Ian Thomas Malone

A Connecticut Yogi in King Joffrey's Court

Movie Reviews Archive

Monday

9

September 2019

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The Riot Act Is a Gorgeous Film Plagued by a Plodding Script

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Period pieces have an inherent additional layer of complexity to their presentation that films with contemporary settings don’t need to worry about. Set in 1903, Devon Parks The Riot Act is a thriller that does an excellent job of making the audience feel as though they’re actually in Van Buren, Arkansas, back in a time when a traveling vaudeville act would be the pinnacle of one’s entertainment options. The film makes extensive use of Van Buren’s historic buildings, giving it a far more authentic feel than many period pieces, let alone those with indie budgets.

The beautiful locations give the eyes plenty to look at throughout each scene. Such scenery is often more entertaining to watch than the characters. Period pieces may have additional considerations to look out for, but films set in the past still need narratives that work for their audience living in the present.

The Riot Act’s script is a meandering slog, a product of the film’s unclear narrative focus. Dr. Willard Pearrow (Brett Cullen) takes umbrage with his daughter’s lover (Brace Harris), shooting him before he can run off and live happily ever after with Allye (Lauren Sweetster). Two years later, a traveling vaudeville act is booked in his opera house, haunted by a mysterious “ghost” seeking revenge on the powerful doctor.

While the mystery surrounding Dr. Pearrow’s relationship with Allye could’ve carried the narrative, the film burdened itself with a few unnecessary subplots. In keeping with its 1903 Arkansan setting, the townsfolk are hardly receptive to diversity, taking umbrage with the presence of African American member of the troupe. The film ostensibly tries to aim for historical accuracy in portraying this drama but lingers too long on a plot point that feels particularly stale to a present-day audience.

Making matters worse is the films 101-minute runtime, which stretches its various plot strands quite thin by the end. A more streamlined approach to the narrative would’ve done the film wonders, while allowing it to sidestep the social commentary that’s not very interesting to begin with. The Riot Act is too long for its own good, a script that rarely seems sure of what it’s supposed to be doing.

There is a lot to like in many of the scenes, often shot like a stage play. Parks maintains a minimalist focus, using sparse lighting and stage direction to give his actors a chance to shine. The play-like dynamic works well for the period setting, especially for an indie.

The performances are a bit of a mixed bag. Cullen and Sweetster are mostly good, but many of the scenes are brought down by actors speaking their lines too quickly or sounding muffled in the process. More than a few scenes look like they should have been reshot. There are obvious limitations put on indie films, but clumsy takes drag down the otherwise excellent production values.

The Riot Act has a lot to admire as an indie period piece, but the film plays out like a rough cut in desperate need of additional editing. The locations are beautiful and the acting is mostly good, but the script is too unsure of itself to make for a worthwhile experience. Parks’ debut shows plenty of promise, but the execution just isn’t quite there.

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Monday

2

September 2019

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Blink of an Eye Is a Powerful Testament to Perseverance and Friendship

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The career of race car driver Michael Waltrip has been full of extreme highs and lows. A two-time winner of the NASCAR 500, Waltrip experienced success at the greatest level of American stock car racing. His peak achievements came after an astounding losing streak of 462 consecutive winless races in the Winstop Cup series. While Waltrip finally notched one in the win column at the 2001 Daytona 500, his victory was overshadowed by perhaps the darkest event in NASCAR history — the death of his friend, teammate, and mentor, Dale Earnhardt Sr.

The new documentary Blink of an Eye sets out to tell the story of Waltrip’s career, largely defined by his relationship with Earnhardt Sr. Waltrip himself, makes for a compelling subject, a man full of emotion who isn’t afraid to admit when expressing himself is hard. Director Paul Taublieb does a great job of getting his interview subjects to open up, often giving the documentary the feel of a couple of old friends reminiscing about their glory days.

Sports documentaries often try to explain the “how” behind their subject’s greatness. Blink of an Eye is a love letter from Michael Waltrip to the man who never gave up on him. Waltrip never forgot the people who took chances on him, showering praise on his early sponsors. He also expresses childlike glee at the participation of racing legend Richard Petty in the documentary, who himself is full of kind words for Waltrip. Even if you’re not a big fan of NASCAR, Waltrip offers plenty of reasons to care about him as a person.

There is a bit of a disconnect in the way that the film structures its narrative. Waltrip’s early days are painted in great detail, as is his friendship with Earnhardt Sr. His career at the top level of NASCAR racing doesn’t quite get as much attention. The 462-race losing streak receives a bit of the focus, albeit much less than his formative years.

The first half of Blink of an Eye sets itself up as a career retrospective, but the film wields a two-pronged approach to its storytelling. Waltrip is never far from the center of the narrative, but it’s a documentary about the crash about as much as it is about the person. It’s Michael Waltrip’s film without being completely about Michael Waltrip.

The structure of the documentary makes sense for plenty of reasons. Earnhardt Sr. is quite possibly the most beloved driver in NASCAR history, a vital figure in Waltrip’s story. You couldn’t tell the story of Blink of an Eye without him, but the second half of the documentary doesn’t completely need the first half. There is the sense that more time could’ve been spent of the aftermath without all the focus on Waltrip’s biography.

Blink of an Eye is a touching film, even for viewers who aren’t big NASCAR fans. Michael Waltrip manages to be humble and relatable, not always a given for figures who have achieved his level of success. Part biography, part love-letter, the documentary is a testament of human perseverance and the power of individuals to shape the lives of those around them.

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Thursday

22

August 2019

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The Harder They Come Is a Reggae-Infused Classic of Jamaican Cinema

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Films like The Harder They Come demonstrate the power of cinema to invite people into cultures they might otherwise remain unfamiliar with. One of the earliest movies from Jamaica to experience a worldwide release, the crime drama helped introduce reggae to a global audience. (looks at the first two sentences- they don’t seem to flow)Shout! Factory’s recent restoration presents the definitive version of the Jamaican classic, a remaster brimming with affection for this important film.

The Harder They Come follows Ivanhoe “Ivan” Martin (Jimmy Cliff), an impoverished young man looking to find his place in the world. Ivan has plenty of talent, but finds himself constantly in trouble for his rebellious tendencies, resisting those in power at every turn. Cliff is mesmerizing in the lead role, often using subtle expressions to convey his character’s frustrations with his situation without much dialogue.

The themes present in the film remain particularly relevant in today’s climate. The main conflict surrounds Ivan’s unhappiness with a record producer offering him only twenty dollars for the titular song, a deal that he quickly learns is the only way to get his music out there in an industry plagued by corruption. The plight of the working man to earn a living wage remains a constant struggle worldwide. The Harder They Come approaches this issue through an entertaining narrative that never loses sight of the serious issues presented.

Cliff’s energetic performance is backed by a memorable soundtrack filled with his own music. Director Perry Henzell possesses a firm grasp on the power of reggae to enhance the narrative, deploying the titular song and Cliff’s “You Can Get It If You Really Want” at key moments in a way that welcomes the audience in. The lyrics are so memorable that it’s easy to sing along as the film progresses. The music and narrative operate in complete harmony, a wildly entertaining experience.

Between the music, the relatable themes, and the action sequences, it’s easy to see how The Harder They Come became a hit on the midnight film circuit. It’s the kind of movie that sticks in your head days after watching it, humming the tunes or thinking about Ivan’s choices throughout the narrative. Great films have a way of leaving a lasting impression beyond the sheer joys provided before the credits started rolling.

Shout! Factory’s Blu-ray restoration gives one the sense of how the film looked when it was being shot in Jamaica, highlighting the beautiful scenery of each location. The film retains its gritty 70s feel while playing perfectly on an HDTV. For a movie that initially struggled to make its mark, the home release gives cinephiles a chance to view this cult classic from the comforts of their own couches.

The Harder They Come is a special film. The cultural significance of its reggae-powered narrative cannot be overstated, but there’s plenty to enjoy before you take into consideration how much the movie meant to its home country. Jimmy Cliff is a force of nature that should not be missed.

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Tuesday

20

August 2019

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I Am Patrick Swayze Is a Touching Tribute to a Hollywood Icon

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With the muscles of an action star and the grace of a ballet dancer, it’s not too hard to understand the appeal behind Patrick Swayze. The man was one of those rare actors with seemingly universal appeal, capable of being both strong and tender. Part of what made his unfortunate death in 2009 so heartbreaking was the idea that Swayze was a soul of genuine warmth, much like the characters he played in hits like Dirty Dancing and Ghost. The new documentary I Am Patrick Swayze chronicles his life as remembered by the people who knew him best.

The narrative presents a broad overview of his upbringing and career, from the time he spent in his mother’s dance studio through his final on-screen role in The Beast. The film blends intimate interviews with Swayze’s wife, Lisa Niemi, and his brother, Don, with plenty of accounts from the actors he worked with, including Rob Lowe, Sam Elliot, and Demi Moore. Their collective recollections paint an intimate portrait of a man constantly striving for excellence in whatever field he pursued.

While Swayze has been regarded as a heartthrob for decades, the film does an excellent job of capturing why he was so loved by those who knew him. Charm is often a difficult concept to put into words. Alongside archival footage, Niemi and others explain Swayze’s appeal with relative ease.

Plenty of documentaries on Hollywood stars feature tributes from their peers. What sets I Am Patrick Swayze apart is the genuine sense of affection that practically every actor interviewed felt for the man. Lowe and Elliot, in particular, get quite emotional reflecting on their friend, reinforcing the idea that Swayze was just as warm in his private life as he appeared on stage.

Though I Am Patrick Swayze is largely a celebration of his life, the documentary doesn’t shy away from taking a critical lens at times. Niemi recounts the issues Swayze had with drinking, recounting the difficult days of their marriage in an intimate sequence. There is the sense that the film didn’t need to go there, but the narrative is so emotionally driven that the fuller picture hardly feels out of place.

With a focus on Swayze’s early life and death alongside his career, the documentary had to be selective with which films to focus on from his vast body of work. The Outsiders, Dirty Dancing, and Ghost receive the bulk of the attention, understandable given their respective legacies. As a huge fan of Point Break, I would have loved to see a bit more time spent revisiting the action classic, but I Am Patrick Swayze balances its time well.

I Am Patrick Swayze makes you fall in love with the man all over again, a beautiful tribute that eloquently explains his vast appeal. Talent like Swayze doesn’t appear very often. Ten years after his death, the documentary reminds us of all the reasons why he’s missed so much.

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Monday

19

August 2019

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Balancing a Large Roster of Villains, Batman: Hush Offers an Entertaining Mystery

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Like its source material, Batman: Hush has a lot of characters to juggle, featuring many of the Caped Crusader’s most well-known foes. Adapting the popular story arc presents many challenges for a film with a run time of just under ninety minutes, throwing everything and the kitchen sink at its audience. Juggling its many pieces quite well, Batman: Hush is another strong showing for the DC Animated Movie Universe.

The basic plot follows Bruce Wayne’s relationships with Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman, and childhood friend Thomas Elliot as he attempts to take a night off from crime-fighting. A recent crime wave makes a vacation impossible, leading to a nasty fall for the Dark Knight. An effort to get to the bottom of the chaos leads Batman to a mysterious figure called Hush, who seems to know far too much about Bruce’s identity.

True to its hero’s roots, Hush has the feel of a detective story, with mystery lurking at every turn. The pacing is top-notch, introducing plenty of villains quickly without making anything feel rushed. The quick runtime leads to some plot points being cut, but the film covers quite a bit of ground. Perhaps most impressive was the way it manages to include Superman without making the whole sequence feel like sensory overload.

Much of the film, particularly the relationship between Wayne and Kyle, serves as a broader commentary on prevalent themes throughout Batman’s long and storied history. There is a certain challenge presented in even attempting to explore the idea of Wayne settling down, as the audience knows this won’t happen, but the film manages to explore this dynamic with grace. It’s easy to get lost in lore that’s been around for decades, but Hush never bites off more than it can chew.

As expected, the voice cast is spectacular. Jason O’Mara plays a nuanced Batman, working well off Jennifer Morrison’s Catwoman. There are perhaps points where you wonder how Kyle doesn’t recognize Bruce’s voice in the suit, but the suspension of disbelief has often asked this of superhero films.

While the film juggles its many villains quite well, Batman’s sidekicks look a bit superfluous throughout Hush. Batgirl is largely reduced to a cameo, but the film never seems quite sure what to do with Nightwing, who’s consistently present without being particularly important. Seeing the two on the sidelines isn’t a particularly big deal, but their presence is a bit distracting relative to their roles in the narrative.

Batman: Hush is a very fun film that explores the franchise without ever feeling like a “greatest hits” piece. The large cast of villains serves their purpose, aiding to the well-crafted detective story. The film possesses an introspective lens without relying on nostalgia for emotional resonance. As summer winds down, Hush is the perfect comfort food for fans of the franchise, full of warm feelings that remind you why people still care about Bruce Wayne.

 

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Monday

19

August 2019

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Good Boys Captures The Essence of Youth Alongside Plenty of Laughs

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Middle school is a challenging time for many in the United States. Puberty and all its associated hormonal changes bring out a lot of conflicting emotions. Childhood friends naturally grow apart as each pursues their own individual interests. The urge to grow up constantly conflicts with the desire for things to stay the same, an often contradictory and certainly confusing era.

Good Boys is more of a film about friendship than aging, understanding the intertwined relationship between the two. Max (Jacob Tremblay), Thor (Brady Noon), and Lucas (Keith L. Williams) have been friends for their entire lives, referring to their small clique as “The Bean Bag Boys.” The beginning of middle school threatens the status quo, as each of the boys possess different interests that could potentially tear their trio apart.

A drone borrowed from Max’s father (Will Forte) sends the boys on a quest to avoid punishment after disobeying orders not to play with the expensive toy. The subsequent adventure stays within the confines of the ages of the leads, often diving into the realm of absurd without being unrealistic. The digital age has opened up plenty of less than age-appropriate doors for pre-teens.

The film is wildly profane for a narrative anchored by children. The kids frequently swear and find themselves in plenty of sexually-explicitly scenarios, willfully ignorant of their surroundings. Shock value makes up a lot of the humor, but the writing and acting are quite strong, allowing for plenty of laugh-out-loud moments that don’t rely strictly on cringe comedy.

For some, the crude humor coming out of the mouths of children might be too much. The child actors have an uncanny sense of comedic timing for jokes meant to sail right over their characters’ heads. Some of the laughs come from their obliviousness to the situations, but they’re not there to be the butt of the gags. There’s a level of deadpan comedy present that becomes oddly endearing after a while.

Plenty of its moments are absurdist in nature, but the narrative never loses sight of reality. Kids these days are exposed to quite of a lot of horrifying imagery that makes plenty of us happy to have grown up in an era before the Internet. There are plenty of hilarious moments born out of watching the children react to situations that maybe shouldn’t feel as normal to us as adults as they often do.

Lurking beneath all the inappropriate jokes is a layer of warmth to the narrative. For all the situations that the boys don’t understand, the three do possess a level of recognition for the transient nature of this stage in their lives. They’re best friends, for now, completely unsure of what the future will hold.

Good Boys couples its mature humor with themes that resonate for audiences of all ages, even those that need adult supervision to see the film. Growing up is scary. The film tackles the sensation of aging in a mature manner while maintaining a sense of optimism.

Few films manage to be simultaneously hilarious and heartfelt. Powered by an excellent script and some top-notch performances from its young leads, Good Boys is a late summer hit. Children might be a little horrified by some of the scenarios, but the life lessons presented are well worth a few unsavory conversations after the credits roll.

 

 

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Sunday

11

August 2019

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Mike Wallace Is Here Presents a Compelling Portrait of a Legendary Figure in Television News

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Television transformed the role of the free press in countless ways. Newsmagazine programs blended the idea of information with entertainment, with forceful presenters such as Mike Wallace developing a keen sense of interview style that provided much enjoyment for an audience, if not the subject. Mike Wallace Is Here chronicles the life and legacy of one of America’s most consequential journalists.

The film covers a wide scope of Wallace’s long career, from his early days in showbusiness through the end of his time on 60 Minutes. Wallace wore many hats in his career, acting as a radio presenter and on-camera pitchman among others, providing some fascinating insight into how television developed in its infancy. Wallace’s Night Beat set the tempo for his adversarial interviewing style, asking tough questions that translated well to an audience watching at home.

Presented entirely through archival footage, without any narration or contemporary interviews, the film largely lets its subject, who died in 2012, speak for himself. The use of footage of Wallace being interviewed, particularly by fellow 60 Minutes pioneer Morley Safer, allows director Avi Belkin to dive into territory he would otherwise be unable to explore. Wallace feels alive and well throughout the documentary, aided by Belkin’s soft-handed approach.

The use of archival footage also allows the film to thoroughly assess Wallace’s legacy without any of the over the top platitudes that are often showered upon the deceased. Wallace was an immensely important figure in television journalism, whose impact is still being felt to this day. The film explores the ways he shaped his field without drawing unnecessary lines to the present. It’s easy to see Wallace’s approach alive and well in the way that President Trump paints the media as his enemy, but this film isn’t about the present.

Belkin doesn’t shy away from the critical lens. Wallace was a flawed man who often went too hard on his interviewees and was often an absentee father. Oftentimes, he struggled when asked the kinds of questions he favored in practically every interview. The film handles his struggles with depression with grace. Belkin presents his subject as thoroughly human, while never losing sight of the immense legacy he left behind.

Mike Wallace Is Here is a timely film, exploring the past to offer plenty of commentary on the present. Wallace changed the way people engage with the news. The film manages to be a touching tribute that honors both Wallace and his signature adversarial approach.

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Tuesday

6

August 2019

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Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw Is Entertaining Summer Fun

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If you removed the “Fast & Furious Presents” label from Hobbs & Shaw before showing the film to a person who had only seen 2001’s The Fast and the Furious, there’s a good chance they would never suspect the two were connected. The original entry in the long-running franchise focused primarily on car racing, with actual crime serving as more of a vehicle to drive the plot than anything else. Nowadays it would seem odd if the narrative didn’t include saving the world.

As its title suggests, Hobbs & Shaw focuses on Luke Hobbs & Deckard Shaw, who originally entered the series as the villains for the fifth and seventh entries, respectively. After both enjoyed turns on the good side, the two find themselves working together to stop a super virus from wiping out humanity. Neither character particularly likes the other, creating an interesting buddy cop-esque dynamic throughout the film.

Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham are two of the most well-known action stars currently performing. The two have a natural chemistry that works well for the humor-laced narrative. Vanessa Kirby balances out the dynamic as Deckard’s sister Hattie, an MI6 agent infected with the virus. The plot follows the three of them for most of the film, as they try to figure out how to get the virus out of Hattie before it falls into the hands of Brixton Lore (Idris Elba), a cyber-enhanced super soldier hell-bent on destroying the world.

The film continues the celebration of excess that has defined the Fast & Furious franchise since its fifth entry. There are countless explosions and reality-defying stunts. Elba essentially plays a riff on The Terminator, a notion not lost on the film. The plot calls for a heavy helping of suspension of disbelief, the kind of narrative where it’s best not to overthink anything, or everything.

Hobbs & Shaw never loses sight of the escapism it exists to provide. The characters have fun the whole time, keeping with the series’ emphasis on family. Deckard and Luke aren’t really there to be friends, but they manage to work together without anything feeling artificial.

The film’s biggest detriment is its runtime. Clocking in at a little over two hours, the narrative is stretched about as far as it could go. Part of this issue stems from the fact that the narrative blatantly goes out of its way to give The Rock and Statham equal time for just about every scene where they don’t appear together. Such a balance was probably not necessary for a franchise that usually needs to juggle several other leads, as a result feeling a bit more relaxed from the get-go.

Few films have felt more at home in the month of August, where the dog days of summer welcome the kind of excess Hobbs & Shaw offers in abundance. This franchise has come a long way from its street racing roots. One does naturally wonder how many more times this team can save the world. For a series that’s owned excess with such grace, that question sure doesn’t provide itself with an easy answer.

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Saturday

27

July 2019

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Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Is an Entertaining, Overstuffed Tribute to Showbiz

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Hollywood has a certain affection for films about its own lore. As a city that welcomes so many, myself included, Los Angeles is an easy city to dream about. The very notion of living here is itself a part of the fantasy, opportunities seemingly lurking around every corner.

This city has been very good to Quentin Tarantino, one of the few bonafide superstar directors capable of drawing crowds to the theatre just with his own name. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is his love letter to Los Angeles, a film so occupied with its location that it barely felt the need for much of a narrative. Tarantino is too busy soaking in the nostalgia of an era gone by to concern his script with the notion of a plot.

Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a washed-up Western actor who failed to make the transition from TV to film, back in a day when that distinction mattered. He can’t get his stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) much work, instead keeping him employed as his personal assistant. The two are a good fit for each other, mostly getting by on the laurels of their glory days.

Dalton and Booth’s occasionally separate narratives make up two-thirds of the narrative, mostly leaving Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) with the remainder. Tate isn’t given much to work with, a seemingly intentional calculation. Robbie plays the young starlet with a kind of energy that makes her role in the film clear without a ton of dialogue.

The film blends fact and fiction quite effectively, constantly challenging the audience’s perception of reality. Dalton appears to largely be a composite of Steve McQueen and Burt Reynolds, with some nodes of Clint Eastwood. Tate, a real-life victim of the Manson family’s killing spree, is also very much a figure of Tarantino’s fantasy. This isn’t a biopic, even though plenty of Hollywood icons show up throughout the film.

Tarantino soaks in each scene in his film with a runtime of two hours and forty minutes. There are plenty of sequences that don’t really play any larger narrative purpose, contemplative moments that are perhaps a bit too self-indulgent. The cinematography is beautiful, showcasing the beautiful sets that faithfully recreate the era.

Perpetually present is the sense that Dalton serves as a commentary on the current state of Hollywood. Tarantino, DiCaprio, and Pitt are in many ways A-list stars of a different era, before superheroes and franchises took over the box office. To his credit, Tarantino doesn’t write Dalton as particularly sympathetic, a man too consumed with his own fading stardom to see the immense fortunes he’s been afforded.

Putting aside the notion that this film is little more than an aging director’s nostalgia-powered vanity project, it’s a lot of fun to watch. Tarantino is clearly having a blast, as are most of its star-studded cast. At many points, the film feels like watching a rich man perform karaoke at his fiftieth birthday party, prolonging a fun event with unnecessary interludes. It is a well-crafted movie that is too long for its own good, the kind of narrative that doesn’t seem poised to stand up to repeat viewing. Tarantino showcases the skills he’s refined over the years, along with a lack of restraint that longevity often affords.

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Friday

26

July 2019

0

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The Cure – Anniversary 1978-2018 Live in Hyde Park Celebrates Forty Years of Gothic Rock Excellence

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The timeless angst that The Cure has expressed in their music over the years can make it easy to forget just how long this band has been around. Few groups last long enough to put on a fortieth anniversary concert, let alone an extravagant production in front of tens of thousands of fans. The Cure – Anniversary 1978-2018 Live in Hyde Park London captures the magic for those who didn’t get a chance to be there in person.

The film showcases the immense energy that Robert Smith still brings to the stage after all these years. His voice hasn’t lost any of its range, remarkable for a performer who’s been at it for decades. While he often lets Reeves Gabrels perform most of the guitar work while he’s singing, Smith still showcases his skills, perhaps most memorably on the intro “Pictures of You.”

A highlight of the film is the way the band takes on plenty of hits from their early years. The lightning-fast pace of songs like “Play For Today,” Boys Don’t Cry,” and “Jumping Someone Else’s Train” is a bit slowed down, but the band brings plenty of energy to these renditions. Time has softened a bit of the melancholy from more downbeat albums such as Disintegration, which is featured extensively throughout the set.

The Cure is undoubtedly a different band than the one that excited audiences in the early 80s, but the two-hour-plus performance demonstrates their commitment to playing their hearts out. Plenty of other older groups are perfectly content to go out on stage and play a muted greatest hits set aiming to evoke nostalgia from its audience. The Cure plays like a band ready to excite the crowd for the present with plenty left in the tank.

As a film, Live in Hyde Park London does leave a bit to be desired. Director Tim Pope, whose work with The Cure spans almost their entire career, does an excellent job making a massive larger than life event feel intimate. The film captures the extent of the crowd, but the audio and camera angles create the sense that the group is performing exclusively for the audience in their living room.

As the film’s name suggests, the fortieth anniversary is a big deal. Being just a concert film that solely presents the music, Live in Hyde Park London falls a bit sort in conveying the magnitude of the event. There’s no interviews or backstage clips from Smith reflecting on such an achievement. The music may speak for itself, but it’s certainly not the only voice the audience would want to hear.

The great achievement of Live in Hyde Park London is how little it makes you wonder about the future of the band. A fortieth anniversary celebration naturally draws one’s attention to the simple fact that there won’t be many more of these momentous milestones left to celebrate. The way The Cure plays suggests differently. The band is still at the top of its game, a group still able to evoke wonder and awe, not simply memories of better days. These days are pretty great.

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