The moments of Blade Runner 2049 pass by too quickly, lost in the next gorgeous shot, meticulous special effect, or confounding mystery. Fluorescent advertisements reflect off of murky puddles at the street level, while the higher classes enjoy the seemingly infinite refraction of a glorious light off of crystalline indoor pools. It’s evident immediately: the world of Blade Runner 2049 is complex, dark, and fascinating – a finely-crafted melding of science fiction and noir filmmaking.
Fans of the crime comedy genre can rejoice, because we’ve been gifted a new masterpiece. Shane Black’s The Nice Guys is a fun throwback that sports a fantastic mixture of neo-noir and black comedy. Like the best examples of the genre, the story unfolds through a central mystery while multiple intriguing characters get roped into the proceedings. Black’s sensibilities take full advantage of the chemistry between stars Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling, and as a result the film compares favorably to similar movies like The Big Lebowski and Snatch. Though it may fly under the radar during its theatrical release, it will likely find a cult following once people recognize its high quality and peculiar tone.
Predestination is a movie which rewards viewers for knowing as few details of the plot as possible, and yet it is hard to talk about this film without revealing at least something, so I will keep discussion of the plot to the first seven minutes of the movie – certainly sufficiently intriguing to whet your interest. The movie, written and directed by the Spierig brothers (Michael and Peter, whose other films include The Daybreakers), opens with Ethan Hawke in voiceover, asking an unseen someone, “What if I could put him in front of you, the man that ruined your life? If I could guarantee that you’d get away with it – would you kill him?” A character is then seen carrying a briefcase and a violin case as he rushes down some stairs into a boiler room. The briefcase morphs into a containment device for a bomb which he discovers almost instantly, as if he knew it was there. But, someone else is in the room with him, and a short firefight erupts. As the bomb ticks below 10 seconds, our character hurries to drop the bomb into the containment device, but he is too late. The bomb ignites. Our character’s face is covered in flame and he writhes in agony on the floor, crawling towards the violin case. The unknown assailant steps out of the shadows, and slowly pushes the case towards the injured man. Then, a single jarring sound and we are transported to a hospital room, with a man covered in bandages.