We’ve made it through President’s Day Weekend and got one of the biggest releases of the year so far. But that wasn’t the only new film this weekend. Which were worth your time? Check out my reviews on this weekend’s latest offerings. If you’d like to see more of my scores for films and thoughts, feel free to follow me on Letterboxd here.
Starring: Liam Neeson, Diane Kruger, Jessica Lange, and Alan Cumming
Synopsis: This new noir comes from director Neil Jordan who co-wrote the script with William Monaghan. It’s also based on the famous books centering on 1930s detective Philip Marlowe. All that portends something that should be good. The cast here includes Neeson as Marlowe and Kruger and Lange as the femme fatales at the heart of the case. Again, the pieces are in place for a winning formula. That’s what makes it all so disappointing. The pieces are in place but they never quite come together into anything worth the effort. I liked the period style, and I enjoyed scene-chewing supporting roles from Alan Cumming and Danny Huston. But it’s the case at the center of the mystery and the way it unfolds that just doesn’t work. Neeson is fine in the lead role but there’s a lot going on and none of it resolves in a satisfying fashion. That leaves this a dull and somewhat lifeless rendition.
Rating: Rated R for language, violent content, some sexual material and brief drug use
Sharper (Apple TV+)
Starring: Julianne Moore, Sebastian Stan, John Lithgow, Justice Smith, and Briana Middelton
Synopsis: Stories built on cons are tricky. You have to build the characters and build the layers without giving away where you’re going. In the case of Sharper, which dropped on Apple TV+ Friday after a limited release in theaters, you get the timeline all out of order. It’s a unique process meant to introduce you one-by-one to the key players. There are a number of different cons at work here, with the key players taking turns betraying each other in pursuit of a big score. How will it turn out? That’s what’s at play here in a film that twists and turns before coming to the third act reveal. This is a solid cast and the performances are fine but there’s nothing special about these characters or story. The mystery of the way the script is laid out keeps you somewhat engaged and the reveal at the end works, though it’s not totally unexpected. In the end, Sharper has plenty of potential but ultimately ends up being just OK.
Rating: Rated R for language throughout and some sexual references.
Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.
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