Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Accountant

Gavin O'Connor's The Accountant is a peculiar tale of a high-functioning autist (Ben Affleck) whose brilliance with numbers and inability to connect with other humans make him an ace CPA. Those attributes do not explain, however, his skill as a marksman or why he plays a hired assassin when he is not finding tax shelters for clients. Those answers are delivered in time in this violent, amoral story of greed, corruption and failed systems (government, law enforcement, family, medicine). Affleck is fine as the lethal and generally unflappable anti-hero (he's a completion addict and has this thing about threes) and Anna Kendrick is good as the requisite distressed damsel who is more of a likable plot device than a full-blown character. Also in the cast are Jon Bernthal as rival killer, J.K. Simmons as a Treasury Department honcho and the lovely Cynthia Addai-Robinson as an analyst who is tasked with tracking down the elusive accountant. I enjoyed the puzzles at the movie's center and tittered at all of the robotic killing. The body count is yuuuugggge. Recommended.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Birth of a Nation

Setting aside the license writer / director Nate Parker has taken in his retelling of the slave rebellion led by Nat Turner, the film distresses because it borrows so freely and unnecessarily from the slave film canon. The freshest element is Parker’s portrayal of Turner but even his performance, which is quite good BTW, has remnant patches of Roots, Glory and even 12 Years a Slave. The film is as bleak and bloody as the event it recounts but without the resonance of many of its predecessors and so I left feeling awful but not enlightened.

Queen & Slim

In the soon to be iconic photograph from Melina Matsoukas's distressing Queen & Slim, stars Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith...