Film Reviews: King Richard | Ghostbusters: Afterlife | power of the dog

King Richard

Ghostbusters: Afterlife (12A) **

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Dog power (12A) **

The early rise of tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams to the pinnacle of a sport they dominated and transformed are the subject of King Richard, a lively and highly entertaining biopic of their ultra-focused father, Richard Williams, played here with a combination of grit and outsized charisma by an in-form Will Smith.

The Williams family story is one of the most fascinating in modern sport, so it’s no surprise that it is the subject of a film. For years, Venus and Serena – who grew up in gang-ridden Compton – have been tennis’ worst-kept secret, a self-made myth in the making, with Venus even appearing as a character in the willfully abstruse debut novel by David Foster Wallace in 1996. Infinite Jest, just two years after making his professional debut at the age of 14. But this part of their journey is also dominated by Richard’s unwavering belief not only in his daughters’ talents, but also in his own ability to help them thrive. meaning to examine their history through his own.

This can pose a few problems, no doubt, and director Reinaldo Marcus Green (Monsters and Men) never quite resolves how to portray Venus and Serena (played by Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton respectively – both fantastic) as anything other than idealized teenagers who rarely push against their parents, nor seem to inspire any jealousy in their other sisters. But Green also subtly undermines the Richard mythos via the no-frills turn of Aunjanue Ellis as his wife Oracene, whose centrality to their daughters’ success is gradually revealed in ways that challenge Richard’s myopic view. on how things went.

Through it all, Smith is good at digging beneath the surface of Richard’s bluster and showmanship as he negotiates a sport plagued by racism, classism and exploitation, not to mention a social system. -economical who will not tolerate people like him making mistakes. There’s also the entertaining backing of Jon Bernthal as Venus’ permanently exasperated coach Rick Macci, and while we know how Venus and Serena’s story unfolds, Green cleverly cuts it to a point that offers all the drama of a classic sports movie, right down to the rousing Rocky-style finale.

Phoebe (Mckenna Grace) in the Ecto-1 jump seat in Columbia Pictures’ Ghostbusters: Afterlife

The macabre force of nostalgia haunts Ghostbusters: Afterlife, a disappointing exercise in fan service that attempts to capture the spirit of the beloved 1984 blockbuster by pointing its proton pack directly at all the elements that made it fun and trapping them in a story designed to appeal to weaned kids. on Stranger Things and all those toxic super-fans who objected to 2016’s gender-swap iteration.

Erasing that film from the franchise timeline, this latest reboot comes from director Jason Reitman, who echoes his own family connection to the original (his father, Ivan Reitman, directed it) by giving his next generation of Ghostbusters a direct link to its Bill Murray-led team. So we have Carrie Coon as Callie, a cash-strapped single mother whose financial woes have forced her to relocate her two children – clumsy teenager Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) and clumsy teenager Phoebe ( McKenna Grace) – in the creepy farmhouse she separated. , her recently deceased father left her.

While it’s no secret that his father was one of the original Ghostbusters, the film tries hard to keep his precise identity a secret for much of the first act, a groaning choice considering the extent to which the movie tips its hat as it introduces us to science-obsessed Phoebe in her out-of-the-box nerd glasses. Nevertheless, the first parts of the film have charm. That’s mostly thanks to the sardonic Coon, a sarcastic Paul Rudd (playing a seismologist reduced to teaching summer school to bored kids), and Grace, whose funny turn as Phoebe is fun enough even though the film does nothing to help him transcend “science”. girl,” a cliche movies always deploy when they want to champion gender equality in a way that won’t threaten or confuse the delicate sensibilities of aging fanboys.

Sadly, once the film reintroduces the original Ghostbusters (via YouTube clips of the first film billed as vintage news), Reitman pretty much gives up on claiming it’s a real movie in need of an update. has a plot and story all its own and begins to bombard us with artifacts, characters, and callbacks that are as boring as this pun.

power of the dog

There’s Something A Little Overcooked About Jane Campion’s New Movie power of the dog, his first feature since 2009’s Bright Star. Though boasting a stellar cast and generally lavish visuals, this western-themed study in masculinity is built around a plot reveal so obvious and stretched out that it lessens the impact of the more intriguing and macabre twist it ultimately builds to.

Benedict Cumberbatch takes the lead as Phil Burbank, a cowboy in 1925 Montana who runs a cattle ranch with his more polished brother George (Jesse Plemons). When George suddenly takes a local widower named Rose (Kirsten Dunst, brilliant) as his wife, an outraged Phil devotes himself to persecuting her and her bewildered son (Kodi Smit-McPhee). Alas, the film is so coy here in its attempt at misdirection, it blinds Campion to the tragic trope the story ends up perpetuating, which also gives Cumberbatch’s performance the whiff of Oscar bait.

King Richard is in theaters from November 19; Ghostbusters: Afterlife hits theaters November 18; Power of the Dog is available on select releases from November 19 and streams on Netflix from December 1.

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