|Diary of a Chambermaid|
|Now You See Me 2|
Fifty words or less on each of half a dozen titles as a mediocre year in movies nears the halfway mark:
I enjoyed Benoît Jacquot's sudsy class-struggle melodrama "Diary of a Chambermaid," with Léa Seydoux the picture of working-class impudence and Clotilde Mollet delicious as the lady of the house, who delights in working Célestine to the bone… "Blackway" is Anthony Hopkins slumming, Julia Stiles looking vaguely bag lady-ish, and cute Alexander Ludwig the potential find as Pacific Northwesters bent on killing the local bully (Ray Liotta, hair everywhere), whose name supposedly inspires mortal fear but who turns out to be strictly small time… I nodded off repeatedly during the boring-as-shit "The Fits," about a girl (newcomer Royalty Hightower) who gives up training at her junior high's boxing gym to join the Lionesses, its championship dance squad. The movie simulates the experience of watching a drill team practice from across an auditorium… Any cineaste will want to catch "De Palma," essentially two hours of the director's reminiscences about each of his films, in chronological order (lots of stinkers, a few gems). It's a combination of master class and dirt-dishing session, with plenty of the Hollywood anecdotes everyone loves… "Now You See Me 2" officially leaves the realm of plausible prestidigitation behind, its sleight of hand mere window dressing for a globetrotting plot that distends its runtime to two full hours. A great last quarter-hour of explication and big reveals almost but not quite saves it… First-time writer-director Felix Thompson and young lead Charlie Plummer (a natural) announce themselves as ones to watch with "King Jack," about a bullied high school freshman tasked with entertaining his younger cousin over a long weekend. Most scenes unfold to quiet perfection; only one, outside a popular girl's house party, goes off the rails, but it breaks the spell.
Yeah, that last one went a little over.