Another weekend of films getting mediocre reviews. I haven’t seen a movie for three weeks now, and I’m not sure I’m going to this week.
The best reviewed film of the week is Steven Spielberg’s The BFG (66), which does not stand for “Big Fucking Giant,” although I prefer to think it does. Written by the late Melissa Mathison, it seems like a good film for kids, but not for me. Anne Hornaday: “Roald Dahl’s beloved adventure tale about a brave little girl who befriends the titular Big Friendly Giant, finds Steven Spielberg in his natural element of childlike enchantment, yet also strangely out of step, his trusted sense of narrative propulsion and pacing occasionally failing him in a saggy, draggy second act.”
When I first heard about The Legend of Tarzan (43), I thought, again? But it has been over thirty years since Greystoke, the best Tarzan film I’ve seen. Alexander Skarsgard and Margot Robbie make an attractive Tarzan and Jane, but there are some questioning whether this character should be put in mothballs. I just may see it if I’m really bored. Steve Persall: “Filmmakers simply can’t make Tarzan like they used to. If someone tries, like director David Yates did with The Legend of Tarzan, he’s just another superhero, swinging on vines rather than spider webs. Natives can’t be restless. Lions won’t be wrestled…Tarzan fans leave feeling Cheetah’d.”
I saw the first Purge, not the second, so it’s doubtbul I see The Purge: Election Year (56). I’m tired of super-violent films that tell us that violence is wrong, when they are reaching out to people who wear red “Make America Great” baseball caps. Bilge Ebiri: “If The Purge: Election Year is ultimately still engaging, it’s largely because of the irresistibility of the basic concept itself. But this new movie also makes a pretty good case for why the series should end here: Things have not only come to their logical conclusion, but you get the curious sense that the filmmakers have run out of ideas.”
In a year of strange concepts for films (see The Lobster) comes Swiss Army Man (61), which combines Cast Away with Weekend at Bernie’s. It seems interesting, but I’m not sure I want to spend a couple of hours watching someone lugging around a flatulent corpse. Jordan Hoffman: “It’s coarse and it’s stupid, but it is, thanks mostly the two good performances and some stylish use of music and editing, a little bit moving.”