Who knew that “Barbie” could be the victim of an existential crisis? Margot Robbie is perfectly cast in Greta Gerwig’s wacky and wildly imaginative comedy about Mattel’s superstar doll. It’s the kind of movie that the term ‘meta’ was coined for. It throws darts at consumerism and male patriarchy by having Barbie transported from her fantasy sphere into the real world while Ryan Gosling’s Ken grapples with feelings of inferiority. Whew. While the double entendres will go over the kids’ heads, the material isn’t offensive. Still, this movie really isn’t for them. “Barbie” is for nostalgic adults who don’t mind having their childhood obsessions lampooned.
Filmmaker Christopher Nolan’s epic biographical drama “Oppenheimer” is an engrossing and brilliantly realized biopic about the astute but troubled father of the atomic bomb. Irish actor Cillian Murphy is riveting as the renowned physicist, viewed here as a classically tragic hero. He suffered from enormous doubts as his intellectual brilliance and moral compass came into conflict with his crucial mission. A stellar cast complements Nolan’s cinematic artistry and razor-sharp vision. “Oppenheimer” is easily the year’s best movie.
The Netflix comedy “They Cloned Tyrone” is a screwball mix of sci-fi, social commentary and homage to the Blaxploitation movies of the 1970s. John Boyega, Teyonah Parris and Jamie Foxx star in the tale of the residents of an inner-city neighborhood who uncover a vast government cloning conspiracy. It’s well acted, often funny and its observations are sharp. It’s also very profane and a bit disjointed. Still, “They Cloned Tyrone” is an impressive debut for filmmaker Juel Taylor.