Knives Out is an intricately spun whodunit starring an eccentric sleuth that would tickle the likes of Dame Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Daniel Craig and Ana de Armas star as super detective Benoit Blanc and nurse Marta, respectively. Marta is an unwilling, amateur John Watson to Craig’s country-fried Sherlock Holmes to delightful effect.
In contrast with director Martin Scorsese’s last two gangster epics, Casino and Goodfellas, The Irishman is director Martin Scorsese’s first effort in the trilogy without the aid of non-fiction crime author Nicholas Pileggi. Pileggi, the scribe of the books and screenplays behind Casino and Goodfellas, was replaced by author Charles Brandt and veteran screenwriter Steve Zaillian. Zaillian’s script is masterful, but the heavily disputed source material raises questions that The Irishman declines to ask.
Jojo Rabbit, an adaptation of Christine Leunens’s book, Caging Skies, is the newest work from writer-director Taika Waititi. A toothless satire that struggles to spit venom at its totalitarian state subject, Jojo Rabbit is the first miss for Waititi.
The Lighthouse—emphatically the best movie of the year featuring cabin fever, a delirious Willem Dafoe, and human-mermaid coitus—is writer-director Robert Eggers’s first film since 2016’s The Witch. Co-written with Eggers’s brother Max, The Lighthouse is a flawed-but-memorable follow-up to a horror genre masterpiece.
In May, Parasite unanimously and deservedly took home the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival. The 2019 Palme d’Or winner, a tour de force from writer-director Bong Joon-ho, could rightfully find itself in the conversation for the top prize at 92nd Academy Awards. Although no foreign-language film has ever won Best Picture and no South Korean film has ever been nominated in any category, Parasite would be worthy of the historical distinction.
Six years after the finale of Breaking Bad aired on AMC, series creator Vince Gilligan returned to one of the franchise’s lead characters with a feature-length film, El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, to firmly conclude this portion of the Breaking Bad story. (This shouldn’t be confused with lead character Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk), however, whose story is continued in AMC’s Better Call Saul.) Gilligan’s successfully returned to his signature story with Saul Goodman, but couldn’t generate the same results with Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul).
Director Andy Muschietti and screenwriter Gary Dauberman return to the It franchise to invite us back to Derry, Maine. That damned clown is at it again. Only, this time, like a car ride to a new place, it (no pun intended) isn’t as scary or interesting on the second go around.