One of the most insistent and silly tropes in coming-of-age films is the Preternaturally Articulate Child, the little tyke who functions in the narrative as, essentially, a grown-up trapped in a small body. Sometimes — particularly in that heady period of the late ’80s that gave us Like Father, Like Son, Vice Versa, and Big, among others — we compensate for this awareness with literal body-switch stories, but more often we just put alarmingly adult phrases and observations in the mouths of kids.
There is another Deadpool movie in the world now.
It may have a new director — David Leitch, co-director of John Wick and director of Atomic Blonde (and, uh, Terry Bogard in the King of Fighters movie) — but the tone is exactly the same as the first one: an emulsion of an achingly sincere story about revenge and family suspended in a hyperviolent, nihilistic action-comedy.
Paul Schrader’s bracing, bruising First Reformed is the filmmaker’s most urgent offering in years, and one of 2018’s best. A warped retelling of Bresson’s Diary of a Country Priest filtered through Schrader’s trademark fixations, First Reformed focuses on something curiously absent from contemporary stories, even as it animates many moments of our public and private lives: despair at climate change, and almost paralyzing anxiety over the world we leave behind.
When bulldozers accidentally hit upon a cache of film reels in the cold ground of Dawson City, deep in the Yukon Territory, it was compared to the discovery of King Tut’s tomb.
Hyperbolic? Maybe. But the find — 533 films “dating from the 1910s and 20s [and mostly] previously unknown to film scholars or thought to be totally lost” — really was something of a miracle.