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A mix of comedy, true crime, and social commentary, Hustlers is a visually engaging, well-written, and overall enjoyable cinematic experience. Jennifer Lopez delivers a bravura performance truly worthy of a Best Supporting Actress nomination at the Oscars. Her Ramona is charismatic, nuanced, scheming, funny, suave, and motherly all at once; though largely an ensemble piece, Lopez's performance truly ties the entire film together — from her dazzling entrance to her final line.
The Lighthouse is an atmospherically brilliant puzzle of a film - with stunning black and white cinematography, haunting visuals, and a foreboding score. Taking many cues from The Shining, it's successful as a chilling (even terrifying) exercise in semi-horror (with enough humor to balance out the darkness), even if not all of its provocative symbols and events fall into place. You may leave the theater scratching your head, but you will be satisfied by what you saw. The film will stick with you after - as you try to unpack its strangeness.
Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding are great together (Clarke is a very talented comedic actress and Golding is as charming as ever) and the premise at the core of their characters' story is genuinely interesting. But the film that surrounds them does them a great disservice — it's a messy, tonally uneven patchwork of corniness and poor writing that has no direction. The film never seems to land on what it wants to be, throwing ideas and random, badly connected storylines onto the canvas. If it had merely focused on Clarke and Golding, it just might have executed the main premise that much better. It's too bad - with the right editing and writing, this could have worked.
Thrilling, disturbing, and overall satisfying, Doctor Sleep is a faithful adaption of Stephen King's novel with just enough Kubrick to please movie nerds (like myself). The first half of the film is incredibly strong - anchored by a fantastic Rebecca Ferguson as the main antagonist - but does admittedly stumble towards the second half due to strange pacing and the rushing through of major developments. Despite Doctor Sleep's occasional moments of weakness (either in the script or in the performances) the cinematography is stunning, the reconstruction of the Overlook is impressive, and the way the film pays tribute to Kubrick - from the opening notes to the credit music - successfully contextualizes this thriller within The Shining's cinematic legacy. Kubrick's vision was one of a kind - and mere hints of his genius sprinkled throughout Doctor Sleep are enough to remind us of this fact.
Stylish, beautifully-filmed, and richly written, The King is nonetheless bogged down by a stiff, cold atmosphere and an unfortunate lifelessness. Despite impressive cosmetics, the film is rather unmemorable and never stirs any sense of excitement, passion, intrigue, suspense or interest in any of the characters on screen.