As we make it down the stretch for Oscar season, I am watching more and more films daily and today, I wanted to share some short and sweet movie reviews for the movie I have watched this week.
I had little to no expectations for this movie heading into it and walked away rather impressed by several aspects of the film. First, Peter Dinklage was a delightful charismatic Cyrano filled with charm, but also had this subtle way of breaking our heart with his facial expressions and moving words through song. Next, any film that has Kelvin Harrison Jr. in it also moves up in my thoughts because he is not enough movies. Harrison is an outstanding actor and displays that once again. Another standout, Haley Bennett, who I fell in love with her work during the film Swallow is exceptional as Roxanne.
While every song doesn’t land, the ones that do knock it out of the ballpark. I loved the production design, costumes and overall tone of the film. Sure, the movie is flawed, but I enjoyed more of this than I didn’t. I highly recommend checking it out.
The Verdict: B+
The underlining issues with West Side Story stem from the decisions made throughout the entire script. I felt like so much of the stuff was forced that it didn’t get out of its way. The movie is like one big roller coaster that when the highs are high, they are powerful, but when the lows hit, they are so low it takes me too long to recover.
Ansel Elgort was miscast and I have little to no understanding of what Spielberg saw in him that said, ‘He is my Tony.’ Elgort was stiff as a board with very little rhythm that struggled to stay the course when he was on the screen.
There are moments that I did love a lot, from Rachel Zegler’s star-making performance to Ariana DeBose stealing the third act to some of the dance numbers and songs. A couple of other standouts were Mike Faist as Riff and Josh Andres Rivera as Chino. Both of these gents elevated the film within their roles.
Overall, I liked the strong performances; however, I had too many issues with the script and our lead that took me out of this movie several times.
The Verdict: C+
At times the movie felt like an episode right out of Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story Freak Show, which isn’t a bad thing because I loved that season a whole lot—obviously filled with a lot more charm because of our lead in Bradley Cooper.
I loved, I mean LOVED the production design, costumes and the score. Guillermo del Toro’s world-building with these crucial details truly engulfed us into this era. I felt like I was in the timeframe of these carnies that made me want to follow the events that were unfolding.
Bradley Cooper and Cate Blanchett share dynamic on-screen chemistry that brings a ton to the table. The film script felt wonky at times, I think I wanted del Toro to get a little darker with the film than he did, but Cooper and Blanchett do the best with some of that to make the movie intense.
Not many Hollywood actors are putting out the variety of range within their work the way Cooper is. He continues to one-up himself after each of his performances and it blows me away. What does this man have to do to get his first Oscar?
Another standout in the film was Blanchett, who was amazing in this film with a commanding villainous role that we’ve never seen out of her before. I loved her in this role style and would love to see her in it again.
Overall, Nightmare Alley is good, but it could’ve been great if del Toro had taken more risk within the movie. I can’t pinpoint what I would have liked him to do, but the film’s tone should have been slightly darker.