Reviewed by A.D. Beal

Phantom Thread
This film focuses on the strange relationship of a dressmaker (Daniel Day-Lewis) and a waitress turned model (Vicky Krieps).

Paul Thomas Anderson’s (Boogie Nights, Punch-Drunk Love) new film is strange, disturbing and even funny in a few moments. The relationship between our leads, Woodcock (Day-Lewis) and Alma (Krieps), is one which sometimes feels genuine, and other times you’re amazed that these two are still together. Day-Lewis is great of course, and it’s sad that this could be his last role. But wow, Krieps steals the show, portraying a character that is both warm and devious. Beyond that, the cinematography (which was supposedly done by Anderson himself) is gorgeous, and the way it sometimes goes out of focus really makes you feel like you’re seeing through the eyes of Woodcock. The film’s costume design can also not go without mention. Every stunning piece of clothing that the characters wear matches both the scene and color palette perfectly. And despite some moments where it could be taken out, Jonny Greenwood’s score is beautiful, especially the main theme named after the film itself and its variations.

Inspired by true events, a doctor (Jason Clarke) investigates Sarah Winchester’s (Helen Mirren) claims of being haunted by the ghosts of those killed by her company’s rifle.

The idea of a film based on the famous Winchester house is very interesting and open to several creative ideas, so it’s a shame that all Winchester has to offer is a generic haunted house film. Mirren is perfectly cast as the widowed Winchester, and Clarke is great as always, even if it does ham it up a bit more than usual. But unfortunately, that’s where the good of the film stops. Most of the scares in the film are jump scares, and while some work, they get tiring after a while. There are also entirely too many “false” scares as well. The rest of the cast also doesn’t do the film any favors, with the child character Henry not given any depth outside of “creepy child in danger of the ghosts”. There is some haunting cinematography in the film, with the production design perfectly capturing the look and creepiness of the house….until we see the horrible CGI exteriors of the house.

Maze Runner: The Death Cure
Thomas (Dylan O’Brien), along with the remaining ‘gladers’ plan a final siege on WCKD’s base of operations, where they hope to save a captured friend.

If there’s something the Maze Runner films have always been consistent in, it’s the direction and staging of set pieces that Wes Ball gives us. The action is edited smoothly, with most usage of handheld cam not feeling distracting, and the choreography is well done. Unfortunately, Ball also seems to be a director that needs to be given a better script, as most of the main actors are let down by the dialogue, and come off as bland. What’s even sadder is that the few genuinely good performances, such as Giancarlo Esposito and Walton Goggins, aren’t given as much screen time. In the film’s defense though, for having only a $62 million dollar budget, it’s effects are very good…even better than some that have 3 times that budget.

In 1892, an army captain transports a dying Cheyenne chief and his family to his final resting place, where several dangers await them.

Hostiles is a slow burn, one where its pacing sometimes works and other times doesn’t. But when it works, it really does work. Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike, Wes Studi and Adam Beach are all great in their roles, and while the supporting cast may not be as good as their leading counterparts, director Scott Cooper at least tries to give them a good amount of development through scenes of their own. I also applaud Cooper for not flinching with the violence, showing the harsh realities of the old west. The fact that Masanobu Takayanagi has been overlooked in the cinematography awards race is a real shame.