“Last Night in Soho” delves into every stylistic blossoming, disguising the inevitable plot twists

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Last night in Soho

*** 1/2 Of all the spectral threats plaguing Ellie (Thomasin McKenzie), fresh-faced protagonist of the wonderful new paranormal thriller Last night in Soho, the worst moments of vicarious fear occur early on when the rural stock exchange student first braves her draped classmates at a posh fashion institute in central London. Soon fleeing an insufferable roommate (Synnove Karlsen), our brave family heroine stumbles upon a guesthouse with a stern landlady (the last role of always imperious Diana Rigg) and dusty furniture. On the first night, Ellie lays down to sleep while turning 45s, she is transported to the Soho swing of the 60s, where she meets Sandy (Anya Taylor-Joy), a fiery singer whose point of view Ellie takes with astonishment. during what becomes nocturnal visits. Even without Matt Smith’s heel turn as Sandy’s abusive manager / lover, the script’s guiding vanity threatens overly smart and smart uselessness, but director Edgar Wright (Baby Driver, Warm down) gracefully rotates from romantic comedy to opulent period musical to horror Hammer without a snark, fully engaging with every disparate genre. Whatever smell of casual emptiness lurking beneath the uncluttered charms of Wright’s previous films, Last night in Soho looks at each stylistic blossoming as further illustration of the retro delights linking Ellie to the past while seamlessly disguising the inevitable plot twists. Audiences don’t need to be oversold on the dangers that await a damsel falling head over heels for the wrong man or the wrong time. The trick is to convince us why it would keep coming back. R. JAY HORTON. Baghdad, Bridgeport, Cedar Hills, Cinema 21, City Center, Dine-In Progress Ridge, Eastport Plaza, Evergreen Parkway, Fox Tower, Hollywood, Lloyd Center, Movies on TV, Pioneer Place, Studio One, Tigard.

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The last duel

**** The place is France. The time is in the Middle Ages. The crime is rape. This is the premise of The last duel, director Ridley Scott’s thunderous cinematic portrayal of Marguerite de Carrouges (Jodie Comer), a real-life nobleman who accused Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver), a squire and knight, of sexually assaulting her. Each of the film’s three acts is shot from a character’s perspective – first Marguerite’s husband, Sir Jean de Carrouges (Matt Damon), then Le Gris, then Marguerite. While Male Perspectives were written by Damon and Ben Affleck, the scenes that scrutinize Marguerite’s soul were scripted by Nicole Holofcener, who emphasizes the tension between monstrous male delusions and brutal female realities. The last duel understands the fluidity of memory – in one scene, Le Gris willfully misinterprets Marguerite’s mocking smile as flirtatious – but he unequivocally states that only Marguerite is telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth. The trial through the fight between Carrouges and Le Gris which decides whether Marguerite will be justified or burnt alive is exhilaratingly brutal, but the film continues to cut the blood to show us her haunted and hardened features. The greatest war of The last duel is the one she leads against patriarchy, proving that Scott, who also led Extraterrestrial and Thelma & Louise-is still a feminist in essence. R. BENNETT CAMPBELL FERGUSON. Bridgeport, Cedar Hills, City Center, Cornelius, Dine-In Progress Ridge, Eastport Plaza, Evergreen Parkway, Fox Tower, Living Room, Lloyd Center, Movies on TV, Oak Grove, Sherwood, Studio One, Tigard.

No time to die

*** The essence of James Bond is iteration, evolving just enough to survive new eras rather than wrap up, much like the Cold War, Hollywood machine, and patriarchal setting that gave birth to the character. It is therefore an unprecedented position in which No time to die lies: singing an almost three-hour swan song on Daniel Craig’s chiseled, well-meaning, haunted 007. Director Cary Joji Fukunaga (The beasts of no nation) breaks the visual ground in the enchanting blues and purples of the nightlife settings of Cuba and Jamaica, and bursts of eerie emotional tension mark its hallmark on the action scenes. Meanwhile, stellar supporting actors like Ralph Fiennes (M), Jeffrey Wright (Felix Leiter) and Naomie Harris (Moneypenny) savor their chemistry with Craig until the last sip. Sure, No time to die was literally and figuratively meant two years ago (delayed by COVID-19), when his plot about armed contagions wasn’t so vicious, when villainous Rami Malek’s dead gaze and monotonous whisper wasn’t so tired . More impressive than fun, this 25th release of Bond ends the Craig years of all the grief (for Madeleine Swann of Léa Seydoux) and the visceral kicks that he has cultivated since. Casino Royale. Still in pain, still trying to stop, Craig’s Bond was the only 007 who saw an end from the very beginning. PG-13. CHANCE SOLEM-PFEIFER. Baghdad, Bridgeport, Cedar Hills, Cinema 21, Dine-In Progress Ridge, Evergreen Parkway, Fox Tower, Laurelhurst, Living Room, Lloyd Center, Movies on TV, Pioneer Place, St. Johns Twin Cinemas, Studio One, Tigard.

Bingo hell

** Among the quartet of independent horror films airing on Amazon Prime in October for the second annual Welcome to the Blumhouse anthology series, Bingo hell continues along the light, heavy formula of the gold-plated schlockmeister. While most of Blumhouse’s productions depend on a constant flow of film-ready young people in their twenties, presented as beautiful corpses, this dark, satirical fable focuses on a rather different demographic. In a working-class New Orleans neighborhood recently overtaken by hipster Millennials, Lupita, the Hausfrau heroine of Adriana Barraza, can’t help but notice the sudden exodus of her cohorts of elderly people in the wake of the The overnight appearance of a suspicious luxury department store run by the sinister sinister Mr. Big (Richard Brake), whose big-screen grin furiously chews every inch of the casino’s hellish landscape. A premise confusing gentrification with selling its soul has bite, and the much more engaging first half of the image clearly illustrates the plight of struggling seniors already plagued by a rapacious housing market long before the devil does come to town. Sadly, this measured world-building makes the scenes interspersed with close-up carnage particularly cartoonish, and however textured the victims’ stories may be, their bloody fate seems eerily incidental – collateral damage in the service of more important points expressed by a no. too smart political sketch. Characters so skillfully constructed should be able to die gracefully. NR. JAY HORTON. Amazon Prime.

The French dispatch

** A prison guard becomes the muse of an inmate. A journalist puts an aspiring activist to bed. The son of a police commissioner is kidnapped by a criminal called Le Chauffeur. These are the stories that define director Wes Anderson The French dispatch, a cheerful anthology of tales from a fictional publication called The French dispatch of Liberty, Kansas Sunset. The film was inspired by articles from The New Yorker, but its mix of pastel colors and deadpan spirit is pure Anderson. Its staging is painfully precise – even a clash between protesters and police resembles a series of stills – and it threatens to oust the lives of a cast that includes Bill Murray, Benicio del Toro, Timothée Chalamet and Jeffrey Wright. . Still, Anderson’s agitation isn’t as unsettling as his attitude toward the film’s female journalists, including JKL Berensen (Tilda Swinton) and Lucinda Krementz (Frances McDormand). Both covet the subjects of their articles, a toxic trope that Anderson deploys without the slightest trace of his characteristic irony. Some of his early films, in particular Rushmore and the Royal tenenbaums– have aged with good-natured grace, but The French dispatch proves he has a long way to go if he is to be the intelligent, compassionate comedian he once was. R. BENNETT CAMPBELL FERGUSON. Cedar Hills, Cinema 21, Dine-In Progress Ridge, Evergreen Parkway, Hollywood.

Dune

* A new threat is looming in the universe. His evil plan? To annoy moviegoers until they pass out. Her name? Director Denis Villeneuve. After the haunting poetry of Arrival and the dreamy romanticism of Blade Runner 2049, Villeneuve seemed incapable of creating a bad science fiction film. Yet he did so with his adaptation of Frank Herbert’s towering 1965 novel. Dune, which follows the heavy adventures of the noble Paul Atréides (Timothée Chalamet) on the desert planet Arrakis. The film continues to hint at Paul’s potential to become an interplanetary messiah, but Chalamet is so pale and lifeless that it’s hard to care whether the character lives or dies. Rebecca Ferguson adds fiery charisma as Paul’s mother, Lady Jessica, but Villeneuve buries her performance under a seemingly endless stream of information about Arrakis politics, rituals, and ecology. He cares more about world building than storytelling, which is why watch Dune it feels like you’re reading an excruciatingly dry textbook instead of watching a movie. Some people will see the existence of a 155-minute big-budget art film as a sign of hope in a cinematic landscape dotted with superhero exhilaration, but Dune is not salvation. It’s a stark reminder that pretension can be just as punitive as commercialism. PG-13. BENNETT CAMPBELL FERGUSON. Cedar Hills, Cinemagic, Dine-In Progress Ridge, Evergreen Parkway, Fox Tower, Laurelhurst, Living Room, Lloyd Center, Movies on TV, Pioneer Place, St. Johns Theater & Pub, St. Johns Twin Cinemas, Studio One, Tigard , Wunderland Beaverton.


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