Sink, Florida, Sink

Sink, Florida, Sink

The Florida Project finds the winsome bliss of childhood in the underbelly of America
Disney World is billed as "the most magical place on Earth." Orlando, Florida, is not.

Learning a Lesson

Wonder is sweet and well-meaning, but hardly subtle in its messaging
"Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle." This is one of the monthly "precepts" that Auggie Pullman's fifth-grade homeroom teacher shares with his students, and just to be sure that no one has missed the fact that Wonder has not-very-subtly underlined this moral over and over again, Auggie will repeat it out loud for the audience at the film's end.

Derailed

Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express becomes a dated big-screen whodunit
Here's the biggest mystery of director and star Kenneth Branagh's opulent period mounting of the 1934 Agatha Christie novel: Why? Who was clamoring for yet another retelling of a story that has been told onscreen — both the big and small screens — several times already, and as recently as 2010 in the beloved television series starring David Suchet as Hercule Poirot?

Clinical Psychology

The Killing of a Sacred Deer is another unsettling provocation from the director of The Lobster
If you've seen Yorgos Lanthimos' other films, like Dogtooth or The Lobster, you enter The Killing of a Sacred Deer braced for uncomfortable hilarity with touches of deadpan violence. In that respect, Lanthimos does not disappoint.

Thunderstruck

Thor: Ragnarok embraces its comedic side to enhance the comic-book fun
There are a lot of ways to start a standard superhero movie: epic action sequence, character introduction, mysterious foreshadowing. Thor: Ragnarok opens with a caged Thor delivering a meta-comedy monologue to a skeleton.

Intolerable Cruelty

Suburbicon is the product of two disparate screenplays being grafted together, and it shows
George Clooney, like most powerful, creative types, needs to be told "no" more often. He and regular writing/producing partner Grant Heslov were developing a story about a black family moving into an all-white suburb in the 1950s when Clooney remembered an unproduced script by Joel and Ethan Coen about ordinary idiots pursuing a criminal endeavor and getting in over their heads (a common Coen theme).

Strokes of Genius

The work of Vincent van Gogh comes to vivid life in the animated Loving Vincent
You've no doubt heard a film's visual style being described as painterly, but Loving Vincent takes that idea to new levels. The movie is being advertised as the first hand-painted feature, a feat accomplished by a team of approximately 115 artists painting over each individual frame of live-action footage, shot mostly on green screens.

An Indomitable Spirit

It may be about overcoming polio, but the British biopic Breathe is unexpectedly humorous and genuinely inspiring
"You'll be dead in two weeks," growls an unsympathetic doctor to Robin Cavendish, stricken with polio and unable to breathe on his own, as his wife, Diana, springs him from a British hospital. Apparently this was the way things were: Someone like Robin, paralyzed from the neck down and utterly dependent on a respirator, was expected to simply lie in a hospital bed for the rest of his life, presumed to be no more than a few months anyway.

Out in the Cold

Jo Nesbø's best-selling novel The Snowman becomes a tedious, mind-boggling big-screen procedural
He's a drunk — like, a seriously falling-down, passed-out-in-the-streets drunk — and a walking personal disaster. His ex just can't live with him anymore, and refuses to tell their teenage son that he is, in fact, the kid's dad.

Still Alive and Kicking

The Foreigner finds Jackie Chan getting serious in the name of revenge
Physicality has always been the core of Jackie Chan's performances. Over the past 40 years, he's built a reputation as cinema's premiere stunt star, and almost inarguably the top physical comedian in the post-silent-film area.

Electric Dreams

Cold, cerebral and epic in scope, Blade Runner 2049 is a worthy, visually stunning successor to a sci-fi watershed
How appropriate that Blade Runner 2049 should turn out to be something different than it initially appears. This is an introspective, cold, leisurely paced arthouse film disguised as a big-budget franchise cash-in, one that often gets lost in its own thoughts, drifting off in a reverie of some of the most stunning visuals ever projected.

Game, Set, Match

Emma Stone and Steve Carell go head-to-head in Battle of the Sexes, an urgent, entertaining piece of sports history
There's that saying: Two steps forward, one step back. With feminism, it's more like half a baby step forward, a dozen steps back.

Hard-Core Competition

Sex-positive and adults-only, the touring version of Dan Savage's popular HUMP! Film Festival makes its Spokane debut this weekend
The very notion of watching adult entertainment on a big screen probably inspires thoughts of dingy X-rated theaters that have long since closed, and of creepy old dudes in trench coats with collars pulled high enough to cover their faces. That may be a pastime that has since gone the way of the VCR, but HUMP!

Cruise (Out of) Control

The entertaining true-crime film American Made is a lot like its star: stylish, charming and dead behind the eyes
American Made, based on the true story of commercial airline pilot-turned-international criminal mastermind Barry Seal, hits a lot of the same beats as GoodFellas, though it misses some it tries to hit, too. By the time that Barry, in his gleeful voice-over narration, says, "The money was coming in faster than I could launder it," I felt like I'd seen this all before, and done better.

Learning to Walk Again

Stronger dramatizes the struggle of the Boston Marathon bombing victim who defined the slogan "Boston Strong"
Before images flash across the screen, the audio from the Today Show finds the hosts discussing how the Boston Marathon would be happening tomorrow. It's the type of overly perky empty chatter that fills the hours on morning TV, but in the context of Stronger, the cavalier tone feels ominous and chilling.

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