Film Reviews | Salt Lake City Weekly

Gods and Monsters

Alien: Covenant can't decide whether to get philosophical or homicidal.

Not-So-Much About Ray

3 Generations loses one distinct voice by listening to several others.

Playing the Hits

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 isn't as uniquely edgy as it thinks it is.

Morality Play

Romanian drama Graduation digs into a flexible sense of ethics.
Few things make for more compelling drama than moral choices, and—hey, where's everybody going? Come back!

Gray Area

A great filmmaker shows off his non-showy stuff in The Lost City of Z.
As I prepared to write a lamentation about how, well into his 20-plus-year movie-making career, nobody quite appreciates director James Gray's talents enough.

Kid Stuff

A lovely child performance anchors the satisfying family drama of Gifted.
If you're going to make a movie with a cute kid, you're going to make it easy for a lot of people to love your movie. You're also going to make it easy for a lot of people to hate it.

Defusing Tension

Every explosion is predictable in the post-WWII Danish drama Land of Mine.
It came as something of a shock to discover that the original Danish title of Land of Mine—a Best Foreign Language Film nominee at this year's Academy Awards—was in fact Under Sandet, which translates as "Under the Sand."

Brexit-stential Blues

T2 revisits Trainspotting 20 years later, in a more complicated world.
"Choose life," Mark Renton suggested back in Danny Boyle's original 1996 Trainspotting. The Edinburgh heroin addict's advice was ironic, of course—he was courting death. But he was also rebelling against a life of conformity and consumerism.

Ethereal Girl

Terrence Malick again explores souls seemingly without bodies in Song to Song.
A week or so before I finally sat down for Terrence Malick's Song to Song, I shared this Twitter musing: "Like bebop, I see Terrence Malick's oeuvre as a singular, perhaps sublime art form for which I am simply temperamentally unsuited."

Beast Intentions

A new Beauty and the Beast can't decide whether to aim for originality or nostalgia.
Over the past 25-plus years, it is likely that I've watched Disney's animated Beauty and the Beast somewhere in the neighborhood of 75 times.

Ape-ocalypse Now

Kong: Skull Island brings Vietnam to a war against monsters.
What's the big surprise of Kong: Skull Island? No, it's not a secret sequel to Peter Jackson's 2005 film King Kong; the two movies are not connected in any way.

Rage Before Beauty

Logan takes the Wolverine to a darker place.
If there was any reason to suspect that co-writer/director James Mangold was going to deliver just another adventure for the Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) in Logan, he takes approximately two minutes to dispatch such notions.

Guess Who's Coming to Die Here

Get Out offers satirical horror on race in the suburbs.
Get Out plays as a feature-length version of the not-quite-joking sentiment among African Americans that the suburbs—what with their overwhelming whiteness and cultural homogeneity—are eerie twilight zones for black people.

Alienation Building

A Cure for Wellness brings operatic craziness sure to irritate audiences.
There's a temptation, for those who write about movies for a living, to anticipate the commercial prospects of movies before they are released. This is usually a fool's errand; anyone who believes they know exactly what will be a hit and what will be a flop should be in a far more lucrative career than film criticism.

Simple Poetry

Jim Jarmusch's Paterson finds the beauty of art in ordinary places.
At first glance, Paterson (Adam Driver) is an ordinary guy to an extent that's almost a cliché, like the platonic form of Ordinary Guy. He gets up every morning, kisses his wife, Laura (Golshifteh Farahani), and sits down to a breakfast of Cheerios eaten out of a juice glass. He goes to work as a bus driver for the New Jersey Transit Authority, carrying a metal lunchpail. At the end of his day, he comes home, takes the dog for a walk and stops in for a beer at his neighborhood bar.

Trumpdance

Outside events cast a long shadow over the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.
Before the 2017 Sundance Film Festival kicked off on Jan. 19, a colleague joked on Twitter that the inauguration of Donald Trump—which occurred on the fest's first full day—would frame every wrap-up piece.

Minor Miner

Gold never shakes free from its too-familiar story idea.
There's nothing fancypants here ... just underpants, like a potbellied Matthew McConaughey prancing around in tighty-whities. Fun for the whole family!

Mind the Gap

20th Century Women offers a compassionate take on generational shifts.
Dorothea, it turns out, is something of a trailblazer herself, a woman who went to flight school for a chance to fight in World War II, and a trained architect.

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