine Fuqua’s film shows the transformation within a decade from 12-year-old boxing novice Cassius Clay into the heavyweight champion of the world
“I asked my mother when I went to church on Sunday: ‘Why is everything white? What happened to all the black angels?’”
So Muhammad Ali told an interviewer, before giving a knowing look and – boom! – the punchline. “Black angels are in the kitchen preparing milk and honey.”
Saving Private Ryan review war epic still hits with sledgehammer force
The trauma of war is made viscerally clear in Steven Spielbergs dazzling fusion of audacity, action and poignant human drama
“A present participle in the title usually promises a film with light, ironical flavour: Driving Miss Daisy, Being John Malkovich, Breakin 2: Electric Boogaloo. Not here. Screenwriter Robert Rodat imagined this colossal second world war blockbuster with absolute seriousness, loosely inspired by the real-life case of Sgt Frederick Niland, recalled to the US from the Normandy campaign on emergency compassionate grounds because all his brothers were believed (wrongly, as it turned out) to have been killed in action.
With this movie, re-released 21 years on, Steven Spielberg created one of his greatest films, an old-fashioned war picture to rule them all gripping, utterly uncynical, with viscerally convincing and audacious battle sequences. It was a staggeringly effective action film with a potent orchestral score by John Williams, candidly inspired by Elgars Nimrod. And it was based on a redemptive, quietist premise: the point of the mission is not to engage the enemy but to rescue an American soldier and spirit him away out of danger. Yet when the time of great trial comes, of course, no one is ducking the fight……………………………………….”
Brightburn review effectively nasty horror subverts Superman narrative
A superheros origin tale gets a gory upgrade in this snappy, and mostly entertaining, antidote to superhero fatigue
Long before he became the alt-superhero auteur of choice, for both Marvel and DC, James Gunn was a proud peddler of niftily produced schlock. He started out at Troma writing their deranged midnight movie take on Shakespeares most tragic romance, before working with Zack Snyder on his ferociously satisfying remake of Dawn of the Dead. For his directorial debut, Slither, Gunn paid tribute to 50s B-movies with a gloopy small-town horror about evil alien worms and while he has risen the ranks since, smoothing out his edges to take charge of the Guardians of the Galaxy and Suicide Squad franchises, he remains an unabashed genre fan at heart. He recently wrote 2017s The Belko Experiment, a brutal workplace horror, and now he has produced Brightburn, an effectively nasty shocker that also acts as an antidote to the deluge of superhero films hes partly responsible for.
Written by his brother, Brian Gunn, and cousin Mark Gunn, the film flips the Superman narrative on its head, setting us up with an almost identical scenario before taking us in a far darker direction. In the small town of Brightburn, Tori (Elizabeth Banks) and Kyle (David Denman) are struggling to conceive, and after a meteor falls from the sky with a baby inside, they think their luck has changed. But as their adopted child Brandon (Jackson A Dunn) grows up, they realise that something is horribly wrong………………………………………….”
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