Going for a down the middle rating because it's one of those films that absolutely defies classification. Totally earnest and full of too-close-to-the-sun ambition while also being a strangely insightful portrait of Massachusetts college life circa 2010. Unforgettable to say the least.
In one corner you’ve got Tom Cruise and Meryl Streep getting to play off each other and providing an actually engaging storyline between a journalist clueing in to the Bush administration’s warmongering lies. And then you’ve got the meaningless mess of Redford as a smug college professor and Andrew Garfield playing an obnoxious libertarian. The scene could play like a critique of the conservative movement’s student cultivation techniques (think Kavanaugh) if it actually took a moment to satirize anything. Then…
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Punishes its protagonist for the horrible crime of ... exposing frauds and exploiters?
An attempt at an anthology style horror film with no sense for how to do the wrap around segments, wholly underwhelming with terrible dialogue delivered poorly even by a veteran like Martin Freeman.
I'll admit to being spooked during the night watchman sequence, but even that drops the ball in its reveal. Whereas the kid who finds a demon and the rest of the jump scare laden…
Screening at the Harvard Film Archive with Obayashi in person. Best part of the Q&A came when someone asked if Gorgeous was being punished for her treatment of her stepmother or if she was simply a victim of circumstance. Obayashi's cheerful response:
"All human beings deserve to be punished."