Don Shanahan reviews “Rebel in the Rye,” “Brad’s Status,” and “The Villainess” on Every Movie Has a Lesson

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REBEL IN THE RYE

As it has been outlined on this website before on films like Get On Up, biographical films have their formulas and rules.  In addressing the origins and rise to fame of reclusive author J.D. Salinger, Rebel in the Rye faces the familiar dramatization tightrope walk between sugarcoated hero worship and biting character study.  The creative choices made by Danny Strong, in his debut directorial effort, swirl between an engaging warm hug and an indifferent cold shoulder.

BRAD’S STATUS

For better or worse, Brad’s Status, speaks from a very insulated and ostentatious point of view, that of the taboo term of “white privilege.”  Even dramatized for soft realistic fiction, Mike White’s feature directorial debut tries to be a wakeup call of sorts.  The dramedy carries a message, a fair and good one mind you, but one that will, unfortunately, fall on multiple deaf ears.

THE VILLAINESS

The opening number makes the single-take climax fight with Charlize Theron in Atomic Blonde look like a box waltz lesson from an elementary school gym class.  The woman is the reckless assassin Sook-hee, played by Ok-bin Kim of Thirst, and the scene ends with a hint of a deranged smile of glee.  The Villainess spins with dynamic energy of wanton mayhem and operatic displays of graphic violence when the talking stops and confrontations begin.

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