Author: <span class="vcard">Andrew Emerson</span>

Image courtesy of Bleecker Street.

Colette: ** ½
The Sisters Brothers: ****

Two recent films both had the misfortune of being tagged as “tonally uneven” by a number of publications.[1] The first, Wash Westmoreland’s Colette, is a biopic of Gabrielle Colette (Keira Knightley), a fin de siècle Frenchwoman who ghostwrote novels for her husband Willy (Dominic West). In Jacques Audiard’s The Sisters Brothers, on the other hand, two sibling assassins, Eli (John C. Reilly) and Charlie Sisters (Joaquin Phoenix), are ordered to track down and kill a prospector (Riz Ahmed) during the California Gold Rush.

Even though both Colette and Sisters can be described as tonally inconsistent, this condition doesn’t affect the two films in the same way.

Reviews - New Releases/Festivals

Image courtesy of Universal.

**** (out of 4)

Whether it’s Abraham Lincoln (Lincoln) or Winston Churchill (Darkest Hour), well-known historical figures have always been susceptible to idolatrous movie treatments. But that’s especially true in the case of Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling), the subject of Damien Chazelle’s First Man. By now, after all, Apollo 11 has become an indelible part of our national mythology. Armstrong’s “small step for man” one-liner is virtually synonymous with American triumph, and in traditional tellings of American history, his moonwalk always stands out as a rare unifying moment in the otherwise turbulent landscape of the late 1960s.

Thankfully, First Man calls out this conventional understanding of Apollo 11 for what it really is: historical amnesia.

Reviews - New Releases/Festivals

Image courtesy of Warner Bros.

** (out of 4)

In 1937, William Wellman (Wings, The Ox-Bow Incident) directed A Star Is Born, a film about an aspiring actress named Vicki who rises to fame with the help of an older, alcoholic movie star named Norman. Flash forward eight decades, and Bradley Cooper has just directed, produced, written, and starred in a third remake of Wellman’s work.

Reviews - New Releases/Festivals