Guillermo del Toro’s decision to remake Studio-Era Crime Yarn’s “Nightmare Alley” is strange

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BEST CHOICE OF THE WEEK

The power of the dog

When Phil Burbank (Benedict Cumberbatch) sees Peter (Kodi Smit-McPhee) watching him bathe outside in The power of the dog, he yells and calls him a little bitch. It’s a terrifying moment, but it’s also the start of a twisted friendship that defines this triumphantly suspenseful western directed by Jane Campion (The piano, Top of the lake). Based on a novel by Thomas Savage and set in 1925, The power of the dog takes place on a Montana cattle ranch where the stench of resentment equals the smell of manure. Boiling over his brother’s (Jesse Plemons) marriage to a widow named Rose (Kirsten Dunst), Phil torments them both. His ultimate revenge on Rose? Preparing Peter, her teenage son, to become her protege, and maybe something more. Violence is inevitable, but Campion is more interested in the tragic erosion of Rose’s dignity and the angst Phil experiences as a gay man locked in a tyrannically heteronormative world. By capturing Phil’s dangerous petulance and haunting vulnerability, Cumberbatch makes the character worthy of both our loathing and compassion. If you see the movie, you may despise it, but like Peter, you won’t be able to look away. R. BENNETT CAMPBELL FERGUSON. Hollywood, Netflix.

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Gucci House

When Aldo Gucci (Al Pacino) learns that his reign over the fashion empire that bears his name has ended in Gucci House, he yells: “I’m dead!” Dead! ”It’s a scene that allows Pacino to turn pounding into great art – a talent he shares with all of the cast in this elegant and lavish melodrama directed by Ridley Scott. Gucci House stars Lady Gaga as Patrizia Reggiani, who in 1998 was convicted of ordering a hit on her ex-husband, Gucci heir Maurizio Gucci (Adam Driver). As Patrizia and Maurizio, Lady Gaga and Driver have steamy chemistry – when she pulls him into a bubble bath, their erotic energy almost vaporizes the screen. Again Gucci House is less of a love story than it is Frankenstein like a soap opera, with Maurizio as the monster and Patrizia as its creator. She ignites his ambitions, tragically sealing his fate – only to be rejected when he overthrows Aldo and takes command of Gucci. With obsessive fervor, Scott drinks into the grotesque magnificence of the Gucci dynasty, savoring their elegant possessions and lyrical emotions. Maurizio Gucci may be dead, but thanks to the palpable enthusiasm of Scott and the cast, Gucci House has hunger in his eyes, lust in his heart, and the sweet breath of decay in his lungs. R. BENNETT CAMPBELL FERGUSON. Bridgeport, Cedar Hills, City Center, Dine-In Progress Ridge, Evergreen Parkway, Fox Tower, Lake Theater & Cafe, Living Room, Lloyd Center, Movies on TV, Pioneer Place, Sherwood, St. Johns Twin Cinemas, Studio One, Tigard.

Citizen Ashe

Arthur Ashe may have broken racial barriers in tennis in the early 1960s, but when it came to finding his place among the militant black athletes of the time, he flourished late. At its most insightful, Rex Miller’s new documentary (Althea) and Sam Pollard (MLK / FBI) deduces that Ashe’s gradual discovery of her voice on civil rights was due to her internalization of a grueling perfectionism and streak of respectability while thriving in America’s whitest major sport. In this way, Citizen Ashe examines an athlete who is reduced, however ironically, to pioneer status. But what about the man himself? Sometimes even the film is not sure. The end credits reveal Ashe’s widow, Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, showing the depths of her library. This proof of an intellectual thirst stands out as one of the rare journalistic moments of the film as opposed to the simple biography. Most, Citizen Ashe Works and obliges like your average 30 for 30– sports doc level. The details of Ashe’s ingenious wager against Jimmy Connors at Wimbledon in 1975 are fascinating, and activist Harry Edwards fascinatingly assesses the secret radicalism of Ashe’s anti-apartheid rhetoric. Ultimately, grappling with the inevitable details of Ashe’s tragic health issues, Citizen Ashe content with the simple conclusion that he was a great man. It’s not false. NR. CHANCE SOLEM-PFEIFER. CNN, HBO Max, on demand.

Encanto

A dazzling swirl of color brimming with unstoppable joy in every frame, Disney’s 60th animated feature film, Encanto, is a wonder to behold, but the story of a South American clan endowed with extraordinary powers becomes a struggle to endure. Even though he’s presented vividly by fiercely envious Mirabel (voiced by Stephanie Beatriz), the only Madrigal member born without special abilities, the gifts bestowed upon his family seem to be best returned. Still-thriving older sister Isabela (Diane Guerrero) rides her ability to conjure flowers towards the de facto princess, while healing culinary prowess keeps Mirabel’s mother (Angie Cepeda) in the kitchen and super-strong middle sister Luisa ( Jessica Darrow) relegated the workforce. Even more frighteningly, the change in shape made Cousin Camilo schizophrenic, perfect hearing makes his sister Dolores incurable gossip, Aunt Pepa still walks under a miniature rain cloud, and prophecies presented on an emerald flat screen for the Mirabel’s uncle effectively forced his ban years ago. Details of the disappearance of Bruno (John Leguizamo), the black sheep of the family, begin to emerge via Lin-Manuel Miranda’s original score. We learn that his special ability is to predict the future – foretold unwanted fates that become all too true. When powers begin to wane and cracks in the parquet echo family cracks, Mirabel sets out on a quest to piece together her uncle’s most recent visions. In other words, despite the supposed wonders of the mighty madrigals, our heroine prefers to abandon her family and watch new stories appear on a rigged iPad. Judging by the murmured dismay of an increasingly less enchanted young audience, she is far from alone. PG. JAY HORTON. Bridgeport, Cedar Hills, City Center, Dine-In Progress Ridge, Evergreen Parkway, Fox Tower, Lake Theater & Cafe, Lloyd Center, Movies on TV, Pioneer Place, Sherwood, Studio One, Tigard, Wunderland Milwaukie.

Meet

Narratively and thematically, this sci-fi drama from Amazon Studios is a big throwback in a corner. Soon after, Malik (Riz Ahmed) embarks on a surprise road trip with his two estranged sons and a massive conspiracy theory on alien parasites, a showdown with law enforcement and an audience shouting, “Well, is -this true?!” seems imminent. On the way to the painted corner, however, there is a lot to enjoy. From an exciting young actor to an über-engaged award nominee with last year The sound of metalAhmed disguises himself skillfully with a crass accent and the edgy defense of an ex-Marine, and he’s irresistibly off-balance while trying to play the cool daddy. But moves toward an elusive, Jeff Nichols-esque genre fare are often overruled by miscalculated drama. With a storyline focused on the salvation and death of Malik, up-and-coming director Michael Pearce gives Malik’s parole officer, played by Octavia Spencer, very little to do and the child actors playing his estranged boys ( Lucian-River Chauhan and Aditya Geddada) far too. No matter how much rubber they burn in the Nevada desert, they can’t get past the over-the-top annoyance of the film – a potential family film defined by fringe terror. This is probably why X files The motto is not “whatever the truth, put your children in danger”. R. CHANCE SOLEM-PFEIFER. Amazon Prime.

Alley of nightmares

As Guillermo del Toro’s only feature film between the 2017 Oscars The shape of water and next fall is long delayed Pinocchio, remake the thread of the crime of the studio era Alley of nightmares seemed a particularly curious choice for the fantasy author’s victory lap. The remake of the 1947 classic about traveling grotesques and the predatory mentalist Stanton “Stan” Carlisle (Bradley Cooper) who joins their act clearly despises the supernatural. And, devoid of its usual tropes, even del Toro’s stunning visuals – grim midway attractions and crystalline art deco interiors – threaten to overwhelm the hazy narrative and cavalcade of familiar faces fleshing out the underwritten roles. Cate Blanchett alone seems aware enough of the surrounding silliness to turn her psychotherapist co-conspirator into a femme fatale emoji, all in cheekbones and gall, as our supposed anti-hero Cooper wanders through their scenes with a sloppy mouth of painful confusion. While few modern stars can replicate the cocked swagger fueling Tyrone Power’s heel bend as the original Stanton, Cooper’s hesitant, cutesy, perhaps confused interpretation reveals a fundamental misinterpretation of the material. Already overwhelmed by awkward dialogue featuring the most cheesy slogans of the era, del Toro and Kim Morgan’s main script plunges headlong into a laborious exposition of the methodology used for every telepathy routine and fixed session. Despite all of del Toro’s gifts, the main monster sympathizer of his generation obviously cannot comprehend the beasts men make of themselves. R. JAY HORTON. Bridgeport, Cedar Hills, Cinema 21, City Center, Clackamas Town Center, Dine-In Progress Ridge, Eastport Plaza, Evergreen Parkway, Fox Tower, Hollywood, Movies on TV, Tigard, Vancouver Mall.

West Side Story

“Don’t you think I’m someone else?” “I know you are not.” These lovely words were exchanged by Tony (Richard Beymer) and Maria (Natalie Wood) when they first met in the 1961 film adaptation. West Side Story. Yet Steven Spielberg, the last director to have adapted Leonard Bernstein’s musical riff on Romeo and Juliet, apparently decided that banality beats beauty. With the precision of a surgeon, he transformed West Side Story in an epic so inflated and not very magical that even its sublime dance scenes cannot make it worth seeing. The overall story hasn’t changed – again, the romance between Tony (Ansel Elgort) and Maria (Rachel Zegler) is rocked by a confrontation between white and Puerto Rican gangs in 1950s New York – but it is. weighed down by Tony Kushner’s painfully literal script. . The new Tony and Maria don’t use the almost poetic verse of the original film – they exchange excruciatingly obvious phrases like “You’re not Puerto Rican” and “Are you okay?” It doesn’t help that Elgort is too insincere and uncharismatic to play an exuberantly optimistic character like Tony, but the real culprit is Spielberg. The whole movie is imbued with his madness – the madness of a filmmaker who trusted a leading man without a soul and foolishly believed that a classic could be improved upon. PG-13. BENNETT CAMPBELL FERGUSON. Bridgeport, Cedar Hills, City Center, Clackamas Town Center, Cornelius, Dine-In Progress Ridge, Eastport Plaza, Evergreen Parkway, Fox Tower, Living Room, Lloyd Center, Movies on TV, Sherwood, Studio One, Tigard.


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