Category: Reviews – New Releases/Festivals

Image courtesy of Universal.

* (out of 4)

Peter Farrelly’s Green Book tries to breathe new life into the interracial buddy narrative, a genre whose roots run all the way back to Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. At the film’s start, Tony (Viggo Mortensen), an Italian-American bouncer, finds himself temporarily out of work after his employer’s nightclub closes for renovations. Unwilling to work for the Mafia, he eventually agrees to become a chauffeur for Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali), a black pianist who’s about to embark on a concert tour through the Deep South.

Reviews - New Releases/Festivals

Image courtesy of Zipporah Films.

**** (out of 4)

Depictions of rural America frequently fall prey to two sorts of caricatures. On the one hand, films like Captain Fantastic portray non-urban environments as paradisiacal, suggesting that they embody a kind of emotional purity that you simply won’t find anywhere else. Meanwhile, ever since Donald Trump became president, many commentators have instead encouraged the notion that rural America is a haven for bigots, a backward part of the country that teems with rednecks and gun nuts.

In his latest documentary, Monrovia, Indiana, Frederick Wiseman repudiates both of these conceptions. Instead, through his depiction of everyday life in the titular town, he portrays rural America as a region that suffers from three particular afflictions – none of which have anything to do with Trump.

Reviews - New Releases/Festivals

Image courtesy of Annapurna Pictures.

* ½ (out of 4)

After Michael Moore, Adam McKay is easily the closest thing Hollywood has to a resident democratic socialist. In McKay’s last film, The Big Short, he dissected Wall Street’s role in the 2008 financial crisis with such vehemence that he earned the praise of Bernie Sanders himself. Now, in Vice, McKay takes aim at Dick Cheney (Christian Bale), the former vice president who – to hear McKay tell it – was directly responsible for the dumbing-down of public discourse, the exacerbation of climate change, the erosion of American democracy, and the deaths of thousands of Americans in counterproductive foreign interventions.

Reviews - New Releases/Festivals