An ambitious woman marries into a struggling fashion house. Loosely based on real events, this lacks narrative drive but is pleasant enough if one focuses on production design and on performances ranging from vivid to camp. It wants to be both The Godfather and The Wolf of Wall Street but falls between the two.
A wife helps her husband escape jail: a chase and media circus develops as they cross Texas to be reunited with their child. Excellent road movie/crime drama hybrid with comic and bittersweet touches, and full of directorial promise. Loads to recommend here.
A baseball team manager tries an unorthodox approach to player selection. Based on the Michael Lewis non-fiction account, this is a riveting sports drama from perhaps unpromisingly uncinematic – though excellent – source material. A smart script, understated playing, and keen observational direction make this a modern classic. Recommended.
Detectives struggle with a series of murders. Based very loosely on real-world unsolved crimes, this noir-ish thriller can’t decide whether to go for procedural or for obsessive cop angst. It tries both, and so doesn’t gel. Decent performances from an up-and-coming cast and an OK look make this a not-uninteresting curio though.
A tech wiz develops an online trading portal for drugs: a burnout agent begins to investigate. Loosely based on a true story, this thriller/drama plays off opposites – digital/analogue, young/old – to generally OK if at-times soapy effect. No real surprises, but some effective playing from a decent cast. Paul Walter Hauser shines in a key supporting role.
A remote US facility in 2006 Northern Afghanistan is attacked by Taliban forces. Based on true events, this is a generally even-handed attempt to tell a base-under-siege story (from the Jake Tapper book): strong on camaraderie and on the chaos of conflict, using pseudo-documentary elements to add clarity.
Five school friends have been playing the same game of tag for 30 years. Based on a true story, this is a solid action-comedy with a couple of moments of dark genius. The denouement is emotionally-manipulated, but by then the flick’s earned enough goodwill to let matters slide. Unexpectedly good, and thus a recommendation.
A school superintendent and their deputy are revealed, in part by a student investigation, to be embezzling from the school system. Smart black comedy-drama, based on a true story. Underplayed throughout, with fine performances from seasoned hands, and a sense that maybe the right lessons are still to be learned by some.
A mismatched trio of lighthouse keepers turn on each other. Lean, austere psychological thriller that – while not quite landing all of its story and character moments – offers meaty roles for its central characters, and a welcome change of pace for its star. The movie’s premise is based on a real-life incident.
An inadequate security guard becomes the focus of an FBI terrorism enquiry. A stately based-on-a-true-story drama which – despite some clunky telescoping of its story – delivers in character study terms, as well as acknowledging an unconventional hero. Not perfect, but recommended, and with a startling central performance from Paul Walter Hauser.