This intense and captivating film noir from 1950 feels groundbreaking and significant and deserving of noteworthy acclaim, which unfairly it hasn't received. While watching this remarkable film, I couldn't help but be keenly aware of how ahead of its time Undercover Girl is, not just for its content but cinematically. The story follows a female police officer named Christine Miller (played with mesmerizing brilliance by Alexis Smith in a career-best performance), who is determined to avenge the murder of her father by going undercover to take down the narcotics ring responsible for his death. In so many ways, this feels like a fantastic precursor for Police Woman, Cagney and Lacey, and even Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. Yet, the gender of our main character is not the only celebratory element: this is a damn good movie from start to finish. Giving Alexis Smith terrific on-screen support is Royal Dano in a complex role (his movie debut nonetheless) with which the very talented actor gains the audience's sympathy - something tough to do for a desperate low rent character. Director Joseph Pevney (who would continue to helm films with strong female leads including Because of You with Loretta Young and Female on the Beach with Joan Crawford) knows how to hold his audience in a permanent state of suspense, masterfully creating a level of nail-biting intensity, evident in the last riveting ten minutes of this taut thriller (you'll be on the edge of your seat cheering our tough and clever heroine on). There's much to admire about this hugely underrated cinematic gem: from breaking gender norms (a woman on the screen who has a dangerous job and isn't relegated to housework and cocktail serving to her overworked husband) to being one of the best crime films made, Undercover Girl deserves far better glory and a lot of respect.
I hope you bring your appetite to this deliciously devilish film. The Menu , a dark horror comedy film directed by Mark Mylod, delivers every course it serves. Stylistic and aesthetically exquisite, this movie will be celebrated not only for its mesmerizing visuals but for it's clever script, expert direction, and nuanced performances from a cast of ultra talented actors, including a wonderful Judith Light (will someone please put this wonderful woman in more films?). The creepy premise feels simple: a group of self-obsessed strangers find themselves sharing a terrifying experience. They're the guest at a posh, elite private restaurant located on a secluded island in the middle of nowhere (or, so it seems). The first half of the film is a slow move, keeping the audience (and the characters) in one location: the dining room and adjacent kitchen of the restaurant. Mylod takes a chance by keeping us here for so long, but it's a risk that works because, as an audience member, I
Watching Shawn Levy's sci-fi action comedy The Adam Project is a fun, thrilling experience. The concept of the film is clever: a fighter pilot travels back to a specific point in his life, only to meet (and bond with) his younger self. The always-charming Ryan Reynolds is our leading man, playing the grown-up version of Adam Reed. Reynolds continues to prove he knows a thing or two about being funny. Here, his comedic timing is sharper than ever, evident each time he delivers hilarious lines of dialogue. The pairing of Reynolds with young actor Walker Scobell (who plays a 12-year old version of Adam Reed) creates a fantastic comedic duo. Their dynamic is very enjoyable to watch. They are surrounded by an all-star cast, appearing mostly in supporting roles, including Mark Ruffalo and Jennifer Garner (both should've been given more screen time), and a devilish performance by Catherine Keener as an ultra-villain who you will love to hate. At the heart of the film, this is a good
From start to finish, Empire of Light is an exquisite film. Set in the early 1980's in a beautiful, vintage cinema in a quaint English seaside town, the film explores the complexities of the lives of those who work at the movie theater. While it's certainly an ensemble film, Olivia Colman's brilliant performance coupled with Micheal Ward's nuanced portrayal of her unexpected leading man allows both to shine in extraordinary ways rarely seen in contemporary films. Their performances are masterful individually, yet equally powerful as a poetic duet of two seemingly different people impacted by the collision of lives. Featuring a sensational supporting cast that includes standout performances by Toby Jones, Hannah Onslow, and Tom Brooke, Mendes creates a bittersweet extended family out of his characters all connected by place, something anyone who has worked in a similar public-serving job can relate to. At it's core, Empire of Light is a fascinating and sometime bru